Time again for an update as this 2012 season in Belgium continues. Yet again the consistency has continued but also now I can happily say that consistency has been rewarded with some wins. Victories have been near all year but found myself just missing out. However with 3 wins and 1 overall classement win in 2 weeks, I have finally been able to enjoy that sweet feeling of success again. It was simply about keeping the faith knowing that it was only a matter of time before the persistence paid off.
And so to these wins, the first of which came in the town of Wambeek-Ternat here in Belgium. Also a place I was victorious in 2011. Yet again we would be faced with 13 climbs of the cobbled berg and without doubt the hottest weekend of the year....cue strong-mans race! Eventually the race would come down to 5 of us left at the front. Going over the top of the cobbled berg with 2 laps (around 15km to go) I saw I had a little gap and instinctively took a chance. With the race and the weather taking its toll on everyone it felt like it could be the right move to play. And so I was right. I quickly established a nice lead over my other breakaway companions and as it happened it was a lead that only continued to grow. Hitting the berg for the final time I continued to ride strongly and I knew once over the top that it should be mine. Still when you have been waiting for a win all year there was no chance I was slowing up. Thankfully nothing was standing in the way of victory for me that day. I took the solo victory, 54 seconds ahead of the chasers and could enjoy that moment that I had been waiting for all season!
This race is actually part of a 2 day classement and so I returned on the second day for yet again another 13 climbs of the cobbled berg in pursuit of the overall classement. Clearly heavily watched I soon realised that the best form of defense was actually to attack. And so I got away alone and made the break come to me. Again with the conditions this race was never over and so I had to keep doing a lot of riding to ensure we stayed out front and importantly for me ahead of the other classement contenders. In the last laps this was especially the case when some of the other breakaway riders were thinking more about individual victory. Though I came to close to winning again (placing 4th) the thoughts of the individual win had to take a bit of a back seat to ensure I won the overall. And that I did. Another successful weekend in Wambeek-Ternat which coupled with the results also there in 2011 meant I had 2 overall classements, 2 race wins, 2 further top 5’s, 2nd berg classement x3 and some additional primies for good measure. Just for reference I also placed 7th there back in 2010. Safe to say I like this town!
The timing was great as the following weekend would see me having a slightly different weekend racing on the Island of Jersey. Having visited there in 2009 I finally made my return this year. Cycling is very popular on the island and continues to grow. This weekend of racing is certainly evidence of that. Over for 3 races (time trial, criterium and road race) I ended up walking away with 2 more wins. I was to take victory in the time trial and road race and barring a crash in the criterium I was still in contention for the win there also. I was to finish 6th in the crtierium, but 2 out of 3 is not bad! Along with the racing I got to have a nice (extended) weekend on the Island of Jersey. Was made to feel very welcome by a good group of friends who I had not seen in a few years, got to have a good catch up, see how cycling is growing on the island and got to see more of the island itself. I also got to see ‘Big Maggys’ coffee shop, something that was just a concept being thought of back in 2009...now its a reality and some hours were certainly spent in there over the weekend. I left Jersey on my 650km road trip back to Oudenaarde satisfied after a very enjoyable weekend. Thanks to everyone there that made me feel so welcome!
And so to the rest of the year. There is still 5-6 weeks remaining of the season and with the condition still good im looking forward to what it will bring. The first win of the season is always the hardest and now that is taken care of, along with the further successes that followed, im looking forward to continuing to finish this season off in style!
Until next time....