Saturday I raced the Omloop Hoeksche Waard in Puttershoek and finished fifteenth. It was a real waaier race; starting at 60km/hr and splitting quickly given the blustery (windkracht 5) conditions. I was in the second waaier when it first broke; though we rolled well and always kept the front runners in sight. After 80km we had merged with the front to form a kopgroup of 25. The rest of the day was just spent trying to stay in the rotation at the front and avoid potential splits at the back while staying out of the wind as much as possible. Inside 15km to go attacks started to fly and I went on the offensive; after several tries I got away with 2 others and for a short while it seemed like we had a chance. It was not the right move however and we were reeled in on the final finishing circuit where three others got away to take the win. I let that move go as the strongest teams in the race had missed it and I was gambling that it would come back; a mistake. For the sprint I attacked into the last corner to have a good position but came out in the lead with much farther than I’d remembered to the finish line and in the last couple hundred metres several guys came past me. All in all, it was a pretty positive day and a very hard race. Next up is the Parel van de Veluwe Hardewijk on Wednesday evening.
My team name is Wilton-AA Drink, it is based out of the UWTC de Volharding club in Utrecht, The Netherlands. They are presently transferring over to a new site, which will be here (http://uwtcdevolharding.com/). I’m going to stay in Europe for the whole season, I would have loved to come back for nationals but I have some big races here at the same time and it would be an expensive endeavour to come back over. Thanks for following and keep in touch.
On Saturday, I raced Zuid Hollandse Eilanden Tour near Rotterdam. While I didn’t achieve what I was looking for; it was a much more positive experience than in previous weeks. I was aggressive, too aggressive, in a very fast classic race. I joined a promising breakaway of 4 60km from the finish but it was missing representation from a couple of the important teams so I didn’t commit fully. For a good while it looked like the move would have a chance but we were eventually reigned in and shortly afterwards 14 guys split away for the win. My feeling after this one is much improved from then the few previous races and now I’m looking ahead to some pretty special races coming up.
Saturday was another really frustrating race for me. I felt good at the start and stayed calm; then, with 60km to go, attacked bringing 3 others with me and working together to bridge across to the early breakaway going into the finale. We quickly attained a good lead and were closing in on the front when a marshall, asleep at the switch, directed us the wrong way. Turning around and getting going again cost us most of our advantage and all of our momentum. A couple kilometres later we were back in the peloton and the shit was hitting the fan, I made the first split but when that group broke again I was behind and blew. In the turmoil I didn’t take in enough fuel and soon cracked, hard, and just scraped my sorry ass to the finish line; dragging myself back and forth between the last group and the cars for the last hour. Meanwhile ahead, the break stayed away to the finish with the peloton coming in behind in bits and pieces. I’ve just got to put my head down and keep trying but the last 3 weeks really haven’t been satisfying.
Bloody hell, more misfortune came my way yesterday in Drenthe. The race was a hard one with strong winds and several sections of cobblestones (if you can call them that; in Holland the kasseien would only ever be driven on by farmers in their tractors and are really just a half hazard pile of rocks placed in the ground ages ago). A breakaway went at about the 50km mark and had a couple minute’s advantage when things blew up in the already severely diminished peloton (about 80km in). I was behind a split and, when it became apparent that those in my group weren’t capable, went alone and bridged the 30 second gap to the front peloton myself. Shortly after, I took off with 3 others and set about getting up to the front. It was a battle in the wind but we quickly got the gap down to 40ish seconds and were coming up to them. Then, a few km into one of the kasseinstrooks, I went flying. I was riding straight down the middle and the next thing I knew I was in the air diving towards the stones. My front wheel had hit a bigger rock jutting up at an irregular angle, and twisted towards the side while I maintained forward momentum and flew over the bars. Shit, It was a hard knock. For the immediate term, my desire was completely punched out of me. In a daze I sat by the side of the road and watched the race go by me. When the team car came up there was some chaos, they didn’t know what was going on, then I got in and my race was done. Sitting in the car for the remainder of the race was awful; I wanted nothing more than to be back in there fighting it out. That’s bike racing. Luckily, nothing is too bad and my bike’s ok. Landing on cobbles and not asphalt I didn’t slide so got away with only a bit of road rash and some good bruises. Now, I’ve got a bit of fire in my belly for next weekend.
Today was the windiest I have ever started a bike race in and things didn’t go my way. The start was very, very nervous of course but I went well, getting myself in good position. Then, about 6km in, the guy in front of me blew a tubular and fell down and I went over the top of him. Luckily we were straight into a headwind and the speed was low so nothing to worry, but by the time I was up and going again I was way back and things were blowing to pieces. I ended up in the second last waaier, chased hard for an hour before the game was up. Frusterated, I got my bag and rode the 60km back to Den Helder.