Posted by Erik Tonkin on December 24th, 2005 at 6:14 am
Hey there from Belgium. So, as some know, I was shitty sick just after Nats, and left for Belge in its throes. I have improved but don’t feel like I usually do when I get here. Mostly, the trouble comes from taking over a week off the bike. I tried to train here on Wed thru Fri, and I got some good efforts in, but I knew that the first race would be ugly. I hoped that it would open me up for the future races rather than ruin me. It’s dicey when ill.
So as expected, given’er, as they say, didn’t come easy! I didn’t feel good—not once—during the race, and I even puked (which is so rare for me. That said, I was clearly riding pretty fast and even have the TV coverage to prove it. I started third row or so, lost some ground early, but made it all back up in one muddy chicane. On the second lap, I was with a small group not far behind a larger group. I worked so very hard to bridge, leaving my group behind, going across solo over the next lap and a half. I soon realized the group I was chasing was racing for the top twenty, and it contained, from what I could tell, Trebon, Page, Commeyne (sp?), Vannoppen (sp?), etc.
I was feeling terrible, but I figure it was because I hadn’t raced for a while, and, besides, I suppose it wasn’t an easy effort to catch guys like those twenty minutes into the race. Then, I dangled for a lap, a few other guys got there, and the group really stretched out. I was pretty proud because I had never stayed so close to the front in such a big race for such a long time. But it was short lived. Red-lined, I drifted just a bit off the best line on a gravelly turn, slid to the outside of the course, clipping a thorny hedgerow. Initially, I saved it, but as I stepped on the gas to free myself from the mess, I got stuck and went right over the bars. Obviously, I lost the group.
My next lap was poor, and a few guys caught me. I stayed in a decent rhythm for the rest of the race, catching a few guys who lost the group I was in, but also yielding a few spots to my chasers. I think I was 37th, less than 30 seconds behind five guys and pretty close to most of the guys who were in the group. Nobody was close behind, just a big gap. Last year I finished 27th in the same race (I think), but I was only 30sec faster, riding a clean race. So, not too bad. I hope I’ll feel better on Monday. Ryan, by the way, flatted in a bad spot while in 15th (he had left that group behind, I think), fading to 25th. Baker hung in to finish on the lead lap. Powers had a bit of bike trouble and got lapped. Page dropped out. Barry didn’t start because he arrived today, his flight being delayed two days. The big news is that junior Bjorn Selander finished 8th but with the leaders, using a borrowed bike that was way too big for him. That kid is good. Well, that’s my story for today. More later if McGrath lets me borrow his laptop again.Email This Post Possibly related posts