A typical race in Belgium. Crappy roads, small roads, narrow roads, road furniture, and lots of corners. And more crappy roads. With a total elevation gain of almost 300 feet in 116 kilometers, and over 30 90+ degree corners in 50k.
It has been by first race in over two weeks due to an ear infection, I wasn’t expecting much but needed a good race under me for next weeks Course de la Paix in the Czech Republic.
33 teams with a total of 196 riders lined up. We started in the city of Hoboken, did 2 50 kilometer loops, then finished with 2 circuits around the town.
A break of 3 got away 20 k into the race. They were joined not soon after by 4 more, including US rider Andrew barker. At the end of the first lap I made my way up to the break with 4 other riders. The break was now 12. Then more came up. Then it was 25, and was more of a selection rather than a breakaway.
My only teammate Andrew flatted on the second lap, and I was the only US rider there until another teammate Ryan Eastman came up with another 10 riders. At the same time 3 riders snuck off the front just as we got to the finishing circuits. They got out of sight and I spent a lap trying to bridge up with another Belgian but couldn’t make it before getting swallowed up by the lead pack.
The finishing circuit was somewhat ridiculous, several 90+ degree corners every k. Along with a cobble stone section that was scary to look at. From a big road, we turned onto a small road that turned to cobbles. 50 meters later it opened up into somewhat of a field of cobbles, with train tracks, and a sharp bend onto an uphill highway overpass. The train tracks weren’t even nice train tracks, rising above the cobbles. Worthy of a good bunny hop.
There was no organized chase, but rather a constant barrage of attacks. Eventually 5 more riders got away to the lead group that grew to 8. I tried but had no more bullets left. We got caught by another group on the last lap, containing another teammate Charlie Avis. I was destroyed, and he looked like he still had some hop in his legs so I told him I’d lead him out for the sprint. I led the last 1.5k through the town to get swarmed with 200 meters to go.
Charlie ended up in 17th, Ryan in 28th, me in 29th. Austin came in not soon after in 41st, and all other US riders in the top 100. We were 6th in team GC.
It wasn’t a great race for us, but not bad.
The Course de la Paix (Peace Race) starts on Wednesday. 5 days long. Lots of climbing. Nations cup- only national teams. But probably better suited to our strengths as a team.