Saturday: Johan Museeuw
It was a fairly relaxed start to the day with the start not until 2, but I won’t dwell on that for to long. After a spin we were good to go, well I thought I was until I realised I had a slowy (slow puncture), anyway a quick change and it was the roll out. The race consisted of 10X 12k laps with each lap having its own £10 preme. There was no neutral and due to having my puncture I was towards the back of the bunch. It went out hard from the start and I managed to start weaving myself up through the bunch until we hit the tail wind section on the main road 3k in and I heard a massive crunch. A Belgium had ridden into my rear mech, bending it. This meant I couldn’t get into to anything bigger than the sixteen. As you can imagine, being in Belgium it was pan flat, this was alright as I didn’t have to go up hills but, I have to say, there was two motor way bridges on the course of the lap and they were the hardest motor way bridges I had been up. I was able to change down but my chain was slipping and once I had managed to bend it over into the fifteen I decided I would leave it in that gear and ride singlespeed. Its fair to say this made the race tough and I would like to think I made the best of a bad situation. A break of 8 riders had got up the road(I had three team mates in it) so they cleaned up most of the premes which was good. It hit about 70k and a break of another 12 of us got away and managed to bridge with two to go. Shortly after we had got on with 1 ½ to go a break of 2 went up the road including one of my teammates. They gained a healthy advantage until a further 5 riders got away due to a rider letting the wheel go. Me and another 3 set off in pursuit to bridge however the others weren’t as keen to try and get across. The original 5 and next 2 joined up and ended up sprinting it out for the win. At least the team got a win(congratulations Ollie) and that left me sprinting it out for the minor places and coming in 8th. I was disappointed at first but I felt I made the best of a bad situation also it was a big bonus to win the team prize.
Kermesse day is my favourite, after Saturdays downer I was keen to lift my head up and hit it with confidence. Todays race consisted of 15 laps of a 6K circuit, there was a preme every lap and a bonus special preme of £50. There was a fairly big field of 90 riders so it was going to make for good racing. I was keen to make my mark on the race and went out and won the first preme, I put in a dig straight after the line to see if I could split it early on. However that turned to no avail. The next half of the race was fairly boring I picked up another preme but that was it. There was nothing sticking and most attacks would get brought back fairly quickly. After the half way point a break of three established themselves and built a healthy gap to almost one minute pretty quickly, I knew this was threatening and with peoples legs started to tire I went for it. Three of us got away and started to pull out a decent advantage before a further 5 bridged and with a bit of driving from most of the riders we established 30 seconds on the peloton and caught the three leaders within three laps. With 4 to go everyone was still working well together, I managed to grab a bottle off Dave luckily as I was running low on fluids and it was a hot day, I tried a couple of digs but most of them were shut down. I won the final preme on the bell lap and I hit it from there with Fred but we got brought back within a kilometre and I decided that I wouldn’t waste energy trying to get away, instead follow moves and see what I could do in the sprint. It was coming into the last 2K and attacks started coming but most of them were luckily shut down and it was clear with 600m to go it was going to be a sprint. I managed to weave my way through the wheels and latch ontoFred’s wheel as he hit it 300 out. I bided my time and came round with 150 to go(there was a slight headwind) I threw everything at it and managed to pull away from the bunch to win and throw my hands up. I’m happy to end my drought of wins and get the great feeling of winning again.
I learnt from this weekend that not everything always goes your way but its how you bounce back from those negatives and help use them to turn into positives and motivation.
A massive thanks goes out to John, Dave and also my Dad for taking us over, also a massive thanks to VCL, Boardman bikes for my fresh bike and all my other sponsors who it wouldn’t be possible to do what I love without.
Saturday: Johan Museeuw