Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose!

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dank u wel - Thank You !!!!

So Im well into my off season ‘rest up’ now and with thoughts again turning towards getting back on the bike, I thought it would be a good time to sum up the 2011 season and most importantly thank those that made it possible.

Two wins, two other podiums and twelve top ten placings, in addition to a two day overall classification victory, meant 2011 in Belgium turned out to be another successful season. Of course more wins would always be a bonus, but wins are certainly not easy to come by in Belgium. True to form my attacking nature continued and even though it didnt always lead to victory, I have many many good memories from Belgium 2011.

I also have a lot of people to thank. To my sources of funding - The Dave Rayner Fund, The Grays Public Purposes and Recreational Charity and The Thurrock Sports Council. I believe that racing in Belgium is the best chance for me to get the opportunity to continue progressing in the cycling world and without such support, I would not be able to do it. I am extremely grateful for all your support!

To David Harmon of the Spokesmen Agency who has been my manager this season. Unfortunately other commitments mean that David will no longer be representing riders in 2012, however I am very grateful for the help this year and look forward to staying in contact in the future. This leads me nicely onto Onix Bikes, as it was David that hooked me up with Craig Middleton of Onix Bikes. A big thank you to Craig and the whole Onix Bikes crew for supporting me this year and in the companies maiden year in the peloton. Im sure big things are planned for Onix Bikes in the future! Onto Paligap, and in particular Blair Morgan, who continues to help me with Cycleops Powertap Products, thanks once again for the continued support!

One of the most interesting developments in 2011 has become the impact of Luc Wante on my life in Belgium. Not only has he got me back on my bike (and kept me on my bike) after crashes and injuries, but he has also taken care of coaching me. Im looking forward to what 2012 will bring under Lucs guidance! And to Dr Piet Daneels who has also kept me healthy again in Belgium this year and is always keen to see me progress in the cycling world....much thanks!

Whilst Luc and Piet keep me healthy in Belgium, it is Matt Rabin that does the same when I am back in the UK. Not least so, last winter when I missed most of the winter with an achilles injury. However it was Matt that got me back on the bike then and between Luc, Piet and Matt I truly believe I have the very best keeping me in healthy working order. Now that is peace of mind!

Now this blog could go on and on thanking people, but it could be endless haha So my additional thanks (im sorry if i miss anyone out!) go to Adrian Timmis @Cadence Sport, Wouter Marijsse, everyone at the Hof ter Kammen, Luc and Ronny Assez and everyone involved at the Asfra Racing Team, Simon Jobson, Mal and Brian @Le Beau Velo, Ciclos Uno and importantly all my family and friends that have continued to support me in 2011. Many friends (and fans), new and old in Belgium and the know who you are! And all my family, especially my Mum and Dad and Brother who continue to support my cycling career in more ways than one! Thanks to you all....keeping the faith!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Onix Year!

