005: It's A Belgie Life For Me.
I don't know where to start, really I don't.
Went to Middelkerke today for the Cross race. 3pm race start for Molly and the race was about 2 hours away so we got a pretty early start. Frost covered most of the cars and fields as we made our way West to the coast of the North Sea. Somewhere along the way we passed Johan Museeuw's hometown.
I didn't really know what to expect going in to my first Pro race in Belgium. Or maybe I did, and was in a way hoping to see it. To take in the spectacle that is the Euro way. Maybe it was the Belgian pastry that was being passed around the car. Whatever it was, it was working.
Can I interject here that I couldn't have happened upon a better conduit to this new world of cycling. Molly has learned enough of the ins and outs racing over here to make this a rather seamless transition. Think about your personal ritual that is involved with a typical race weekend in the States...morning coffee, hotel situation maybe?, how about prepping two bikes and having someone in the pits? In a few short years racing she's got all this down to a T.
Everything from where you check in and get your number to the proper documents needed to race-no less than four in any given scenario. Or how about trying to get good help in the Pits? Our man Peter works for Ridley and tunes rear derailleurs by sound rather than sight. Every angle has been covered.
The best part is, with all this function going on, one might think that form would get lost somewhere in there. Thats not the case with this one. Not one misstep in the form arena as I would like to point out that Molly is also keeping it pro by looking a little "Lars." Her euro-mullet or "boom" (as I've taken to exclaiming when I see it) seems to be growing at quite a rapid rate. Now it is actually showing up in pictures and whatnot. We shall see what happens with that as we all know that a well groomed mullet can be exciting as well as intriguing. If you don't believe me look HERE.
It was also nice to see some old Belgies go soft for Molly's Steel race bike. Here Vanilla has to be one of the sweetest looking bikes out there. The funny thing was that when some of these guys got their meaty hooks on her bike, they wouldn't belive that it was steel.
"ja, ah-luh-minum" they kept saying as Steven shook his head back at them with "no, steel...really, it is steel."
In any case. The race was an exciting one from the start, but permit me to backtrack for one more second as I profess that when I picked up my Pers or "press" badge from the officals I didn't know what kind of experience I was going to have with it. But when you find yourself on the start line looking Sven Nys in the eye you better have something really fucking interesting to ask him. Because I balked, just for a second, and I think he saw it. Not to worry though, I'll get it back. I know I will and I'm basing that solely on the fact that he has a huge RV with his face painted on the side of it. But then again most people do here.
There were two interesting races that happened today. The first was the All-Stars race and included a dazzling array of Cross stars from the almost yesteryear of Belgium. Roland Liboton, Paul Herijgers and the eventual winner and leader for most of the race...Erik De Vlaeminick (the star list is at the bottom). Just a few world champs hanging around to break in the course
for the Pros.
I haven't even gotten to the juicy bits:
1) The first lap crash, Trebon and Driscoll down...
2) Jonathan Page finally starts swinging with two hammers
3) what the view is like in the Winners tent.
Your Belgian correspondent at large,