HOMEBOY Belgium: Ode to the Off-season
It starts about the end of August. You look at the race calendar and it’s near, but still oh so far. The off-season.
Oh how do I love the off-season?
Debauchery and nothingness is its reason.
A beer in the left-hand, a burrito in the right.
I’ll be passed out and fat before the end of the night.
Serious training becomes a thing of the past,
No 5-hour ride in the morning at last!
For a brief moment of time my life becomes normality,
But alas it is not to be my long-term reality.
I officially started my off-season on October 11th, the day after Texas State Championships. While I wasn’t in full on training mode after my arrival back to Texas on the 6th I was still keeping myself in shape. Little did I know the 105-mile race, where I originally placed 8th, would be all for nothing. I was DQ’d for a yellow-line violation along with 3rd through 6th place and a number of other riders.
Normally I wouldn’t bitch about such a thing, but the problem was I knew the yellow line was going to be an issue, so I made a conscious effort not to go across the line. No way you can argue your way out of it after the fact and I reluctantly accepted the officials call. Oh well. I was most upset on missing out on some well wanted drinking money to start off my off-season.
The next two weeks I visited with old friends and drinking holes, rented a barrage of movies, and just did nothing relating to the bike. I did a bit of running and some light gym work, but the bike was only ridden when I really wanted.
After two-weeks of Houston I was about ready for a change. So I loaded up the trusty Nissan Sentra and headed to Golden, Colorado. My brother has been going to school up there for the last three years and it’s been almost a year since I had last seen him. Top that off with his 21st birthday happening that week and I had to go! On the night of his 21st he drank a margarita bigger than his head! (reference the picture).
At the top of a one hour climb at 9,500 feet
Colorado was great. I’ve been there on three different occasions and each time it is better. I did some great rides in the mountains with friends. Saw the first snow of the year on Halloween. (20 minutes to clear my car off makes me glad I don’t live in a state with consistent yearly snows) I also went snowboarding for the first time ever. It was quite an experience and made the 5 hour ride the next day all that more painful.
I swear I only fell down a few times.
After Colorado I was ready for the bike. Unlike my 2004 season, my 2005 season was already planned and secured. I was ready to get back on the bike and load up the miles into legs to set a solid foundation for next year. I started my winter training with just 3 weeks off the bike (well not completely ‘off’ the bike). I’ve already logged in some good miles and even threw in a cross race in there for a bit of fun!
My favorite winter training, CX!!!!
Every time I come home to Texas I have a bit of a different sensation. This time the feeling was one of everything being oh so foreign. I will always be a Texan at heart, but Belgium is starting to feel more like home. For now I have three more weeks of Texas then it’s off to South Africa to meet up with friends and get in 3 months of solid sunny training.
PS: For the perfect Christmas gift check out VeloStuff.Net. You can find many different gift ideas and all at great prices!
Gregg Germer is now in his third year in Belgium and is racing professionally with the Flanders-Afincom cycling team out of Oudenaarde, Belgium. Between races and training he likes to spend his time consuming mass quantities of coffee, watching movies, reading and doing website design in addition to his writing articles.
You can always find out more information about Gregg and see more photos of his journeys and travel by visiting his website at: CyclingLinks.com/gregg
and he always welcomes e-mails at [email protected].
You can also directly help Gregg in his quest in Europe by buying from his internet shop VeloStuff.net.
And now some sponsor name dropping: