Rest is Best
Once again I learn what I thought I learned before - rest is good. Before I travel back in time to finish updating on the Christmas races I have to inform you of the last week's events.
Got into Holland last Monday, took an easy spin on Tuesday, and then did 3 days of 3hr road rides Wed, Thurs & Fri, easy on Sat, 3 Hrs on Sunday. I guess that's not too exciting, but since I'd been doing nothing but racing every day for what seemed like a really long time it was great to just get back to doing some steady kilometers. No hills, but 50kph winds are tough enough I think. So yesterday Pete and I drove the 2-1/2 hrs to Otegem, in Belgium, which is a bit of a kick in the pants because it was about 20 minutes from where I was living 2 weeks ago. It was a Belgian A category race, so I was expecting more of the same ass-kicking that I usually endure. Turns out that I had good legs, because after a really longand fast uphill start I dove in to the grass in about 10th wheel right behind all the big boys. I got outgunned shortly after that, but it's pretty motivating to be racing from somewhere near the front instead of the back of the bus. It doesn't hurt that the organisers are starting to take notice of who I am and that I'm not last in every race so that I get decent call up positions now. I was second row yesterday, which means I was right behind the new Belgian champ (as of Saturday) who goes by the name Sven Nys.
So as I was saying, I did get spat out of the lead group, but I got picked up by a couple of guys coming up from behind and I rode with them for a few laps to save my wind. Boy is it nice to actually race with people now instead of suffering on my own! I attacked out of that group, got picked up by another chaser but he was stronger than I was in some parts so I kept getting gapped off on the grassy sections. I was working super-hard just to stay ahead of a really big group containing Peter and some locals who were about 15 to 30 seconds behind and I didn't think that I could hold them off, but in the end I snuck across the line just ahead of eventual winner Sven Vanthourenhout, so I got to do another lap while those guys had to pack it in. Gave it some really good stick on the last lap and managed to pick up 2 more places, and sprinted my guts out on the line to lose moving up another spot by about a tire width, but no big deal, I was just happy to have ridden so well. I was actually making time on guys on the dismounts and runups, which is a new development as well.
Turns out I finished 22nd, best result so far, and scored out 50 Euro for my efforts - enought to pay for the van to get there and back. Mainly though, I am really content with how my form is coming along and the fact that I am able to start jousting a bit with these guys.
OK, I'm on borrowed time here so I have to bail. Thanks again for ready everyone, more in a day or two.
Hasta la Vista,