I love Christmas so very much. The only thing I strongly dislike about my job is that I don’t get a Christmas break. I mean I wouldn’t give up anything that I’ve done over the last 14 years for it.
However, let’s just say I’m going to need to grow a few forests to make my Christmas electricity usage carbon neutral the first year I’m no longer racing!
This year the Kerstperiode was a lot more condensed than usual with just 10 days between Namur World Cup and Baal. Where, if you were crazy, you could race six days. I’m not aware of anyone who actually did, although I could be wrong.
This year more than ever people are choosing their program based on lots of different things. There are more decent UCI races than ever to choose from across Europe, and we are seeing the smallest effects of globalization. Probably helped by U.S. Nationals being early, this year there is an influx of American racers taking on the Euros outside of the World Cups, which is great to see.
A Kerstperiode to Remember
However, the most exciting thing over Christmas was the Junior Women’s race at the DVV Trofee Azencross race in Loenhout.
Have I mentioned it before? Maybe? A few times?
Well, it really was something amazing.
Forty-four riders from nine nations lined up in the freezing cold at 10 a.m. to race their hearts out, bunny hop planks and ditches and generally show the world what they are missing by not having their own category yet. I loved it!
GCN very kindly edited the footage that six of us took from different locations around the course. I don’t know how pro the others were but a lot of my footage started and ended with the floor while I was trying desperately to press the record button when I couldn’t feel my hands!
The highlights reel they put together has so far been viewed by over 72,000 people on my Twitter page so it’s safe to say the whole event was a huge success and there is an interest in Junior Women’s racing.
Highlights reel from the junior women’s @DVVtrofee in Loenhout today from @gcntweet Thank you to everyone for racing. Today those junior girls showed the future of our sport is #winning pic.twitter.com/0jGEQMicEz
— Helen Wyman (@CXHelen) December 28, 2018
Over Christmas, I raced Namur, Zolder and Loenhout. I had planned more races, but unfortunately got a cold and having spent so long at the start of the season trying to get over sickness I decided not to risk the rest of the season and instead came home to the south of France.
The Next Cyclocross Adventures
We have this amazing thing down here called sunshine and having not been home since November, it’s safe to say it’s great being back, even if it is for less than two weeks before we head off on our next adventures.
The second half of the season is kind of split into two halves. We have the championship half, with Nationals, World Cup, World Cup and Worlds. Then the fun half, with the final DVV and Superprestige races thrown in with a handful of random ones including the evening ’cross in Waregem.
Although admittedly, Stef would describe this more like 12hrs drive, 3hrs drive, 14hrs drive, 14hrs drive. Finally, just Belgium!
The first of these World Cups in in Pont Chateau, France. While it’s a great course and a lovely place to train, I won’t be there. The last time I was there was the European Championships, where I was involved in a fairly horrid crash.
As it was a very traumatic time for me (and the husband), we both agreed it’s not really somewhere we want to go back to. So I have signed up to a race in Luxembourg instead, meaning the dog gets to add another country to his passport. Basically a win-win situation all round.
My next races are the National Championships on January 13th followed by Ottegem back in Belgium the day after. Ottegem is a proper old-school, amazing race. I’m fairly sure the course hasn’t changed a millimeter in the previous 800 editions, and I love it.
All the Elite women have gotten a gift when they sign on for the race at previous editions. The gifts have included including a hairdryer, a coffee machine and a soda stream.
One year Sanne won and I was second. When we were presented our gifts on the podium, I got an awesome little coffee machine and she won a hedge trimmer, making it the only time I’ve ever been happy to not win a bike race.
So until Nationals, it’s all about the training and I’ll be hoping to come out strong and put up a good defence of the jersey.