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.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Dig in at the Dock

Dig in at  the Dock at Bo'ness, Falkirk, Scotland is a race I've wanted to do for a couple of years now.  But is very popular and sells out almost instantly (well minutes), and I have previously been unsuccessful with my application.  Bad times...

However, this year was different... This year I got a place!  Good times...

Belgians Belgians Everywhere...
Dig in at the Dock owes it's success to the hard work of the charismatic organisers - see promo video below.  Facebook, Youtube and Flickr et al are all utilised to the max to generate a real buzz about the event.  They over subscribe each year, and I understand generate a lengthy waiting list in the process! This is painstakingly whittle down to the final 150 or so starters!  However, still pop it the diary for next year you never know:-).

So to race day.  After a recent run of poor performances in Yorkshire - due to general lack of ability, a total disregard to any form of training or healthy lifestyle, and mechanicals - I was a little worried come the morning of Dig in at the Dock.  I hadn't put in a decent shift on the bike since Temple Newsam at the beginning October.... three months ago!  In addition, I'd done little in the way of other cycling activities either!  Dig in at the Dock could hurt a bit... if not a lot!

The course looped around the back of the Bacon Butty Stall - Criminal
When gasping for air!
Allied to the general nervousness was a slight hangover from the previous nights antics at my Bro's house in Glasgow - not a biggy by any means - but it was there nagging at me non the less.  So signed on, had a quick natter to fellow HCtB rider Andy Bell (No not or Ride fame... or Erasure fame for that matter - who was marshalling on the day - Thanks.  Big thanks to all the helpers too), bacon buttied up and dressed for action I went for a pootle.

The run up - a great noise from the crowd and cowbells here
An excellent riders course around the old dock opened up before me.  Phew!  Essentially flat with the odd little bank here and there (one a forced dismount) and not too muddy either all things considering (Scotland + winter = MUD... not this time!).  The ground felt a little odd in places - a little squelchy on top but rock hard underneath? Perhaps the industrial history of the area had played a part in this?  

Silky 'skillz' riding the little barriers
The race went well.  Super fast!  The gun went and we launched.  A fast start saw me maybe a third from the back - pretty good for me.  However, the this didn't last and for the first lap or so I slowly went backwards!  Eventually, once the tunnel vision, palpitations and faintness kicked in big time I just had to slow down.  However, I eventually settled into my rightful place about 10 from the back and dug in to hold my place.  Lapped several times by the leaders (as per normal if I'm fair) I churned away - fending off those behind me, even if I lacked the omph to chase anyone down - to 107th.  I was spent by the end - 11.7miles seems a long way in a cross race to me.

I had a wail of a time.  Dig in at the Dock was well organised, had a great course and was a great race.  A special mention should go to the supporters who made an absolute racket with cowbells ets - and even a trombone - oh and a Salsa band, for the entire race.  All credit to them, they created a right atmos.

I can't wait until next year now!


  1. Sounds ace John - I'm impressed with the cycling over water too :-)