Sunday, 27 May 2012

Back in Vic

Spending a month racing in Europe with the Junior National team has definitely been a highlight of my involvement in cycling, and getting  resettled back at home has been a bit hectic to say the least.

Flying out 2 days after I was selected was rather short-notice.  The racing and travelling was a great experience and has taught me a lot about racing my bike, meeting new people, working with people I already knew,  and maybe most important, it taught me a bit more about myself.

Although some goals  i had coming into the trip were not met, I cannot say that the trip was in vain. I still pulled a lot out of it and being part of the Trofeo-Karlsberg Nations Cup will be an experience  I will not forget. I came into that race with the goal of finishing in the top 15 places in a stage, but a crash on day 1 all but ruled that out for me. The racing mentality and dynamics are very different when you are competing with 20 other national teams and when the bunch is more than Junior 120 riders, I emphasize, Junior. Things get very nervous in the pack, and  if  ill positioned, you are more likely to find the pavement with your arm.  Although I had my share of crashes and a flat, it just went to show that I had to suck it up and deal with it because at the end of the day, no one racing against me will care and the only person I can disappoint is myself. All I can do, is move on, and not let it affect the other tasks I have to do to climb up the ladder. Shit happens, deal with it.

  That being said, the kermesse racing we did back in Belgium was on a smaller and lower-key kind of level and allowed us to play out some team tactics and practise racing very aggressively and dealing with road furniture and the racing style over there. Racing for my second time in europe has only made me more confident on the bike, fitter, and has given me a different point of view on the sport. Racing a large peloton is as much about being fit as it is about positioning yourself to avoid crashes and come through in the right places after corners and roundabouts. Thank you to the CCA and their staff who made all of this possible for us.

I am now back in the swing of things racing with Russ Hay's pb Accent Inns. We raced the Minto RR in comox yesterday. It was great fun and well organized. It  is good to be home again. I look forward to the Victoria International Cycling Festival next weekend where I will be racing the Specialized/Russ Hay's TT, the Junior Provincial RR and Bastion Square as a Cat. 1/2.

Blog post soon after next weekend

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Racing the Euro way

  I've now been in Belgium for a good week and a half. The racing here is nothing short of what I was expecting; fast, aggresive and technical. The house we are staying at is in Tielt-Winge is on the east side of Brussels. It is close to a grocery store and to countless roads and paths on which to ride and explore. It took time to adjust to the time change and the schedule around here, but once in the swing of things, living, riding and racing here is like clockwork.

  My teammates are a great group and we are all excited to race here and learn some new aspects to bike racing. I got here on the 27th of April, a couple days later than the rest of the group. We raced the day after on a course that was not far from here in a town called Molenstede. Signing up in a smoke filled cafes or bars is the norm for belgian kermesses. The race went well and Ben Perry managed to win out of a break of 2 after a race where there were many attacks and aggressive moves played out by Brandon, Ben Chartrand and myself. We were all in the prize money which was a decent result considering some of us had never raced in Europe before and the jet lag that  was still affecting us.

   The shopping here has to be planned out meticulously… the shops will be closed at weird times and some items are in some bizzare places. Oddly enoughy, the milk and eggs are unrefrigerated.

  The CCA runs a good program here and I am glad to have had so much help from sponsors like Russ-Hay’s, Accent Inn’s, Cycling BC, Adera, and Haywood Securities. Without them, I am sure my cycling situation would be different!

More updates to come after Trofeo-Karlsberg Nations Cup where we will be hunting for some results! 

Henri De Boever