So the Belgian summer is coming to a close for me before exams start and racing takes a back seat, but I went to give it a last go over the weekend in Schriek, a nearby town.
We had a field of over 100 at the start. I lined up properly for 89km of 80º heat and some solid wind; both conditions I hadn’t raced through in over 9 months.
The first few laps I kept it in the middle of the field, just saving legs when I could. I got into a move or two, but nothing was sticking on a pretty open course.
Late in the race, a move formed off the front. 22 guys got away with 4 laps to go. In this selection were two teams of 4 or 5, and plenty of other powerhouses. Basically all the talent got away.
We organized a chase, 6-10 of us, and started rotating in pursuit, looking to shut down a 45 second gap.
Inside the final lap, with only about 4km to go we brought the gap down and joined back up with the leaders. The problem is, with such narrow Belgian roads, when you catch a big group, you go from prime position up front to back in the chaos fighting for position in front.
I did my best to move up when I could, but ended up taking about 30th out of the 91 finishers left.
Video Coming Soon!
I’m super proud of the efforts I’ve put in all summer, and I’m excited to return to training and finish up school here so I can get home in July and get back to racing crits (with new experience and much better conditioning from all of Belgium)!
Joe “Pepe” Sullivan is Higher Gear’s very own European correspondent based out of Leuven, Belgium where he attends university. Pepe is testing his mettle in the European racing circuit – in both road (riding his Specialized Venge, named “El Diablo Dos,” and his new Specialized Roubaix, Leuven Locomotive, a/k/a. “Loco”), and cyclocross (on his Specialized Crux) – as well as enjoying the famed cobbled streets that make European cycling so challenging.