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.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Season So Far...

It is hard to believe but the Yorkshire Points competition is more than two thirds over. Round seven was last Sunday at the 'old school' Brighouse course. Also hard to believe is that Brighouse is the first points race this season where it actually wasn't dry/sunny for the vets race! Anyway having failed to post regular race reports its time to recap and take stock on a non-racing weekend!

Round One Northallerton 2/9/12

Steve giving me a 'funny look' ;-)

Well it wasn't the usual Oakbank opening round but it was the Northallerton 'grass crit', no need to dismount at any point and very fast. Bone dry and sunny, a rude awakening for the racing legs. I felt pretty good for the first race of the season but lacked a little in pace. Met up with Jon (cheers for the stickers!) for the first time since last season and best of all we recruited a new lady, Laura, with genuine Belgian pedigree! @Hanglebads photos
Rich Allen 15/88, Nick Waggett 54/88, Jon Allen 62/88, Laura Jolly 83/88 (5th W)

Round Two Oakbank 9/9/12

The usual season opener had to take second place this year but still managed to pack in the usual variety in a (relatively) small venue. Lovely sunny weather again to begin with and though most of the course was dry some areas held the rain. These areas started to cut up adding a bit of challenge. Funniest moment was having to sprint to and from the car to fetch a spare front wheel for Mark (J. D. Cycles) during the seniors race as he ran a lap to the pits with a flat. I hope he appreciated getting the first ride on one of my FMB Superprestige tubs! Jo was poorly so no photos.
Rich Allen 18/103, Nick Waggett 45/103, Laura Jolly 90/103 (5th W), John Parkinson 97/103

Round Three Tong 16/9/12

An good course with a mix of open fields, technical woody descents and a steep climb. Dry and sunny again and really not that wet under the wheels either. I felt pretty good but missed a trick by not using a log hop short cut every lap which was probably worth a place or two by the end - must get more confident/take the risk on some of the technical stuff. Things I learned or remembered - technical skills save energy and places! Jo was still poorly so no photos.
Rich Allen 19/99, Nick Waggett 51/99, Laura Jolly 77/99 (4th W)

Round Four Thornes Park 23/9/12

Another fast course with just the one hurdle and it was yet again dry! Usually this race is run close to Christmas and can feature icy sections but not this year. Strangely despite having a right battle with my friend and adversary Wayne and feeling like I pushed it really hard it was my worst result of the season. Not sure why, the start was a bit crowded and I didn't get away that well but not that badly either - who knows? @Hanglebads photos
Rich Allen 23/118, Nick Waggett 43/118, Laura Jolly 93/118 (3rd W), John Parkinson 98/118

Three Peaks 30/9/12

I've already covered this in 50th Anniversary Three Peaks suffice to say it was a memorable send off for John

Round Five Temple Newsam 7/10/12

Our newest and youngest 'Belgian. 
The mud tubs (Rhinos) came out in expectation of wet conditions - so far I'd done every race on Griffos. On the day it was dry and sunny - again but there was at last some proper mud - yippee! A great course as always with a mix of technical woodland with some good muddy sections alongside the more open field sections including a 'nice' off camber 'P' turn. I had a good start - not as good as Paul though who set off at 500m pursuit pace! Things I learned or remembered - make sure you know where it is quicker to run than ride. @Hanglebads photos
Rich Allen 13/111, Nick Waggett 60/111, Paul Goulden 64/111, John Parkinson 94/111, Laura Jolly 98/111 (7th W)

Newsome High School (Huddersfield) 14/10/12

Team mates
A non points race high up above Huddersfield at Newsome High School. A mainly fast grass course but with a sand pit and some tricky off camber banking and a touch of woodland for interest. I had a great start and was actually up to 6th at one point - mainly because two riders slid out on a slippery grass corner. It was a fast course that rewarded smooth riding but punished errors - by the end a few stutters and slips and I'd slipped down to 9th but probably only 15-20 second off 7th. It was good to Things I learned or remembered - tyre/tub pressure is so important, I seemed to have it just right in the Griffos finding the slippery corners noticeably less problematic than some. @Hanglebads photos
Rich Allen 9/80, Nick Waggett 47/80, Adam Cooper 53/80, Laura Jolly 74/80 (4th W)

Rapha Supercross Broughton 20/10/12

Vets team raring to go - with Nicole. 
The whole Rapha Supercross phenomenon has stepped up a gear this year perhaps not so much in terms of the racing field, though I think there were more discreet categories this time round, but certainly in spectators and trade tents, catering etc. We arrived nice and early but by the time the vets had finished there were spectators everywhere and 'overflow parking was running short. The course itself was a compromise - heavy rain had meant that permission to use the more technical areas had been withdrawn for fear of severe damage. As a result it was an exhaustingly 'heavy' grass circuit which should have suited me but I didn't seem to be firing on all cylinders whether this was physical or just psychological given the slow going I'm not sure - though my recovery on Sunday suggests it was all in the head. Things I learned or remembered - tyre/tub pressure is so important, again! @Hanglebads photos
Rich Allen 14/91, Carl Nelson 24/91, Nick Wagget 37/91, Jon Allen 45/91, Mark Bradley 70/91, John Parkinson 75/91

Round Six New College (Huddersfield) 21/10/12

Jon in freshly laundered kit!
After the Supercross on Saturday it was a surprise to line up at Huddersfield New College actually feeling a lot fresher - perhaps yesterdays efforts had 'unblocked' the legs or more likely it was a faster course so everything just felt better! A goodish start and the good sense just to hold back a little on the 2nd corner saw me comfortably placed and avoiding the pile up. Not really any technical challenges and just two dismounts per lap (need to work on power as one of them was rideable by better/stronger riders). Actually felt that I could really power on the flats but couldn't catch Phil who had finished just ahead last week as well at Newsome. Things I learned or remembered - the turbo and rollers really do help. @Hanglebads photos
Rich Allen 11/113, Nick Waggett 37/113, Jon Allen 71/113, Laura Jolly 94/113 (5th W)

Round Seven Brighouse 28/10/12

Quicker to run than ride!
Finally we come to Brighouse an 'old school' course that includes a couple of big climbs and a couple of steep/fast/technical downhills - especially in the mud. Good to see the Lancashire raiders in the form of 'smiling' Dave Haygarth over for some Yorkshire action. At long last there was some proper mud and it was actually wet - almost anyway but nothing like the heavy rain forecast. Thanks to the points 'call up' I had a great start position and a flying start managing to stay (very much) on the back of the lead group for the first half lap. Reality soon asserted itself and a little group of us slipped back battled away for the next few laps until Mark (Hopefactory) pulled away and things fragmented. A few silly mistakes skills/strategy wise cost me a couple of places but I really didn't have the hutzpah or legs to make it count today. However it was such an enjoyable and tough course the race flew by. Things I should have remembered - know where it is quicker to run than ride even downhill and it is surprisingly easy to run a team mate over without consequence to oneself (sorry Nick!) @Hanglebads photos

Nick enjoying the flat before being run down...

Rich Allen 16/84, Nick Waggett 55/84, Mark Bradley 76/84, Laura Jolly 82/84 (2nd W)