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.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Central CX League Round 3 Hemel Hempstead

What is it about abysmal weather that brings out the crossers by the coach load? Oh please keep raining, oh yes here we go. Actually it's a bit bloody cold, and after being blown about on the playing fields I scuttle off back to the car for full gloves. lets have a quick practice lap, oh okay climbing gear for the flat, this'll be a laugh. Practice over the commissaire doesn't hang about. we know we have to look after each other and he sends us off quick sticks.
On the front row with Chris McCleod

I take advantage of my first row gridding to make up early ground, but the usual suspects are soon off in the distance, that said I've made equal space between myself and my chasers.
I have issues on lap one, the week prior hasn't gone well and I feel sluggish so decide there and then to sit up, take it smoothly and go for the long race. That means I'm soon overtaken by the vets race front runners including a strong team mate in Andrew Martin.
Andrew Martin

The second lap see's me in a on and off race with a North Roads rider, it's even Stevens until I fall passing a walker on the left while the North Roads man passes without incident on the right. The resulting gap is too big for me to ever make up. I think I'm eighth at this point and I don't want to drop back further. so I keep it as smooth as possible for lap three. That pays off as I catch a rider from VC10 towards the end of lap three and just before the bell.
Andrew making the catch

Not just mud, ditches and fallen trees.

I lead the VC10 man for the first half of the final lap, but he then passes me and starts to get away. I feel a bit resigned to eighth until I notice the VC10 man flounder on the final section of singletrack. I have to dismount behind him, but unlike my fellow racer who is trying to re mount and ride, I decide to run the final section of deep claggy singletrack I emerge into the fields leap onto the bike and press it. One right hander, another right hander and I can afford a glance over my shoulder just to check I'm ahead before the flag.
That was proper tough, but the support from Iain and Ashley deserved my best efforts.
So not 6th this week, just a lowly 7th in the vets 50's. And Andrew claimed a great 8th in the vets.
I'd liked to have stayed to give LBRCC's Julian my support, and God those boys needed it. I think the deteriorating course was now adding two minutes to each lap!
Good eyes and bodyline into the singletrack

I should mention Neil from the LBRCC who put in a sterling performance in the mens novice race, and who next week will be racing in the seniors at the Oxford round. Very Belgian is the Oxford course, deep sand, deep mud and steep hills. Bring it on....again.
Needs no comment!
Massive thanks to LBRCC's Iain and Ashley for the support for all those riding, and the greatest pics, cheers.

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