Monday, April 28, 2008

Guest Blog: Normon Thibault
April 26th.

Wendy is doing her pre-race casual routine watching German MTV: Pimp My Ride so it is up to me to do a little post for Wendy's Blog.

Adventures in Zwembad
Traveling in other countries it is always tough to get a good swim in. Finding the pool (It is left of the is near the center of town.....nope). Figuring out the schedule (No swimming on Sundays or mondays......not a long schedule during schule times.....). Negotiating with the get the picture. 95% of All Belgium swimmers swim breast stroke 95% of the time.....I think it is so they can keep an eye on everything. Knob suits. Speedos. Banana hammocks. That is all the boys wear. If they are working on maintenance, lifeguarding or actually swimming. I saw this one 30 something ripped-runner-triathlete the last two times I was at the pool. The guy was water running back and forth in one of the lanes. Back. Forth.....repeat over and over for more than the hour that I was there. Well the last time I was there I was swimming by and well.......his "Junk" was hanging out of his swim suit.......there was probably 100+ people in the pool. Situation remained the same for 75m more before his business was put away.........

Pool temperature was 28c......I was cooking after an hour. I think it is even warmer than Beban.

Unfortunately some of the elementary school girls that were swimming had more pit hair than me.....yuk!

At a race track south of where we are staying on Tuesday and Thursday nights from April to October there is a night ride that I can only call the SWARM. Starting around 6:30 riders start heading around the motor speedway in one group that gets more and more strung out until it breaks into smaller and smaller pace groups until people start peeling off and heading for the exits around 8:00 or so. The kicker is that there is probably 300+ cyclists there. There is guys on full 10k race rigs right down to guys with panniers. Everything inbetween. MTB's with knobs, MTBs with slicks, TT rigs, old road rigs....everything and all ages from 10 to 80. The race track has a permanent cyclocross course in the infield.....that is up year round.

Just one of the girls.

Cycling in Belgie.
To put it in perspective; We see more people riding bikes here on 1 day than a whole year combined in Nanaimo. On our ride the day before Wendy's 1st world cup we came across the U23 Mens Liege Bastion Liege. This U23 race was bigger than any race in Canada.........25+ motos, 50+ cars. Team busses.....HUGE. Several days a week there are informal group rides near where we are staying that have 100+ riders in it. At the recent Tour of Flanders citizen race there were 18,000 participants. We went to the Mid Week Classic the Fleche Wallonne and there were so many spectators that Wendy asked, "Is anyone working in this country"? Cycling is huge!

Enjoying a "saucisse" in the beer garden at Fleche Wallone while watching the race on big screen. Typical Wednesday in Belgium.

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