Like many serious bike racers, Doug Ollerenshaw always dreamed of racing in Europe. Last month he finally got his chance. He traveled to Belgium with his Team Health Net/Maxxis teammates for his first and long-awaited foray into European racing.
It was a harsh introduction. His first race, the Trophee des Grimpeurs,was a technical city circuit in a suburb north of Paris. It was cold, rainy and the course was full of slick cobbles, dreaded traffic circles, and some of the fastest bike racers in the world.
Known for his toughness, Doug O hung on and was still in the race when only about 25% of the starters remained. He even attempted to chase down a break at one point, only to “nearly get dropped” after the unsuccessful effort. In retrospect, he wishes he had.
About 3/4 of the way through the race, a rider with the French powerhoused Cofidis team went down and took Doug with him along with someone from Credit Agricole. Doug joked about this elite pile-up, “at least I went down in good company.”
Doug ended up with a fracture on the inside of his hip socket. The good news is that it won’t require surgery, but the bad news is that Doug’s European aspirations will have to wait until next year.
He spent the rest of his two-weeks in Belgium sampling the local food and taking short strolls through the small town of Avelgem while his teammates went on to race the famous 4 Days of Dunkirk and the Peace Race.
While the injury is a big letdown, Doug found a silver lining, “It was cool to get a feel for daily life in Belgium. They’re much more relaxed over there. I really like the pace of life compared to the States.”
Yesterday was his first day off crutches since the crash and he can’t ride outdoors again until mid-June. After our chat at a coffee shop in Northwest Portland, he was off to a rehab clinic in Beaverton where he spent some time on the Inside Ride Treadmill.
The good news for Portland is that his race schedule has now shifted away from national races and he’ll spend some time getting his legs back at local events. I hope to see Doug racing full-tilt, driving the head of the pack at the Mt. Tabor Race Series and he even seemed genuinely interested in doing some cyclocross this Fall.
You can follow Doug’s progress and read more details about his European saga on his well-written and informative blog.
Get well soon Doug, we’re all pulling for you!