Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back to Essex!


Wevelgem Wijnberg


For the first time in two months Im back in the UK. Im back for this Sundays East Midlands Cicle Classic/Rutland Melton and the form ive built over the last couple of months in Belgium I am going into the race with great optimism. Having spent three years at Loughborough University (just down the road) and having thrown myself into the break in what was my first attempt at doing the race in 2008, its a race I am looking to go well for this time around. Two months of hard, fast Belgium Kermesse racing certainly isnt going to do any harm, as I look to pull something out of the bag in my first race in the UK in 2010. Today I hit some of my old running trails at a place called 'One Tree Hill' in preparation for the race. Nice to get back up there, all be it on two wheels now.

Moz and Me on top of the Muur!


The last couple of weeks in Belgium have been as usual busy with races. The weathers been good too and extra kms have been put in riding to and/or from races. Also a friend and fellow British rider Jon Mozley has been over (visiting his girlfriend I must add, whos been staying in the same appartment) but it has also meant we have been able to have some fun in the races and training showing him some of the bergs. The races have been full of attacking riding again, but some have also allowed me to try some different tactics out and work on different things. This was something I was told before coming out to Belgium....as there are so many races, to use some of them for different purposes, for training, etc. In Wevelgem Wijnberg I took the bunch kick (although not for the win) but never the less good practice on getting the run in right and finishing it off perfectly. This was followed up most recently in Merelbeke hitting the front of the bunch over the couple of kms and providing a long lead out only to be passed 25 meters from the line (by Mr Mozley and a few others). Good practice in both races!


Also ofcourse ive been riding aggressively at the front end of the races from the off. Outer Kermesse was full of ups and downs. Made the break and took a prime only to be pulled back after around 80kms. After missing out on the next splits I would then jump away from the peleton on the final lap for 18th. Then on the way home from the race the wheel rack on the van broke off, for us only to realise once we made it back to Oudenaarde. Result.....I lost my front Mavic Cosmic Carbone Sl front wheel.....damn!


As mentioned before the Belgians like to attack from the gun and in Bever I decided to join in with the fun again. From that moment on I was in just about every move that went off the front and was to put the attack in that formed the final split. Most tried there luck at going for solo glory, me included, but it would come back together by the line. I would end up 9th but a strong showing at the front. As I was riding with my Powertap Powermeter I thought you might be interested in seeing some figures from a kermesse where I had been attacking from the off. The average speed of the 114km race was 43.02km/hr. My average power was 300w with a normalized power of 333w and an average heart rate of 174 bpm. So many figures I could list but hopefully even these few give a picture of what its like when you are getting in the moves and going for the win in a Belgium Kermesse. In future blog posts I will be sure to publish more figures.


Until next time.....

Fuel for Racing!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Living in the heart of flanders!

The things that can happen in the space of a week when your living in the heart of flanders. As mentioned in the last blog post I happened to meet Kurt Asle Arvesen on a ride and had a nice spin and chat with him. A couple of days later I was in the Asfra bike shop when fellow Norwegian and Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen walked in on his way out training. Again I got to have a little chat with Edvald and like Kurt was a thoroughly nice guy too....seems to be a common trait with these Norwegian Team Sky riders!


We happened to be treated to a stage finish of the Three days of de Panne here in Oudenaarde, which was great but was merely a warm up to what was to come at the end of the week.....The Ronde van Vlaanderen! A great experience to be here and see the race live.....it really is a special day of the year here in Belgium. The atmosphere had been building in and around Oudenaarde with more and more cyclists about as the Ronde drew closer. However the day it self was something special! Every town welcomes the passing of the race, every berg every pave section is packed full of cheering spectators (clearly aided by the flowing beer!) and traffic is left at a stand still as the race passes and the spectators dart from one location to the next. Clearly bike was the best mode of transport for getting about to see the race and also had the added benefit of being cheered by all the fans as you pass. A very special atmosphere indeed for this monument and hopefully something I will get to experience for myself in the future. Living in Oudenaarde means easy access to the RVV route and so anyday of the week I can ride the Bergs and pave sections that make the race so special....I call it building the 'local knowledge' for the future :)


Ofcourse I have also had my own races in this time. I put together 3 kermesses within 6 days to use as a good little block of races/training. Some very wet and windy Belgium weather experienced in Herne and Anzegem but consistent placings of 17th and 16th. Anzegem I took the bunch sprint leading out the sprint early, some consolation after missing out on the lead group when the race split after 10km following a mass pile up in the bunch. I would also place 31st in Schepdaal. Nothing spectacular in terms of results but some more racing km's in the legs, which i'll be the better for. Until next time....