What's Cool In Road Cycling

Homeboy in Belgium: Doing Stupid Things

– by Gregg Germer

I’m not much in a writing mood as it’s not been a very exiting week over here in Belgium and I hate to recite (and even more so put on paper) the stupid things I’ve done. When I started writing these weekly diaries I said I would write about the good and the bad, well this is more about the stupid.

This weekend I raced in Hotton, in the southern French speaking part of Belgium, which also means there will be some very hard climbs. The race was about 160 kilometers long with 8 or so notable‚ climbs of 1 to 3 kilometers.

I start the race with my legs a little stiff from a hard ride I did on two days before. I was the backup rider for Paris-Roubaix (Espoirs edition) so I figured I should go out and ride some hard cobbled sections just to get my body use to the pain of riding pave encase I was needed to race. Once the first climb of the day came I was in a world of hurt, but as the pace settled down I found my legs and I was doing fine.

So here I am having the best race ever in Europe. I am flying up the hills and recovering on the downhill. Everything is great! I even had the energy to go back to the car to get feeds for the team. So I guess it’s fitting when I’m doing so well I get smacked with a little humility to bring me back to the reality of my normality.

The hardest climb of the day comes and I make the main field of 20 guys with only another 20 or so ahead of me in small groups. I think to myself, “Hell yea, I’m going so well, just sit in and conserve for the next climb then lay it all on the line.” So as we are descending and I pause for a second to glance back to see if my teammate RJ is behind me. In that two-second lapse of thinking I screwed up three hours of hard work. Next thing I know I found myself in the ditch and my front wheel is broken.

I will have to rank that as about number three or four of the Stupidest Things I’ve ever done on a bike. On the other hand I will rank it in the top ten of Best Saves‚ as I came out of a 50 kph crash with only a few small scrapes and protected my collarbone.

On another note, the weather here has been nice with temperatures in the 70’s and bright sunny skies. The people of Belgium really come out when it’s nice as the beach was packed with people on Sunday. I guess if you live in such cold and rainy weather you appreciate the nice weather much more.

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