Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Todmorden Revolution Cross

It was minus 3 as we rolled into Todmorden yesterday. Five miles over the hill, in Burnley, Saturdays big dump of snow was untouched by any thaw and we were expecting a war of attrition through a thick covering. Frozen cleats and clogged cassettes were a distinct possibility

It was somewhat surprising then to find the course with a mere dusting of snow but more worringly, large patches of ice all over it.

Warming up was more a case of finding where the worst of the ice was and working out lines to avoid it but the sun was out (at least over the hills above) and there was a race to be had for Rich, Mark and Alan with Jo bravely there in capacity as official team photographer (all photos from Jo unless stated). A separate Vets race was a novelty too (here in the NW) and welcome for us old timers....

Mark broke his chain before the start, only just mended it to take the start and promptly broke it again on the first climb. He redeemed himself with 'Hups' and 'Come on the Belgians' shouts throughout from the sidelines.

Rich followed his New Year resolution, and was much braver than Alan at the ungridded start on the rutted, sheet ice playing fields and was rewarded with a trouble free ride into 11th. It should be remembered that this is a man who regularly ice climbs in Scotland and Norway and therefore has a severely diminished sense of self preservation.

Alan, remembering his currently incapacitated wife and consequent ongoing domestic duties, opted for a more cautious (snail like?)start and enjoyed picking off riders each lap after the chaos subsided, to get 15th, about 20 or 30 seconds behind Rich.

The course was fun and technical, with conditions changing during the race as frozen patches beneath the immediate surface of snow and grass began making their presence known. Valuable though the experience was for boosting confidence at racing on icy surfaces, I am yet to find a bombproof technique for turning 180 degrees round a stake on a sheet of ice.....

The 2 photos above: Joolze Dymond/British Cycling website

Spare a thought and a great big 'Chapeau' for this guy in his tweeds, wellies and on a 3 speed Sturmey Archer geared shopper with almost bald touring tires!

1 comment:

  1. Al, didn't Nick Craig show us all a way to 180 on sheet ice with a bit of playground flair (appropriately enough on the 180 turn next to the skate-park). If you can't remember I reckon your Jack could show you ;->