Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Season is Underway!


Back in the heartland and the Season is underway.

It’s great to be back racing and despite a disrupted winter the body is feeling surprisingly sprightly. I have defied the norm these past few months.

From having much of the winter off the bike with an achilles injury, to starting the season (albeit a little later than originally planned) with testing figures that are higher than could have imagined six weeks previous.

My condition has returned remarkably quickly and it finally meant one thing: it was time to get myself back off to Belgium and get this 2011 season started.

First race, a kermesse in a town just outside of Gent called Merelbeke – and the small matter of a 349 rider field… only in Belgium!

It must have been some sight from the roadside seeing this huge peloton.

The Season is Underway
At the front of the bunch, with the legend that is Patrick Cocquyt on my wheel.

‘Chaos’ is how I would describe it from inside the peloton, with crash after crash after crash. Luckily not for me though.

I chose to ride off the front or at he back out of trouble, but unfortunately with such a large field nothing was being allowed to get too far away.

A huge crash in the sprint saw much of the peloton caught up, but all in all I was relieved to get through the first race of the season feeling comfortable – and unscathed.

The Season is Underway
And I was on the telly!

Since then I’ve raced twice more, again feeling surprisingly strong throughout.

One race was in France where despite avoiding all the crashes the weekend previously, I found myself meeting the road on the final 90 degree bend that was ‘like an ice rink’.

Not in a position to go for the win I uttered the words ‘keep it safe’ approaching the final bend knowing that with the road conditions this would certainly cause some trouble come the finish.

A few seconds later the riders were down in front of me and as soon as I touched the brakes it was ‘game over’ for me too.

I picked myself up, rolled across the line and the next day was racing in sunny Belgium again in a kermesse in Torhout.

This week ‘only’ a 250 rider field!

The Season is Underway
There are only 250 riders today! Still hard to stay near the front…

Feeling the effects of a bruised knee from the previous day’s crash, I cruised at the back in the early stages before deciding to give it an effort to move to the front.

Eventually I did make it to the front and then I was straight off the front.

Within a few moves coming and going I was away in what looked like was going to be the decisive move. The pace was fast throughout, with an average speed at the end of 46km/hr and so you could imagine the surprise when the peloton was hunting us down going into the final lap.

Despite out best efforts to stay away, 3km from the end we were swallowed up by the big peloton.

The Season is Underway
Back in the bunch.

We certainly had entertained the big crowd there that day in our attempt to stay clear, but it wasn’t to be and by the end I had to be content with an earlier primie taken (a primie which saw another rider elbowing me for) and the knowledge that it was some more good hard km’s in the legs at the front end of the race – this can only be good signs in my first week back racing.

Stay tuned for more feedback on my Onix Bikes as I put them through the paces here in Belgium.

The Season is Underway
Posing with my lovely Onix Aurious.

Equipped with the Onix Azzuro and the Onix Aurious, I am certainly impressed with their performance so far.

Good geometry, they’re stiff and handle well – be sure to check them out.

Until next time.