It was back in January of this year during a training camp in Majorca that I first heard about Onix Bikes and the possibility of working together for the season. After a little browse of I was soon to give the man behind Onix bikes, Craig Middleton, a call. From that very first conversation I soon realised how passionate Craig was for Onix Bikes and where he wanted to take Onix to. After returning from training camp I would make the trip up to Preston from Essex to meet the man himself and from that first meeting it was clear for all to see that a lot of work and thought had already gone into Onix Bikes and that was clearly set to continue in the year ahead. I got to see the equipment I would be using for the season and I was more than satisfied with what I saw. Over the coming weeks we would talk specifications and I would be given two bikes from Azzuro (my race bike) and one Aurious (my training bike). As you will find out in this blog the two soon become interchangeable, as I found out quickly that the Aurious was more than capable for the demands of racing. In return I would publicize the bikes through my racing and training and something I saw as even more important, was a testing role. What better testing ground for an up and coming bike brand than a season racing in Belgium. If a bike can survive a season in the heartand that is Flanders then to me it has passed the ultimate test.
These bikes have not simply just survived this season....they have thrived! Lets start with the Onix Azzuro, given to me as my race bike and top of the range of the Onix collection. As in my initial review of the Azzuro earlier in the season, this bike is a stiff machine designed for performance. Initially we wondered would it be too stiff when it came to some of the rough roads, the pave sections and the cobbled bergs. was never an issue! The Azzuro has been ridden over the rough stuff throughout the year and performed superbly from day one. Here Onix really have designed a top of the range frameset capable of any demands placed on it. When it comes to racing everyone wants a stiff bike and with the Azzuro you get that. But equally important is having a reliable bike that handles well and you feel in control of....exactly what you get with the Azzuro! And after all the demands that have been placed on the Azzuro throughout this season, it is still going strong and as a test of reliability I think that says a lot right there!
And onto the Aurious, the bike that little was known about prior to me testing one. The Aurious is maybe the dark horse of the collection and I think Craig was happy to here the positivity about this bike matching that of the Azzuro. Due to geometry differences I had to go with a size smaller when it came to the Aurious (52cm compared to 54cm Azzuro), but it was a good choice, something I was soon to find out as soon as I set out on my first ride on the Aurious. The bike just felt right. Normally with a new bike there will be the usual constant adjusting of components to get the desired position feeling right. It was simply not the case with the Aurious. A few little adjustments and I felt right at home. Feeling comfortable and in control of the bike underneath you is a big must and with the Aurious I certainly get that. This again like the Azzuro is one reliable bike. This bike has been ridden hard this year in Belgium, just as much as the Azzuro, as it has been ridden over the flanders pave and up the cobbled bergs countless times (sorry Craig I am drawn to the rough stuff in training) and like the Azzuro has held up perfectly and still going strong. And in terms of performance this bike could quite easily be mine or anyone's race bike. In fact it has been my race bike on many occasions this year. Racing in the hills of the Tour Nivermais Morvan, up the Muur de Huy in the Tour of Liege and on the kermesse circuit, in and out of the corners, over the pave, up the bergs, this bike has been able to cope with every demand placed on it and not let me down!
Onix Bikes is a company that is making its way and 2011 has been a big year in the development of the company. Craig is certainly not resting on his laurels. Much work is going into making the bikes even better for 2012. Trips to the production base, the Interbike show and constant hard work is going into Onix Bikes to take further steps forward for 2012. Craig was also very smart to produce Onix kit. Produced by BioRacer, this is for sure some quality kit and spreads the Onix name even further. I am not exaggerating when I say this is some of the most comfortable kit I have worn so far and it is a pleasure going out on my Onix bikes kitted up in my Onix Kit. If the bikes and kit are anything to go by, then anything coming from Onix in the future will not be short on quality!
It has been a pleasure to be involved with Onix Bikes in what is its real maidnen year and whatever team I find myself on in 2012, Onix has played a key role in getting me there throughout 2011. To have a company that is just starting out have confidence in my ability as a cyclist and to provide me with the equipment I need for a season in Belgium, is something I am truly grateful for. With only a couple of weeks of the season now remaining, Onix bikes have already taken me to two wins, two other podiums, eight further top ten placings and a two day overall classement all in Belgium this year. This again speaks volumes about the quality of bike coming from Onix. Onix Bikes are gathering momentum...join the Onix movement!

Onix Bikes Website:
Twitter: @Onixbikes (!/Onixbikes) & @Cyclecraig (!/Cyclecraig)
Onix Bikes YouTube Channel:
Until next time....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

back to winning and back to typing......

