As the season rolls on the races are coming thick and fast. May was always going to be an important month with the Belgium Cup (Beker Van Belgie/Coupe de Belgique) series taking center stage. As reported in the last blog post I had been to see the doctor after feeling very low for a couple of weeks. Of course it was not going to turn around overnight but I was hoping that It wouldnt take long before I was feeling back to normal. I continued to keep things easy in training and low and behold on the day of my first cup race of the season in Kampenhout the body didnt feel half bad. Despite how I had been feeling previously I put myself at the head of the action from the off.....maybe getting a littled carried away considering how little riding I had been doing, but I wasnt there to make up the numbers. Despite going off the front a number of times in the first half of the race and being in the thick of the action nothing was being allowed to stay away for too long and with an average speed of getting on for 44 km/hr by the end of the race it is easy to see why. Being a public holiday in Belgium meant for even larger crowds out on the course, which you couldnt help but feed further off. After a larger out and back loop the 160km race finished with 7 laps of a tight, fast kermesse type circuit. In the last 30km I began to pay a little for the earlier efforts and was forced to sit in (or hang on as it was at certain points) as we motored around the finishing circuits). In the last few kms I thought I would try and salvage something from the days efforts and moved from the back passing riders all the way to the line, ending up in/around the 30's. Nothing spectacular in terms of positioning (officially placed as 22nd along with many riders) but some points for the team and certainly something to take into the next round of the cup when hopefully the body will be even better.
Whilst I did the Belgium cup I made the conscious decision to give myself a week off racing afterwards, since I hadnt had one all season. Hopefully its allowed me to recharge the batteries a bit. Ive been getting back to basics and just getting some steady km's in the saddle and trying (as much as possible) to chill out in between. Living in a nice town like Oudenaarde has its advantages here too. With a community of British speaking riders based in and around Oudenaarde, its so easy to meet up and just go and spend some time chilling at a cafe or two in town.....it dosnt always have to be hard graft!
With the sun shining and an evening kermesse just down the road in Kluisbergen-Ruien, it seemed the ideal night to test the body out and that I did, tearing it up early on and with it bagging myself a few primes. The main reason for being there was to test the body and on what was a pleasant evening in Belgium and with good crowds, cobbles and primes every lap I couldnt help but do it by attacking through the start finish cobble sections. By the end I rolled in 22nd (again) but by riding so aggressively early on I had bagged myself 70 euros for my efforts.....not a bad nights work. A normalized power of 339 watts for the 102km race with a max of 1216 watts (no doubt on one of my attacks through the cobbles) tells me that the body had its test.....now to the weekend!