0006: "Alles Goed?"
Molly is practicing how to say hello on her bike behind me. Its all I can do to not laugh, seems that there are more than a dozen ways to greet people as you approach them on the bike. "Daag" being one of them, it's the shortened of "goode middag," or "good afternoon." The language baffles me. The Vlaamse (Flemish) is mostly Dutch, but sometimes a French word slips through. There's a good chance that that I'm screwing up most of that, but I'm trying.
We're out heading around between the towns of Westerlo and Aarshcott. Great field roads that had a nice rounded turn ever few hundred meters. The adjoining fields were all covered with a light frost even at about 12 in the "middag." I'm riding a Ridley Noah on loan from one of the fabled Tachelet Brothers. This time its Stijn and I believe that this model used to be Chris Horner's from the Lotto years. Thanks Chris it rides like a dream.
The Begijnindijk ride passed us going the other way.
It was nice to see probably two hundred cyclists out on a group ride.
Roundup on the Middelkerke Racing.
The racing yesterday was crazy. It was crazy today too and the American's did well. First off, yesterday there was a crazy crash at the start. A cameraman from a local tv station got a little too close...creeping in from the edge of the course for the best shot. The guy next to Trebon ran right into the camera that was sticking out ejecting him straight into the lanky Kona rider. They both went down pretty hard and it looked like Jamey Driscoll did as well. I couldn't really get a good look at the action because as soon as someone started talking about how a "Camera man took out the riders..." everyone looked at me because I was holding a camera. I quickly jumped over the small canal between the field and the road and moved away from the chaos.
This is the only photo I got of the crash, as the crowd swarmed me out to catch the melee. These Belgian fans can be downright pushy and somehow they just know that I'm American, I can feel it. No matter how I try to avert their steady booze addled gaze...
The other chaos that was happening was going on in the race. Which I may have elluded to yesterday, Jonathan Page finally brought his hammers to work and after a questionable start (becaue of the crash) he brought them out and started smacking things with them. Like other riders, which allowed him to literally claw and scratch his way up into second position. With a crash the day before this was just what Page needed and he held on to a good lead over the rest for the majority of the race. However a podium wasn't in the cards this time as he flatted sometime during the last lap and ended up fourth.
He wasn't so happy in the Winner's tent afterward. But I got Enrico Franzoi congradulating him afterward and telling him that he's thinking of coming to the states to race....or maybe is coming to the states to race. I got it on video. We can all sit around and review that later.
The interesting thing was to listen to the crowds as he raced by. He was all alone for the majority of the race, so every time he came flying by, I got to hear how the crowds were reacting. Most of it started with a question... "is dat Page?" So it seems that they recognize him...maybe his crazy Rock Racing esque changing of the kits keeps them guessing? I think I'm leaning toward the Black and Red one which would allude to the year of the Dark Horse. Do it.
This image is of one of the caravan's that the European Pro's travel in. These things never cease to amaze me. No one could figure out who's bus this was though. All I know is if I had a caravan to travel around in it would definitely be Bassboat Purple.