Monday, July 7, 2008
Belgium Trip Day 7 Race Day
Today was a 62 Kilometer circuit race started in the small town of Huise, Belgium, about 30 kilometers away from Izegem, the town where we are staying. We went on an easy spin at around 10:30 to see how the bikes where holding up and to see how we were feeling. About half way through the ride Alex was standing up when his gears slipped, he came unclipped, and slammed down on his top tube, putting a small crack in the bike and racking himself like no other. After he recovered we looked at the damage on the bike and decided that it would hold up the rest of the ride, but we would talk to Tim about racing on it. When we finished up the rest of the hour Alex found Tim to talk about the bike. Tim said that he was pretty sure that the bike would hold up for the race, but that was it. We then went upstairs and chilled for a few hours before we would have to start packing up the van. At around 1:45 the van was all packed up and ready to go. When we got to the race at around 2:30 we walked down to the local bar to get registered and to get our numbers. With a little mix up with the registration where Yoghi had to run back up to the van and get a form that lets us race out of the country we where running a little behind schedule. By the time that all of us were ready to race we only had about 30 minutes before we raced. We all did a small warm-up before we raced over to the start line to get a good position. The start of the race was similar to a junior crit in Texas, extremely fast but then we practically slammed on our brakes and were going around 15 km/h. About half way through the first lap someone swerved into my front wheel and his skewer hit about 8 of my spokes, and although I didn't realize it at the time my brake started to rub. On the second lap of ten I found myself leading the pack into a U-turn with cobbles with a tiny 15 year old on my wheel and two american teammates behind him. I then attacked going out of the turn with the tiny 15 year old coming with me, but other than that no one else had reacted. The two of us easily built up a good lead. The kid then easily rode me off his wheel on his on an uphill headwind section. I then rode at my one pace until another group had gotten away from the pack that included Joel Shaffer had caught up with me. I then jumped into that group where everyone worked fairly evenly until we had caught the 15 year old kid. Everyone in the 7 person group worked pretty evenly for the next 5 or so laps until Joel dropped out of the break with another kid while someone from the pack had bridged up to us. The then 7 man group turned into a 5 man group where one kid was just sitting on. With about one and a half laps to go I had had enough and couldn't hold the pace any longer. I then made the mistake of shifting in my little ring so that I could spin a little before I was swallowed up by the 15 man pack. When I shifted down though my chain popped off on the inside and by the time that I had gotten it back on the pack had already passed me. I then rode at my own pace to finish in 27th out of around 70 starters. Only until I had gotten off my bike I realized that my front break was rubbing and my back break had come loose and was slightly rubbing against the wheel. So....both of my brakes where rubbing for the majority of the race and I had spent 8 out of the 10 laps off the front. I then found out that Anders had bridged up to the break in the last lap and had finished 7th. The next best American was James in 21st, Joel in 26th, then me in 27th. Peter had flatted on the first lap and didn't continue and Alex's shifter broke and then he flatted and didn't continue.