Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Tour Comes to Town and I finish a race

As you are probably all aware on Monday the Tour finished in Ghent. So I spent most of the day hanging out in st Pietersplein in the centre of Ghent enjoying the festivities. They sure like getting drunk in public over here. The square, which is about 200 metres away from where the stage finished, was packed with about 20,000 people. It was huge. They had a big screen up, live bands and beer stalls set up everywhere.

In the crowd I saw Robbie McEwens wife and kids and Quckstep pro Wouter Weylandt. I also saw all the team buses, and watched the riders go back to the buses at the end of the stage. When Gert Steegmans won nearly everyone in the square was booing- they wanted McEwen or Boonen to win, and Steegmans rained on their parade. McEwen is huge here because he lives in Brakel, which is about 20kms away from the centre of Ghent. At the end of the stage I saw Tom Boonen ride past in his Green, jersey, and he was like the pied piper. When he rode past people people ran from every direction in a mad frenzy.

You may have noticed the crash in the closing stages of the race, that occured outside the supermarket in Mariakeke where I do most of my shopping. The guys in the farm were watching the repaly on the televisions and it was like, ´isn´t that the aldi around the corner´. The party went on well into the evening, the student district in town was absolutely pumping and everyone was having a good time. Apparently Ghent festival starts on Friday night so there will be more festivities like the tour stage in the next few days.

Racing- Wachtebeke

Yesterday i raced at Wachtebeke for the second time this week. It was a sort of two stage tour thingy. I also bumped into Cam Streistermanis from Melbourne which was good. I finally finished a race coming in in 31st place, which I wasn´t displeased with. I did too much work early on in the race again which was a bit stupid, but I was having a lot of fun chasing down and putting myself in breaks that really weren´t going anywhere. At about the halfway point there was a really heavy thunder storm so by the finish line I was covered head to toe in road grit. When it started getting cold my legs started to seize up with cramp and I thought I was going to get dropped. but luckily the peloton slowed down at this moment which allowed me to ride back on. I´m really pleased that I have been able to improve with each race. The style of racing takes some getting used to, but once you start to get the hang of it its not so bad.

The locals don´t pull turns and don´t do any work- no favors are asked and none given. The races are like 120km points races on the track. You sprint hard out of every corner and the attacks are constant until the winning break is formed. Im feeling really tired today, and my eyes still have sand and mud in them which is a pain in the arse. The next race is a crit on friday which is only 70kms long, so that should be a little easier. Unfortunately the weather has turned sour again which may put a little bit of a dampner on training for the next day or so.


Blogger C-MAC said...

Repeat after me: follow wheels, follow wheels, follow wheels. (Then Sprint)

8:15 AM  

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