Yes I am still alive....though the last week I have not moved far from my bed after being hit hard with a chest infection! Anyway I apologize for my lack of updates recently. It has been a pretty busy few months of racing and the weeks have just been flying by without even knowing it. My trusty macbook has also been playing up on me, which couldnt have happened at a worse time (apologies for any spelling mistakes as I am currently typing with a belgian keyboard which my computer does not recognize :)). Remarkably I have held good form for the most part over the last few months and with that has come some good showings and more importantly some good results. Most recently 2 weeks ago I took my second win of the season. It was a kermesse race in Wambeek that saw me and a rider from the Kazakhstan national team (Alexey Lutsenko) dominate and ride away about halfway through....never to be caught again! With a cobbled berg each lap for 13 laps, the course certainly is selective and so it proved on this day. We worked well together and I would go on to take the win come the finish. Coupled with a 5th place in the same race two days previous, it also meant I took the overall two day classification. On both days I also took 2nd in the berg classification so it really did turn into a successful series of races for me.

Between my successes in Gits and Wambeek I have had a number good top 10 placings, the best being a 3rd in Merelbeke and 4th in Ingelmunster.....both very strong performances and coming very close to the win on both occasions. I also had a very strong showing in the Belgium cup race (Beker Van Belgie) Zillebeke-Westouter-Zillebeke where I was away on the attack from km1. Though the breakaway would begin to split up on the finishing circuits, I always remained in the front, attacking probably more than anyone in my search for freedom. Though the break whittled down, unfortunately we were to be caught by another small group in the last few kms and I would end up 12th. Not the result I was looking for but certainly a strong showing having been out from the off. I would also have an attacking Tour of Liege (Ronde van Luik), stage 2 in particular where I was out for most of the day. Going over the famous Muur de Huy in second place, I would continue pushing on in the second half of the race when the peloton was closing in. It was inevitable that we would be caught eventually, however yet again I think I showed the type of rider I am and continued to ride even when it was only me left out front, until they finally dragged me back. I actually found myself in nice time trial mode... well that was until I see the lead motorbike turn off up a road that resembled a wall and at that stage of the race that was to be the rhythm breaker for me and the peloton would swallow me up.

A couple of weeks later I would come very close to winning the first stage of the Tour of Namur. At this point I was beginning to get a bit tired and in need of a break. However despite suffering through most of the first stage (and I was hanging at times), I was able to come alive at the end and get away in a small move in the final 10kms. With 3km to go it was just three of us but we were soon joined by eleven more. I misjudged the finish a little, leading the race through the final chicane with around 50m to go, only to be swamped and ending up with 9th. With 21 seconds time gap over the peloton this did give me an ideal opportunity to try and go into a jersey in the next days. However events on the road over the next couple of days meant the advantage soon slipped away. The last couple of days I would lend my services at the front of the peloton to help control things with the team of the leaders jersey (EFC Quick Step). It was something I had done for a little bit on the 4th stage to help bring the gap to the breakaway down. However it was something they were clearly grateful for as on the final day they thanked me for the help and asked if I would help again....ofcourse I obliged. Its important to make friends in the peloton and im sure one day the favour will be returned. Above all else it is something that once again showed the type of rider I am and the work I am prepared to do, as I look for a chance again to move up for 2012.

So that kind of fills you in on the last few months for me here in Belgium. With just over a month of the season remaining I hope to get over this chest infection as quickly as possible so that I can get back to racing and add to the win tally before the season is out. In a few days I will be posting a blog about Onix Bikes, how they have helped me this year and my overall impressions on the bikes as we approach the end of the season. Lots going on with Onix ahead of 2012 so be sure to check out:

Until next time....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Up and Running in 2011....

So its been coming and Im happy to say I have my first win of the 2011 season in Belgium. And oh what a fine day it was. Everything fell into place and to finish it off with the win was extra special. After a lot of bad luck before and in the earlier part of the season with injuries, crashes and what-not, it is a nice feeling now that things are going my way. Patience has paid off, not that I doubted it, but it is certainly nice to blog some success rather than the 'what might have been'.

