Great lap that is kind of reminicent of the former World Cup in Hofstade (and which sadly doesn’t exist anymore). The sand was easier to get through due to the rain that had been falling all week and there wasn’t much running involved. I had a decent start and after the first lap, I ranked in the top twenty. In the second lap however, I did some silly mistakes that cost me some places. In the end, I finished 25th and I’m satisfied with that, especially happy I didn’t get lapped by the old and new worldchampion Marianne Vos.
Water and mud, and some more water and mud.
There was a longer sand part too which didn’t help my back at all (it has been killing me for a week already).
Normally I wouldn’t have been pleased with such an early start (11 am), but this time it was actually nice to be the first race on the lap (with all the mud, the lap kept getting worse and worse). I rode with minimal pressure in my tires, which didn’t help on the road parts, but did wonders in the mud where I managed to make up time. After the end of the first lap, I was ranking 12th just behind Pavla Havlikova. But due to my poor running skills in the sand and the road parts, I again lost precious time and places. The switching gears got complicated after a while because of the mud and I changed bikes. My spare bike had more pressure in the tires, which helped on the road and didn’t in the mud, so that I switched again after only half a lap.
This turned out to be a very bad decision, because I slipped on the road at the end of the lap and realized that I had a flat tire. I lost two more places until I reached the material post and switched bikes again. In the last lap, I fought through the mud on my spare bike as well as I could and I was very relieved to reach the arrival in 19th place. A big thank you to all the supporters along the lap that cheered me on and helped me give it my all, and also to all the photographers who weren’t daunted by neither bad weather or mud and send me a lot of very nice pictures.
If everything goes according to plan and my mechanic Marc recovers from his cold, I’ll be starting Saturday in Middelkerke and Sunday in Heerlen. He probably caught it while being in the material post.
It makes me think of the dedication all the people around the lap must have to support the riders (which, if you look at it from a different perspective, do have the easiest job. We only need to ride and don’t really have to worry about cleaning bikes, reparing stuff, getting the car ready etc.). I’m talking about the mechanics but also the organisers and volunteers that secure the race…all those people standing outside in any weather at any time. It is thanks to them that we can ride and that cyclo-cross is a thing, so I want to take this time and thank them for standing out in the cold for us, thank you!