Racing in Belgium with John Barclay

Harelbeke – Saturday 4th March

The race today was on a narrow course with lots of different road surfaces and tight turns, so it was key to stay near the front.  83km in length 13laps of a 6.3km circuit. Weather was cold, damp, breezy.

At the start I stayed near the front knowing that was the best place to be about 7th wheel. The race went off really hard but my legs felt good. As the race went on there were a few crashes that split the main group and eventually a break of 8 riders including myself got up the road. With about 6 laps left. We worked well as a group and stayed away from the main chasing bunch.

I was positioned 4th wheel in the sprint but Charles Page got the jump on us in the last straight so I ended up finishing 5th. Well done Charles, but bit annoying for me.  But I felt like I rode the race well, and legs were feeling good.

De Klijte – Sunday 5th March

75km long with a long 2km draggy climb and lots of twisty narrow roads.  The weather was grim at about 6 degrees C, and very windy – making the racing hard, especially with the cross and head winds. Jacob Vaughan attacked after the narrow chicane on the first lap, the group didn’t respond so he got away. I knew I needed to try and bridge across to him so i waited for the cross wind section which was up a little kick in the road and attacked over the top after a hard period of racing with Theo Modell.  A couple more riders came across and we became a group of 6.  We closed the gap down from 50 seconds to about 10 seconds, but as soon as we had Jacob in our sights the momentum within the group seemed to fade and the chase became more erratic. Jacob managed to stay away for the rest of the race. On the last lap I attacked over the last kicker into the final bend because there was a head wind finish.  With about 200m to go I realised I had started my sprint too early and our breakaway group came past me. Really happy with how my legs felt. Keyt learning points –  probably should have bridged across to Jacob and made another selection within the break  – that way we would have been fighting for the win not 2nd and 3rd. As well as this I  should have waited to start my sprint later as it was a head wind finish.

Really happy with how my legs felt over the weekend, and two breaks in two days is a definite improvement.

Thanks to John Barclay for organising the weekend and for inviting me.

The accomadation in the hostel was great – recommended if you are in the are Groeninghe Hostel, 1A Passionistenlaan, B-8500 Kortrijk.

Great weekend’s racing, great company, great experience. Can’t wait for my next Belgian experience.