Unfortunately, 15% of Belgium is coming down with the flu right now--this, according to Noel. It must be true.
So by my own logic, that means that 30% of the team house should be sick right now. Why? We're Americans. We must be twice as easy to infect by Euro viruses. We don't even have a national health care plan! It's like taking candy from a baby for the flu virus.
From that 30%, I guess Chad, Sheldon, and I are the ones to get a tid bit sick. It feels great. But it's not the flu, just a cold. Arggg.
Bjorn, Boyd, Brandt, and I traveled north 60km to Reningelst on Thursday, a UCI 1.2 race. It was 188 km's and came with a pretty stacked field of 15 Pro Continental (DII) teams and most everyone else Continental (DIII) teams. The course redefined what I consider to be a hard course for a big field of 175 riders. Basically, we started on a two lane road with no shoulder. Then we turned onto a path NARROWER than any bike path I've ridden--I'm talking two abreast riding, maximum. Ouch. The course followed a figure 8 path, switching frequently from 2-lane to super narrow roads. Top it off with a strong westerly wind and you create chaos.
Noel knew this was a hard race that non-pro's rarely finish. It was supposed to be a learning experience, to learn to fight to stay in the front of the peloton like your life depended on it. Of course, I was surprised by the Belgian tactics, moving from front to back of the peloton at the neutral start by forgetting to use the sidewalk and grass alongside the road. Lesson learned!
The next 80km were pretty much hell, sitting at the back of the field and giv'en it everything in the crosswinds. Literally, guys drop off all around you in the back of the field. I needed just to gas myself once and for all to make it to the front of the field--but I didn't manage. I blew completely at the back of the field after 4 and 1/2 of 11 laps. And that was that.
Bjorn managed to finish the race in the 3rd group on the road...one of 40 finishers! That was a great ride.
I'm going to shake this cold here ASAP to get ready for the Tour of Alsace in France on Tuesday. I really want to do well at that race, so I hope to keep things on the healthy front for the next couple of days.
Today--ride to the Koppenburg. Should be cobble-blastin fun.