So in ten days or so I had four races, the first three came within four days of each other. This was a deliberate plan to put a little block of races together, as 1) we knew the form was building and we should use it and 2) in preparation for upcoming races. The first three races would see me finish 2nd in Wodecq, 9th in Ghoy and culminating in a 1st place in Gits (Hooglede). A week later I would then place 8th in Sint-Kornelis Horebeke.
So to the win, which came in a 140km Kermesse race in the town of Gits. With 35 euro primies every lap (for 22 laps) I attacked for the first two laps, taking first 2 primies solo. No mean feat in itself as these primies are hotly contested. However the fact that I raced away for these two laps, I soon realised that I was on a very good day. The break then started to come across and the breakaway of the day was formed. A strong break with three of the Quick Step feeder team riders in, amongst others. There was little messing around and we worked well building up a nice lead. However sensing the moment, me and one of these Quick Step feeder team riders (Jens Wallays) went clear with about 50km to go. Jens Wallays is a very strong and talented rider and we worked hard and built up a good lead, splitting the remaining primies in the process. Over the last few laps the gap began to reduce and by the end was a little under 30 seconds, however we agreed from the moment we got away that we would keep working to the end to stay away. Jens jumped with around 1km to go, however I kept cool and gradually got myself back to his wheel. He looked but knew that at that point of the race that was where I was going to stay. Once round the final corner Jens had to lead it out and my perfect race would be complete as I would get the better of him in the sprint. I did encounter a huge speed wobble on the cobbled finish to the sprint, however had enough momentum to carry me over the line for the win in front of the big crowd that had gathered in Gits and the celebrations could begin! Next came the flowers, the trophy, the photos and the interview (which due to my "beetje vlaams" was in English - I will look to change this soon). Then ofcourse the usual collection of prize money, which on this day with all the primies included was certainly not too shabby. To show how much it meant, Asfra team manager Luc Assez was soon on the phone and inviting us round his house for champagne and so ofcourse the celebrations would continue into the night :) A day that will certainly not be forgotten!
Ofcourse the win was the perfect way to finish off a good few races in quick succession. However three days earlier I was also 2nd in the town of Wodecq, coming very close to the win. Again riding very strong, from the start I got away. The breakaway again formed and we worked hard to build a good gap. I then saw a moment to attack with about 13km to go and went clear, though the remainder of the break would pull me back with about 3km to go. The attacks continued but we continued to mark each other. In the sprint I almost still had it, until an ex pro by the name of Jean Zen would have the better of me taking the win in the closing stages. But this was clearly a sign that the good form that was predicted was certainly there. This was also followed with a 9th in the town of Ghoy (where I took victory last season) two days later and most recently an 8th in Sint-Kornelis Horebeke. Not wins, but more strong performances that tell me the form is where it needs to be. Horebeke in particular I was very strong and aggressive from the start, however cramp in the later stages would not allow me to sprint when still in contention for the win.
So all in all its been a ten days thats turned around this first part of the season for me. The hard work and persistance is paying off and things are shaping up nicely for the upcoming races. Next for me is the five day six stage Tour Nivermais Morvan in France starting tonight. Good to be doing a stage race again and even more so at this time with the legs coming into such good form. Then comes a trip back to the UK for the National Championships which takes place on the 26th June. My first trip back to the UK since my season started and I will certainly be looking to impress come race day.

Ofcourse I will be returning with my Onix Bikes, which have certainly been performing splendidly. Its great for me to be part of something that is growing all of the time and hopefully with me putting the bikes through there paces here in Belgium, this will help to continue with the ever growing reputation that Onix is building. Belgium is ofcourse a very hard place to win a bike race and Onix already in its short existence has a win on Belgium roads. It was the Onix Azzuro which crossed the line first on this occasion, which hopefully gives an indication of the quality of bike that is coming from Onix. I will be looking to add more in the very near future!

Until next time......

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wouter Weylandt Special Forever!

