Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Tielt Winger crew. photo by some random Belgian in the crowd....

Back in Belgium!
After Nationals I went home for a day, unpacked everything, washed everything and then repacked everything. 40 hour complete turnaround. The Air Canada check in lady was a little frazzled with her deja vu as a few days ago when I checked in she had gotten in trouble for not charging me for the bikes. This time I was traveling with a big double bike case AND a separate bike bag full of FSA wheels (I couldn't leave them at home!) so I thought for sure she would be double dinging me for 2 bike bags. I was ready with the VISA but she must have really hated her job because she waived me through with no excess baggage charges. Apparently someone had been a tattle-tale last time and that was why she had to call me out of the boarding area to pay when I was almost through, scott free. Suzie Suck-up was not there today so free bike travel combined with my business class upgrade and things were looking good. I was traveling so smooth I didn't even mind the overly chatty guy next to me complaining about the shoddy decor and seating in Air Canada planes. Blah blah blah. Yah I get it, you have $$$. Headphones on.

I am staying at the Wymans in Tielt Winge for the month so Stefan picked me up and Helen had dinner waiting for me! More smooth. The house was full of cyclists from around the world as per usual and whose American twang do I hear when I walk in, but Garry and Betty, friends of Barb Howe's that I met last year in Belgium! Small world. There was lots of talk about racing and racers and bikes and everything else but I was fading fast. I crashed hard and slept until almost 10am. Yikes. But a few fuzzy jet lagged days and a leg flush from Jergen and I was ready to go.

We took the pink Swift "camper van" (translation: RV)  to the race. Traveling in STYLE. Checked out the course at Kalmthout and I loved it! FOUR sets of stairs (yes I said FOUR and two were almost on top of one another), a few lollipop 180degree turns and a lot of twisty, turny, swoopy tracks through the woods plus a couple of sand pits. I do love the world cup courses. They is just SO much going on. 

I had a pretty good call up from last years UCI ranking - 9th - so I was on the second row. I needed a good start as the course had some turns coming up pretty quick. Unfortunately the gun went "click" pause "click" so the start was a bit crazy as some bolted at the clicks, some rolled off the line, some laughed and I stupidly paused thinking that they would call a false start. I should know better. This happened to me last year and they never call a false start (unless you are Sven Nys). Go with it. So my start was not great and I went into the dirt in the 20s as I got squeezed out by many in the terrifying corners off the start. The race was strung out immediately so I had to pick people off whenever I could. I soon realized my long legs could do it on the stairs with ease so one by one I picked the minis off. I was moving through nicely but the lead group of 6-7 was gone. So when Maryline Salvetat from France bridged up to me I decided to play smart and get some rest on her wheel. It was a good place to be until a few girls bridged up and on the last lap sharpened their blades, I mean elbows. I had forgotten how pushy and aggressive these gals are. I got slammed into the gates twice by the same chick, squeezed out by another and T-boned (on purpose) by a third, all in about the span of 2mins. I was pissed. I had not worked this hard to get shut out by demolition derby style racing. I passed mini#1 on the stairs and then set my sights on the menace, but by then Salvetat had made a break. I squeezed some anger into my legs and bridged and then passed the menace in a sprint finish for 8th. I was wasted but happy my legs could talk back. But next time  missy, it will be elbows. 


morgan said...

Wendy, I really dig your blog posts.

Gary is a local buddy from San Francisco Bay Area cx. (So's Barb.) He's been sending a bunch of us little reports and pics and video from the races there. Small world and all that. Good luck over there!

russellp said...

Remember, you're Canadian, so apologize after you elbow them (Excusez-moi? Pardon?). Canadians are so polite, after all. --transplanted Bay Area fan

Jeff@HMB said...

Hi Wendy,

I read the article in velonews.com, "Simms leads UCI 'cross standings" to Jack this evening. He thinks "it's cool" that you are leading the standings. Best of luck with your racing.

Anonymous said...



I'd say that is rock star status!


Anonymous said...

OH.... congrats Wendle!