Several months ago, Steve asked Travis and I if we would be interested in traveling to Belgium this summer. Rick Adams, owner of Immersion Cycling, provided us with a proposal that would involve racing and training in West Flanders for two and half weeks. Travis and I jumped at the opportunity and for the past eleven days we have been competing in the local Kermises, tasting the local cuisine, riding the cobbled roads of the spring classics, and watching our favorite pros compete in post Tour de France criteriums. Below is a photo journal from my Instagram (henryscholz) of the trip so far. For more information on trips and racing in Belgium, check out Ricks site http://immersioncycling.com/
The Sigginga haim located in Zingem has 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 14 beds, living room, dining room, huge backyard, and a bike shed. It has hosted several cycling teams and we spoiled enough to only have 4 of us staying here!
On our first day in Belgium, Rick took us on a ride over some of the areas cobbled roads through the streets of Oudenaarde.
I got the chance to chase Travis up the cobbled climb the Koppenberg, part of the route of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. That hurt.
Travis, Richard and I all got dropped about halfway through our first kermis. We weren't too upset as the race was 115km in Laarne and had 147 entrants which consisted of a few rides from the Omega Pharma - Quick-Step and Vacansoleil development team, and even a couple riders from the US pro Jamis Cycling team. I'd hoped in Europe they would at least spell my last correctly.
Afterwards we were luckily enough to be interviewed by a local journalist and made the news: http://www.nieuwsblad.be/article/detail.aspx?articleid=BLWPO_20120722_002
I just pulled out of the Landskouter kermis when I ran out of food and water after a little over 80k at around 280w. I pondered what the hell they are feeding these guys?
so... many... cobbles... Unfortunately there is no way to route your map to avoid cobbled sections so I got to commute over these out to and back from the race. They are fun at first but quickly become annoying as they rattle your bones.
We got the opportunity eat some friets with mayo and watch a post TDF crit in Aalst featuring this years Sprinters Green Jersey winner Peter Sagan and some other big favorites. Sagan won but the races tend to just be more of just a show as in a previous year Sastre out sprinted Cav and Farrar and Armstrong out sprinted Cipo.
The beautiful morning view from my bedroom in the Sigginga haim in Zingem.
A shot of church in the town center of Zingem.
After a bit of a bursitis flare up from screwing up my fit unpacking my bike, I went on a training ride while the boys raced. I found a park along the way and hit up some dirt to uncover some awesome cyclocross trails. Luckily I was able to get back to racing the next day after my knee calmed down.
Richard and I sat and recovered for a minute while we waited for Travis to finish a Kermis in Bambrugge.
Travis immediately after completing all 112km and finishing in the main bunch of the Bambrugge kermis.
After several days of kermis racing, we decided to take a rest day with napping in the morning, a spin in the afternoon, and a post tour crit at night.
There were some big names out at the Ninove post tour crit. Cav took the win over Mcewen and Sagan.