So ive been meaning to put together a blog post of my latest experiences of life here in Flanders. This season has certainly had its ups and downs, but all this seems rather irrelevant after the events of this week. Cycling indeed has its fair share of tragedies and the death of Wouter Weylandt in stage 3 of the Giro this year is another one added to that list. My first memory of Wouter Weylandt was when I watched a pro criterium in Sint Niklaas back in 2008 and since that night have always been a fan of one of the most popular Belgian riders around. It is so sad that his life would end at such a young age and in such tragic circumstances. Indeed cycling can be a dangerous sport, but you never expect something like this to happen. Just days on it is difficult to think about. My thoughts are certainly with Wouter, his family and friends at this terrible time. Wouter Weylandt will certainly not be forgotten, especially on my rides along the Schelde....a route that Weylandt used, and racing will be in his memory. RIP Wouter Weylandt x
My season has continued on its stop-start path, summed up most notably by a kermesse in Kruishoutem. Having not long been back from injury I was my normal aggressive self from the off and happened to escape inside the first couple of kms. Though the front group was to swell to around 18 riders, this was to be the move that would stay out. Despite my lack of racing, I was very much switched on during the race and was riding strong to cover any threatening moves. Of course I took my own chances to force a further split and with a little under 20km to go I was successful. Going through 2 laps to go I had broken clear and was soon to be joined by 4 other of them being kermesse king Mario Willems. I was happy to see Mario, in the knowledge that I knew he wouldnt then be chasing us. The five of us were away and so it was to prove decisive. However going into the final corner for the bell lap I was to meet the road....the result of a tubular rolling off the rim at 50km/hr....race over and skin left in Kruishoutem! A race where I had been so strong (and rode so smart), when maybe I shouldnt have been able to so soon, was over for me and to rub salt into the wound (literally) I had to watch the four of them sprint it out for the win without me. My chance for a big result so early on the comeback trail had gone, but if anything this race again reminded me of why I love racing in this country so much....excitement from start to finish....and I was a big part of that.

Though I was to race the following day and find myself in another race long break, eventually ending up 5th with my share of primies, the wound to my hip (and rear!) following this crash in Kruishoutem proved worse than first thought and became infected, resulting in some more days off the bike to ensure that it healed quickly. A pain that seemed to be getting worse and more irritated day by day and training session after training session. So more rest was prescribed, which meant another comeback would be on the cards. A comeback that saw me finish up 11th in Brugge-Dudzele. So given another 'topsy turby' month a 5th, 11th, 14th plus a 'what might have been' in Kruishoutem along with half a dozen primies, wasnt a too bad showing. Certainly if I get the run of the green, I will be expecting to turn some of these strong performances into race wins very soon. With many big races coming up this month, it will certainly be the right time for that to happen. And ofcourse along the way Wouter Weylandt will be firmly in my thoughts! Until next time....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Onix far!

I have had the added bonus this year of having two bikes. But instead of going for two Azzuro's the plan was to have one of them as the maybe less known Aurious frameset. This makes perfect sense, as now I am able to test and give feedback on the two main models in the Onix Bikes range.

Targeted more towards the 'sportive rider' the Aurious is slightly more relaxed with a geometry designed slightly more for comfort rather than the out and out racer....well this is how it is billed anyway. Again I looked to the geometries and the important thing was getting it matched to that of the Azzuro as closely as possible. For me this meant simply dropping down a size to a 52 in order to replicate the position of the Azzuro. The main reason for this drop down was to achieve the lower front end, because as you would expect with a frameset aimed at the sportive market, the headtubes come up slightly longer. However going down to a 52 really wasnt a problem. It has allowed me to achieve the same aggressive low front end position and with a 10mm longer stem (140mm deda stem) the length of the 54 Azzuro has been transfered to the 52 Aurious.
So once the same position was achieved it was time to test out this Aurious. Now when I first ride a new bike normally I end up having to make little alterations over the first few rides until its where it needs to be...not with the Aurious! From the moment I jumped on the bike it just felt pretty much right. The Aurious has everything you need from a bike whatever your main purpose for it is. Obviously some racers get put off by a bike that is aimed at the 'sportive' market, thinking the performance will not be as good. Well this is not the case with the Aurious. I chose the option of going with the smaller frameset which gave me the same aggressive racing position that I was looking for, taking away its 'sportive' set up in my case.
So what are you getting from the Aurious!? Well my initial thoughts are a well balanced bike of performance, comfort, stiffness and responsiveness. I have been very impressed with how the bike handles....and with all the cornering involved in Belgium, I am very happy about this. Another characteristic that may go unnoticed is the fact that the Aurious is actually the lightest of the Onix sure this is certainly something that a lot of people look to when purchasing a bike. I have already put this bike over some of the most famous bergs and pave sections seen in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and have found it more than adequate for these demands.

