30 mei 2010

Last month
The last weeks have been extremely busy for me and I apologize for not writing anything on our precious team site for a while. Now I'll do my utmost best to inform you about my adventures since my last post.. enjoy! (Well, I hope you do)

After the SKS Marathon (see my last previous post) I left for Houffalize. In Houffalize I stayed with the Van den Boogerd-family as they asked me whether I'd like to pre-ride the course with their kids, Kjell and Britt. Pre-riding the course was a lot of fun, al tough it made me a bit insecure as both 14 year-old Kjell and 15 year-old Britt seem to climb at the same pace as I was. My confidence returned a bit when I noticed that the two of them were also giving other (sometimes even elite) riders a hard time on the steep ascends..

In Houffalize I competed in the Open citizen race. The start loop begins with an extremely steep asphalt climb and just when I decided to sit down and shift back everybody around me seemed to slow down. I moved forward and soon I found myself battling with a Belgium rider for the last podium spot. With two laps to go I did lose the battle with both the Belgium rider and gravity, as I crashed and had a not so soft encounter with the Belgium dusty soil.. Anyway, I got 4th. The second time I'm the 'first looser' this year.. Britt did quite the opposite of me as she got 3rd after being in 4th place for a while and Kjell had a good race too (23rd in the highly competitive novice cat)!

The next race was in Oss (a former dump, that's how we roll in the NetherlandsJ ) and I can be relatively short about this race: I woke up, had some strong coffee, no warming-up and a very bad call-up (150 or so) but still got 14th; a result I am more than happy with especially as I turned two major disadvantages in to my advantage. The last sentence might need a bit more explanation:

Disadvantage 1: tired and no warming-up. Advantage: for once I was just relatively calm during the race, conserving energy instead of wasting it with stupid uphill attacks or other energy wasting actions

Disadvantage 2: I dished my rear wheel, if I was sprinting out of the saddle my rear tire would rub against my frame. Advantage: again, I was not wasting my energy and conserved energy

I believe that these factors helped me riding a relative strong final lap and I am more than happy with my 14th place (2nd amateur). The only negative thing, which surprised me a bit, is the behavior of one of the riders who finished in front of me (and who was clearly stronger). Halfway race I was riding in a 4-man group (including him) as he decided he needed to pass me. Fair enough, we were riding the part of the course were it was very easy to pass another rider as the tracks were about 10 meters wide. BUT this particular rider decided to pass me during a narrow descend, instead of passing me 5 seconds earlier or later, using his elbows to push me off the track. I just wonder why this kind of aggression is needed when we're riding for the 11th spot (like somebody remembers our ranking in 5 years), half way course (time enough to pass me) and on a track where it's easy to pass (again, time enough to pass me).. some people just don't seem to get it.

Two weeks ago I rode the AWESOME single tracks in the German Ahrtal with Juul. In 2 days we almost completed 5000 meters of positive altitude gain, off road! We also had a good chance testing our Transalp bikes and we both were very much impressed with out new equipment! The next day (Saturday) we both raced the XC race in Apeldoorn. My legs were awful but the course was a lot of fun! The organization had spent a lot time building drop-offs, twisty single tracks and technical climbs. I finished as 37th…… not a result I'm happy with, but I can live with it considering the work load from the previous days.