Yesterday was the beginning of the famous Kerstperiod, where there's pretty much a UCI race every second day for 2 weeks. I've chosen a few to do and a few to skip, and the first one was in Sint Niklaas. It's a UCI C2 classified race, so all the big hitters were there, and Lars Boom made a return (no doubt for a hefty start fee). I even managed to secure some start money.
The Sint Niklaas course is a really pretty park with a lake in the middle. The course wound its way through slick grassy flats, a dark forest, some sharp ups and downs, around an athletics track, and along a sandy beach. It was only 20mins away from our place for a change, which meant we could sleep in and rock up just in time for a practice lap.
I got called up reasonably early, but once again lost my position pretty quickly in the race, in 2nd last on the first lap. I stuck to the riders in front, including a couple of Canadians and Alex the kiwi.
After the first few laps I was able to come around a couple of riders in the sand, which I was able to ride relatively smoothly, whilst many others were running. I kept the pace on, and came around Alex and a Belgian rider, by this stage the others had a fair gap. There was plenty of support out on course, I think people are remembering me from last year again, and Roeland's step sister's family were there cheering loudly from the sidelines.
|Cheer squad for the day|
By the time we had 4 laps to go, I was desperate for them to pull me and stop the pain. My calves were cramping when running up the stairs and my vision was clouding over.
We kept on going though, with no sign of being lapped. I was unlucky enough to just miss out on finishing on the leap lap (an aim of mine for this year), as Sven and the gentleman at the front were about 30 seconds behind as we entered the aths track to the finish. Regardless, I really enjoyed the race, and after a whole hours worth of racing, I'm really happy with my progress, as it seems like the improvement is evident. I finished in 37th, from 40 finishers (apparently there were about 8 riders who pulled out). A great day out, and I got to cool down by riding home, a nice change.
Lars Boom was world champion when I first started taking an interest in Cyclocross. Despite the fact he's not Belgian, he had some awesome hair hanging out the back of his helmet, and of course rode a Giant. After his CX success, he's changed over to the road, where he's surely earning a packet and doing pretty well. He still races Cx occasionally though. I've never asked for a signature or a photograph, but he was pretty much a hero when I was younger, so I introduced myself and asked for a photo. He was actually really friendly (unlike most of the other top guys), and was happy to have a shot and a quick chat.
Plug of the day:
You may notice I was rocking the 4shaw polka dot socks for the first time over here. Prior I'd been using the white corporate socks, as they're considered "euro," but the polka dots have already gained me plenty of attention. I've been riding 4shaw all year. Some people may think socks are socks, but the 4shaw range is ridiculously cool and comfortable, and would make perfect Christmas gifts for a cyclist. (Hint hint). Available at Northside Wheelers, iRide Bikes and St Kilda Cycles in Melbourne. Give them a like on Facebook too (4Shaw), you'll be kept up to date with all the new designs that are coming out. I'm loving the merino's over here!
I've also been riding Adidas Eyewear since the middle of the year, and their sunnies have become some of my favorite accessories to take out on the bike. Having used oakleys for a few years, I tried a friend's Evil Eye Half Rim Pro's and fell in love. The fit is firm on my big head and the lenses enhance the colors out on the road or the trail. I've also been lucky enough to have a second pair of riding glasses, in the Supernova pro. Again, a quality pair of sunnies. These ones use a single lens, with a big field of vision. I like using these ones on my big road training rides, the fit is a little more relaxed.
A billboard at this years Ausbike:
Adidas have a pretty sweet catalogue of casual sunnies too. Off the bike, I wear the Torontos.
The guys at iRide Bikes in Melbourne CBD have a full range (as do others no doubt). Check em out!