Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Another visitor...

Stay a while. Stay Forever! (Impossible Mission opening line, not to be confused with Mission Impossible). Both Lucy and I used to play that game on the Commodore 64 quite some time ago.

Speaking of Lucy, she and Pete rocked up chez moi (sorry for the confusing French speak. Gotta practice) on Saturday arvo, Gent time, for a weekend of fun and games. Despite the rain - and there were showers aplenty, as there have been for the last three bloody weeks - we contrived to have a good time. Saturday was a tad busy pour moi because of Clasica San Sebastian, but we did meet up in town later for a beer or two and a cheap slap up meal. On Sunday arvo we met outside St Baaf's, where Lucy and Pete had of course checked out Het Lam Gods, and strolled around other bits of Gent. We have photographic evidence to prove it, as these pics show:

Pete 'n Luce in Gent

Me 'n Luce in Gent

Later on, we hit the Greek restaurant down the road and ate until we couldn't any more. Even I waived dessert, apart from a spot of chocolate ice cream when I got home. Now I know what a gorgosaurus feels like. Anyway, we all needed it because next day, Lucy and Pete borrowed a couple of my bikes and set off on a tour of Gent. It didn't go very far because one of the roads was blocked off so they ended up on the wrong side of the ring road. Alas.

I needed the foodage because I went to race in Langerbrugge in the arvo. I've done it quite a few times now, and it's always a hard race, even though the course is fairly easy. On a cold and windy day, we only had 38 starters but Willems and Cocquyt were there, along with a contingent from Jartazi. I chatted with Danny Massouras in the kleedkamers and we were wondering whether W + C would attack on lap 1 and leave the rest of us in the dust. But amazingly, they didn't. Or whenever they did attack, they were marked, especially by Vilcinskas from Jartazi.

This continued for about 7 laps and I was feeling fairly good, able to go with any move I so desired. But on this course it's always a trap because nearly all the breaks fail as everyone likes to attack, but not to work. And if you didn't have one of the big guns in your break, then you could forget it. But after about halfway, the pace increased a bit and I got onto the back of a split of about 20. I thought this was a good place to be, and it was, because all of a sudden we started working a bit and not attacking so much.

Alas, after a few laps, the pace dropped off and we were caught by the bunch behind with 5 laps (40 km) to go. Immediately, it blew to bits. Willems and Cocquyt attacked and got away with Vilcinskas and a couple of others, and that was the top five gone. Fine by me, as I didn't expect to be able to hang with them for that long.

Over the next few laps, the bunch totally disintegrated into groups of four or five, and I simply ran out of gas and couldn't go with any of them. A bit more training/racing would probably help, as a top 10 (or at least top 20) was tantalisingly close. I pretty much emptied the tank with 2 laps to go and grovelled around with Danny and a couple of others to end up 27th. I was eating energy tablets almost every 2 km just to get me home. My HR dropped 15 beats, my legs were turning around, but my mind was on autopilot. I think I hit the wall every year in this race.

On a positive note, I didn't run out of water and my new Zipp 404s were fantastic. Even good in crosswinds!

Finally, commiserations to Guido, who was geklopt on Sunday in the Schelde TT by 4 measly seconds. Don't worry Guido, he was about 25 years younger than you anyway! Next year...

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