Jake Cowards Belgian Blog

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Sorry it's late but I've finally gotten round to putting pen to paper to write this blog. Being in Belgium is certainly a learning experience from the style of racing to the language, but I think the biggest thing I've learnt this first 2 months is how good I am at procrastinating. This is the 6th time ish that I've tried to sit down to write this blog.

So where to start, things here have been pretty crazy. Certainly an improvement on last year, not only am I able to finish races, but I'm now competitive as well. My first race here back in February was pretty nerve wrecking at the start after how my season started last year. Sadly though, I missed the main break that went, but was able to go with the counter moves that followed and was able to come in the second group of 7 riders. We were around 1 minute ahead of the peloton, giving me a good place of 32nd out of 200 starters. So a pretty solid start to the season. I then returned to England for a week before my first interclub of the year.

My first interclub was certainly one of the toughest races I've ever done, not from the speed or amount of climbing but from the weather conditions. By the time I was dropped with only 20km to go of the 160km race it was snowing heavily and was so cold that I was unable to change gear. I managed to last until the last 50 of the 220 starters. The worst part was due to the amount of riders who were dropped there was no space in the broom wagon, so I had to ride with my team mate to the finish! We managed around 10km before deciding to stop at a B&B where the owner warmed us up and my team mates mum came to collect us. It was so cold that in the end we had to cut my overshoes off!!!

Since then I have raced in Handzame finishing in the peloton where I was unable to contest the sprint sadly, and then several other inter club races, all of which I have finished well in. Sadly luck hasn't always been on my side with my rear brake jamming on twice, once in a kermesse leading to me having to do a bike change and the other in an interclub where it caused me to miss the break and meant I had to drop all the way back to the car to find out they had no "Allen keys" so I had to ride with a hand on the brake for most of the race, keeping it off of the rim.

To sum up so far, for the last month and half that I've been here things have been going well. I have some peaks and troughs as last year, most likely due to the problems with my blood I experienced last year; but I have that far more under control now so I only experience a week at most of poor form. The rest of the time my legs are good, I've improved massively in my climbing and have finished in the top half of the field in pretty much all of my races and although I have to learn to read the race better I'm riding aggressively and getting in the moves. I just have to learn which ones will stay away!

I am really glad to have this opportunity to race over here on the continent and really appreciate all the support from the CTT and hope that things will only get better this season. I'm getting ready for my next 2 races which are interclub races, so wish me luck. Till next time, Jake out.