It's been a little while since my last blog and I really should have learned by now that it's much easier to do them little and often. So I promise next time for your sake and mine I'll do it sooner so you're not reading such an essay.
Since my last blog I have been back to England where I race in one of the TT series events and realised I really could have done with riding my time trial bike. I was only able to ride on the aero bars for 5miles maximum so ended up losing huge amounts of time, it was still a great experience and reminded me how much I love the way our little time trials work in the UK.
While home I also raced one of the local E12 races, despite being 3rd cat due to not having raced in England in quite a while. Still was great fun and I'm glad I rode 1hour 30mins to the race as the short races in England don't suit what I'm used to now. The racing was a different type of hard from here in Belgium, attack after attack made the racing very fast. I made sure I was in every move that went and when the final move went I quickly bridged the gap and was able to sprint to 8th in our group of 14. I was pleased as I was there racing alone and still have probably one of the worst sprints in the peloton so to come away with 8th was a great result.
After that in Belgium sadly my luck was back to its old self, I had a mechanical in my first race on a very flat and windy course in West Flanders which suited my style of racing so not the best start. The following day I raced in the pouring rain and wanting to make up for the previous day's misfortune I really grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck and was in almost every move that went. Sadly none of them stuck but I decided to try my luck in the sprint coming into the final bend in the top 10, my bad luck struck again with an Australian rider for the Orica U23 squad crashing in front of me and bringing my race to a very abrupt end. I still managed to come in 78th though a bit worse for ware and with a flat back tyre, what I learned though was that at least my ability and form was getting close to where it should be.
The following Tuesday I was selected to ride in the biggest race of my career; Gullegem Prof Koerse. With a line up including: Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, Andre Griepel and Greg Van Avermat. The race was an incredible experience, 174km long and run off at nearly 47km/h average even Stijn Vandenberg for Etixx who I've known for a few years said how fast it was. I was able to hang on and finish in the front half of the peloton when it split in the last few kilometres finishing ahead of Fabian Cancellara and one place behind Iljo Kiese. Really the best experience racing I've had in my life, I even ended up fighting with Tom Boonen in the early stages for the wheel of another Etixx rider.
After that things continued to look up, the next few races I was very aggressive and was able to get in multiple moves on 2 occasions I was alone in front with 300m to go before the peloton swallowed me up for a bunch sprint. Being in sight of the finish before I was caught was crushing and the car journeys home spent agonising over ever detail where I could have hung onto those extra 300m for the win. Looking at the positive side I've come on so much this year and I'm really glad with where I am and not only am I riding aggressively and getting the moves I'm still there at the end and fighting for the win now, hopefully a good sign for the future if things keep going this way.
Another finish in a pro Kermesse where I came 46th and even went on the attack multiple times in the last lap once alone and the other times with riders in the caliber of; Team Wiggins and Topsport Vlaanderen, that and finishes in some of the bigger interclub races here in Belgium are also hopefully signs of things to come.
My last 2 races didn't go so great as I've been ill recently so having had a few days off I am back to training normally and having ridden 5hours today I'm hoping to be back fit and fighting Thursday in my next pro Kermesse, fingers crossed!
As I said at the beginning sorry for the essay and I'll try to make the next blog a tad shorter, hopefully next time I can write to you with a few top results too. Thanks for reading.