These ever decreasing circles are getting embarrassing now. I’ve gone from four races with two wins in a fortnight, to two races with one win, and now I’m down to two races and no wins in the last fortnight.
World Cup Zeven
I’m glad to report World Cup Zeven was a success, I guess that’s if you count being first loser a success. Short story is Sanne beat me again, but Zeven was a good World Cup. Second was the best I had in the legs that day. No excuses, only happiness and the bonus is since I didn’t actually want to win, I plan to save that for Worlds and for it to be surprise. So I won’t write any more about it.
Zeven was a new race for me. I hear I got lucky as last year’s race, while I was at home broken, was a super-fast race and not my cup of tea. I didn’t really know much about it as I wasn’t really in the mood for watching ’cross this time last year, and even if I was I couldn’t stay awake long enough for a complete race.
But I looked into it before this year’s event, and in the run-up to the race heard from one of the leading male riders, who confirmed things for me. The Wednesday before the race I was on the course, playing in the mud and posted a picture. He saw it and sent me message to say he wasn’t coming, but having seen my picture, saw it was muddy and asked if it was “really muddy” and worth changing his mind and traveling. I said yes, he packed the truck, got a top ten and the rest is history as they say.
Zeven was also a chance to me to see the one and only Hanka Kupfernagel. A legend of the sport, a hero of mine and former teammate, albeit only for a few races. She was super busy and did a great job with the race in tough conditions. It’s exciting for me to see more former female riders staying involved in the sport, forging opportunities and leading the way for others. I got a few moments to catch up with Hanka and look forward to seeing her there next year.
On to Warmer, Sunnier Spain
Moving on, I’m in Spain. It’s warm and seemingly packed full with vitamin D. I think if you tested the top 50 ranked cyclocross riders in February, there would be a seriously high probability they’d all be vitamin D deficient. That’s not to say Belgium isn’t lovely, but sadly it was at the back of the line when God was handing out sunshine.
Following Zeven everyone left Belgium. That seems like a sweeping statement, but it’s an actual fact. You can check on Instagram, the home of all cyclocross facts; we are all in Spain.
It’s nice down here, warm, mountainous and a break from the tough routine of racing. The way the UCI calendar is set up right now we don’t get many opportunities for a break like this. There seems to be some kind of classification ’cross on every weekend, so when the chance comes up, we all make like seagulls and get the flock out of there. Last weekend was my first weekend without a race since the season started, and also my last weekend off until I end my season.
I came to Valencia, well just outside, to an area where it seems the whole worlds’ oranges are grown. They’re everywhere, briefly interspersed by persimmon trees. I had to google this as apparently they are not a massive Physalis fruit as I first thought. I didn’t know that on the first day, and to be honest, I was a bit annoyed with orange trees by the end of my ride.
I’ll explain. When you go somewhere new to train, it’s always an adventure to find the good way out of town. Well I thought I’d nailed it: left at the first orange tree, right at the second one. Clearly, reverse that for the way back and Bob’s your fathers’ brother.
Sadly, as the ride continued, and I passed maybe the 50,000th orange tree, I gave up and used Garmin making me feel less than a pro adventurer.
So why Valencia? I live in Southern France, in a town that normally has eternal sun and is best place I know to train. When I saw a three-day cold patch was hitting town, we looked up where was warm within driving distance, so it was back in the truck, and off to Spain to make sure I could train everyday without interruption.
Being a bike rider is pretty awesome, and it’s also pretty simple. Follow your trusted plan from the coach, block out the pain, eat a lot and sleep at every opportunity. I guess the only hard part is making sure your can get outside to follow that plan, which is where a Stef comes in handy to drive me to the Sun.
Choose Your Own Ending
It’s Wyman Wednesday today, but I’ll let you into a huge secret, I’m not writing this today. I’m actually at a race in Spain, or I might have already finished it and be making my way home.
So maybe I should write two endings to this.
I won, I’m so happy. I want to thank my family for their sacrifice in the early days of my career.
I didn’t win, but that’s life, I’ve got other races to focus on now, and I just need to put this in a box and move on. I need to get over it as quickly as possible.
Anyway, delete as applicable and see you back in Baltic Belgium in a couple of weeks.
[Editor’s note: She won.]