I hope all is well with everyone. Today I did my first ever cyclocross race, and let me tell you it was incredible. The race was an hour west of Brussels in the small town of De Pinte. We (my host father, mother and I) arrived at the race several hours before my race so I had time to watch some of the other categories and pick up a few tips. In-between the races there was time to ride the course, I took advantage and did a lap. Little did I know that the course was so muddy that after just one lap I had to use the pressure washer to clean my bike and get all the mud and grass out of my breaks and gears.
One lap was enough to get a feel for the course here are some pictures of the course
My race started out with a nice clean bike, but that wouldn’t last long. The race started with an astonishing 72 riders. The order in which you are placed on the starting line is random; unfortunately I started in the sixth row, sixty riders back. From the minute the whistle blew it was peddle to the metal. I was slowly able to move up, but was never able to catch the leaders. I was able to catch a lot of riders on the fast sections but lost time through the mud, which we don’t have in Bend. On the back section of the course the mud was so thick and deep that it was nearly impossible to ride. I found it faster for me to run, so that’s what I did. I rode a solid pace to the finish, coming in 24th place. I was hoping to do better, but there is always room for improvement and now that have done a race I know what I need to work on. As my dad always says “train your weaknesses and raise your strengths”. I hope to do another race in the near future and know if I practice what I learned today I will only become better.
The stories are true the Belgians really are crazy about cyclocross. And yes there is a beer garden in the middle of the course.
Pictures of the race
You can click on the pictures to enlarge.