Belgium Time! Early Wednesday morning my dad, penny, Jessie and I all made the journey down south to the chunnel. After having to sweet talk the AA Man to pinch a fuse for the cigarette lighter to enable us to use the sat nav, we got to Folkestone surprisingly early so luckily were able to get an earlier crossing. We arrived and straight away cracked on to Carrefore, bought a fresh French baguette, ham, cheese and tomato, so we had a fab little sandwich and a brew.
On the Thursday we did a nice couple of hours along the Schelde with Helen and Stef. It was great to ride without worrying about cars pulling out on you only the hundreds of cyclist who were out today, because it was a National Holiday. We had a nice wander around the square in Oudenaarde and a little look in the Flanders museum, dad loved it!
Friday was race day in Begjinendijk around a 2 hour drive away, it was great because the race didn’t start until 4pm, so it was nice a relaxed in the morning, and I got a lie in which is rare these days. The sun was behind the clouds and it looked like there was going to be a storm, but it held off luckily for the race. I got signed on and I was quite excited to do my first Belgian race of the year, it seemed ages since I was last here. When I was on the start line I saw two girls from Poland who I raced at the Berlin 6-day earlier in the year, and we had a good chat and catch up. Since Berlin 6-day one of the girls; Kasia has won the World Scratch Championships. During the race I got stuck in and kept to the front, the first few laps I went for the primes but it wasn’t to be so I just sat in for a few laps. I kept forgetting this was 100km Kermesse it’d be the longest race of the year for me. The last 30km I tried to get away, but was hard to do on your own, and was even harder to try and get a group of you up the road. In the end it came down to a carnage bunch sprint, it was absolute madness, slightly different to Britain to say the least. I tried to hold my own which I did, until a girl sat up in front of me and I endo’ad into her back wheel. I finished in the bunch, which I was really happy about because I knew I’d done a good ride. Onwards and upwards.
Saturday we were racing in Breendonk and the start wasn’t until 3.30pm so again it was a nice relaxed morning packing the van and eating at a normal time, rather than force feeding yourself at 6am for a race like in Britain. The sun was out and everyone was happy; definitley tanning time! There were some big names on the start line, especially one in particular; Emma Johansson. So the race was on from the gun as all eyes were on her. I did around 50km trying to get away with girls but the legs just werent to be found, so I ended up calling it a day. I made sure I got myself rested up for Tuesday Johnson Health Tech Tour Series. It was great because my cousin came to watch us girls race in Breendonk as he only lives down the road in Antwerp, so was good to see him, and have him cheering us on. Thanks to Stef and Helen for putting us up in their house for a few days, and to my Dad for driving us girls to all the races for the weekend. What a legend. Thanks to Bart Hazen for the cool pictures!
Ciao for now, Hannah x