Andy Williams Month of July racing in Belgium. Race 1.Race 1.
With 20 hours travel under our belts, we were all keen to race. Brad, DLS (Daniel Lloyd Smith), Jack and I rolled up to our first race with a few k’s in the legs but nothing that really blew them out from the flight. With 70 odd starters it looked to be a good race as the roads looked pretty smooth and conditions were favourable albeit a little warm for our liking (30+ degrees). The 120km race started with a bang as expected and initially it seemed impossible to move up as the pace was so high. One person at a time I creeped forward until finally I was near the front of the race. The guys here are a lot more polite and let each other in so they frowned upon us riding aggressively to get a good position, all we had to do was give a little flick of the wrist to say “do you mind if I jump in?”. Dougy Repacholi had broken away from the gun with one other and the attempts to bridge across to his group were going every few seconds turning the race into repeated 20 second sprints with 10 to 20 seconds tempo then repeat. I was thinking to myself “shit, welcome to first grade bro.” The course was quite technical and decimated the group through the tight corners with long sprints out of the corners awaiting riders who found themselves poorly positioned. After a split in the race Brad bridged across with myself on his wheel and two or three others in tow causing a split in the group and allowing us to get to the chasing group. Looking down at my heart rate I was at 190 mid race around 45km in so I was massively in the box. A few riders managed to escape across to dougy’s group which was working extremely well holding off the field with now about 5 riders. The race continued with a series of attacks however the move up the road now had enough distance to eliminate the rest of the riders from the chasing groups and that was the race for us around the 90k mark. In belgium if you are not in the move your gone.
The first race in belgium had taken its toll with all of us cramping early in the race and dropping large amounts of salt due to the climate change and no doubt some after effects from the flight. All up we tapped out close to a 200k day, with 6 hours of riding all up. During the race my average HR was 169 for over two hours with a max of 195 mid race. Baptism of fire is probably the best way to describe it. We have found a bike shop that actually supplies real race nutrition instead of melted mars bars and muesli bars. One of the hardest races I’ve done so far, however in the coming days and after a few more races we should be well into the swing of things and hopefully some results.