The components yet again deliver the expected performance. From the light and classy looking Onix UL1 seat post and BC1 bottle cages through to my trusty Mavic Cosmic Carbone Wheelset equiped with a Cycleops Powertap SL 2.4+ hub, which provides me with all the key data I will need from my riding. The contact points are made up of the ever reliable Fizik Arione, Speedplay Zeros and Deda components at the front end. The groupset again is Campagnolo Centaur, which has been working smoothly from the off. A final addition you will notice are the Rotor Aero Q rings. Something I was eager to try out this year...again living up to there reputation as expected, especially at the higher cadences I am now pedaling at.
What else can I say about the Aurious!? Perhaps this is the dark horse of the Onix range. If you get the sizing right for you and your position then I am sure you will be equally pleased with the performance of the Onix Aurious....and again at a great price! Like all of the Onix range you can customize your own bike build on Below is the spec of my Onix Aurious. More updates to come as the season progresses!
Frameset: Onix Aurious (52)
Groupset: Campagnolo Centaur 10
Shimano Ult Cranks equipped with Rotor Aero Q Rings (53/39)
Pedals: Speedplay Zero
Saddle: Fizik Arione
Seat Post: Onix UL1 Ultralight Carbon
Bottle Cages: Onix BC1 Carbon
Bars: Deda Newton Shallow
Stem: Deda Zero 100 (140mm)
Computer: Cycleops Cervo 2.4
Wheelset: Mavic Cosmic Carbones equipped with Cycleops Powertap SL 2.4+ Hub

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Onix far!

It was back in January during a training camp in Majorca that I first heard about Onix Bikes and the possibility of being a sponsored rider testing the bikes out for this year in Belgium. A new bike company which was looking to get some exposure and some feedback about the bikes and a rider in myself who was looking for equipment for the 2011 season. Throw in the fact that I would be spending my season in the heartland that is Belgium and it seemed the perfect scenario for everyone. In these next two blog posts I will be giving my initial thoughts on both my Onix Azzuro and Onix Aurious bikes that I will be testing out fully in 2011.
The Onix Azzuro is billed as the top of the range Onix Frameset, designed for out and out performance. My first reaction was to check out the geometries and it really did not take long to decide what I would be going for with the Azzuro...a 54cm was what was required. Getting the right geometry comes above all else and without a customized frame it means a bit of compromise. But with the Azzuro there wasnt too much compromise required and I knew with the right set up I would be sitting pretty rosy on this bike.
So my Azzuro arrived and I went out for a test ride. First reaction....this is one stiff bike! A bike designed for the racing cyclist indeed. Without being an expert in carbon, I am informed it is a particular form of carbon (Toray T1000) that is used in the Azzuro that creates such stiffness. A stiffness you would expect to pay a higher price for, but yet with the Onix Azzuro you dont need to pay that higher price. Other key features of the Azzuro adding to this stiffness are the distinctive unsymmetrical chainstay and a thicker bottom bracket area, all adding to a very responsive bike.
Having said all of this you may think handling and cornering may be compromised....but its not the case. You can feel right at home and in control with the Azzuro, which is extremely important and even more so here in Belgium. With the Azzzuro as my 'race bike' I am yet to have given it a real test over the pave, however the time will come soon enough for this. However if the Onix Aurious is anything to go by (aka my second bike which has seen its fair share of cobbles already) then there will be no problems there either.

