Our hometown race! We had a good group of guys out for this one. It was a lot of fun to be racing on familiar turf.
The race was a bit smaller than some of the others I have done so far with only about 50 guys on the start line. It was great to be in a bunch with a lot of guys in the same kit - a feeling I haven’t really had since leaving the States. We worked really well together and were in just about every move.
As far as my own race is concerned, I am starting to pick up on how to race out here. What I have really learned about my own racing style is that for me to make the winning move, I really need to hold back, like, “Whoa nelly! Easy there champ!” As soon as the race starts I have some kind of mental tick that makes me race flat out until I find my limit. So, out here I have learned to surf the front of the race, staying tucked into the front of the pack, waiting out the early attacks and counters (which are relentless) until the right moment. Still though, I find myself wasting a bit too much energy trying to go with smaller moves, essentially forfeiting my cushy spot in the pack and burning matches, only to lack the punch to go with the move that matters.
I think this development is a bit different for everyone that comes out here. But, I am convinced I have the strength to mark the important moves and get away in the one that counts. Things just have to come together. I need to stay focused on being at the front of the race but not the front of the race. And I really need to develop a better instinctual response to moves as to whether they warrant the burning of a match or not… More often than not, I follow too much in the beginning, then in the middle where the right one goes, I can see it, recognize how crucial the moment is, but physically can’t respond. For me, it is about learning better patience and focus. And the funny thing is that this growth I need to make as a racer is spurring me to look at myself off the bike with the same critical eye. I have never felt bike racing so directly influencing my perception of myself as an individual!
Anyways, I missed the main move of 12 guys. I rode in the second group of about 20 guys. A group of four dangled off the front as we unexpectedly got the bell lap two laps early (to leave room for the front group to race freely). They stayed away. Behind, I stupidly tried to get away inside the last five km instead of saving it for the sprint. I started third wheel, but waited for someone else to go. Dumb, again! I got fifth in the sprint and 21st on the day. It would have been great to crack the top 20, but I am getting there… I’m just saving it up for one big breakthrough!
|02/08/2009- OOSTNIEUWKERKE (W)|
|1.12B - ind.reg.wedstr.(100-120 km) Elite z.c./U23|
115 km - 670 EUR. - I: Café De Most, Roeselarestraat 239, 8840 Oostnieuwkerke - U: 13:30/14:30/15:00 - K: Mostschool, Roeselarestraat 179, 8840 Oostnieuwkerke - Contact: Patrick Mertens, Lijsterstraat 1, 8840 Oostnieuwkerke (Tel.: 0473/755354) (email@example.com) - Extra info: 23 ronden van 5 km