The components deliver the expected performance. From the light and classy looking Onix UL1 seat post and BC1 bottle cages to the Superleggera XL50 wheelset with Vittoria Corsa Evo CX Tubs. The contact points are made up of the ever reliable Fizik Arione, Speedplay Zeros and Deda components at the front end. Saris and Cycleops take care of my data recording, something I wouldnt be without. The groupset is Campagnolo Centaur, which has been working smoothly from the off and a final addition you will notice are the Rotor Aero Q rings. Something I was eager to try out this year and they are not disappointing in there performance....something I have noticed especially at the higher cadences I am now pedaling at.

Below is the full spec of my Onix Azzuro Race Bike. Check out to create your own! Watch out for more updates as the season progresses!

Frameset: Onix Azzuro (54)
Groupset: Campagnolo Centaur 10
Shimano Ult Cranks equipped with Rotor Aero Q Rings (53/39)
Pedals: Speedplay Zero
Saddle: Fizik Arione
Seat Post: Onix UL1 Ultralight Carbon
Bottle Cages: Onix BC1 Carbon
Bars: Deda Newton Shallow
Stem: Deda Zero 100 (130mm)
Computer: Cycleops Cervo 2.4
Wheelset: Superleggera XL50 with Vittoria Corsa Evo CX Tubs

Monday, March 28, 2011

Season Underway.....

Back in the heartland and my season is officially underway. Its great to be back racing and despite a disrupted winter the body is feeling surprisingly sprightly. I have defied the norm these past few months. From having much of the winter off the bike with an achilles injury, to starting the season (all be it a little later than originally planned) with testing figures that are higher than could have imagined 6 weeks previous. My condition has returned remarkably quick and it finally meant one was time to get myself back off to Belgium and get this 2011 season underway.

First race, a kermesse in a town just outside of Gent, called Merelbeke and the small matter of a 349 rider field...hahaha only in Belgium! Must have been some sight from the roadside seeing this huge peloton. Chaos is how I would describe it from inside the peloton, with crash after crash after crash. Luckily not me. I chose to ride off the front or at he back out of trouble, but unfortunately with such a large field nothing was being allowed to get too far away. A huge crash in the sprint saw much of the peloton caught up, but all in all I was relieved to get through the first race of the season feeling comfortable and unscathed.

Since then ive raced twice more. Again feeling surprisingly strong throughout. One race was in France where despite avoiding all the crashes the weekend previously, I found myself meeting the road on the final 90 degree bend that was 'like an ice rink'. Not in a position to go for the win I uttered the words 'keep it safe' approaching the final bend knowing that with the road conditions this would certainly cause some trouble come the finish. A few seconds later the riders were down in front of me and as soon as I touched the brakes it was game over for me too.

I picked myself up, rolled across the line and the next day was racing in sunny Belgium again in a kermesse in Torhout. This week 'only' a 250 rider field lol Feeling the effects of a bruised knee from the previous days crash, I cruised at he back in the early stages before deciding to give it an effort to move to the front. Eventually I did make it to the front and then I was straight off the front. Within a few moves coming and going I was away in what looked like was going to be the decisive move. The pace was fast throughout, with an average speed at the end of 46km/hr and so you could imagine the surprise when the peloton was hunting us down going into the final lap. Despite out best efforts to stay away, 3km from the end we was swallowed up by the big peloton. We certainly had entertained the big crowd there that day in our attempt to stay clear, but it wasnt to be and by the end I had to be content with an earlier primie taken (a primie which saw another rider elbowing me for lol) and the knowledge that it was some more good race km's in the legs at the front end of the race and so this can only be good signs in my first week back racing.
Stay tuned for more feedback on my Onix Bikes as I put them through the paces here in Belgium. Equipped with the Onix Azzuro and the Onix Aurious, I am certainly impressed so far with there performance. Good geometries, stiff, handle sure to check them out at

Until next time.....