Over the early months of 2019, we, as team Spiderking Soenens have been going to team training camps in both Belgium and Netherlands to get some race pace in the legs before the much awaited classics which come in just a few weeks’ time. There have been 3 team weekends: Waregem, Geraardsbergen and Assen. Unfortunately, but understandably, I could not go to the training camp in Assen due to the vast travelling distance, and not to mention the time required out of school to ensure I travel from Great Britain to Assen, Netherlands. We made a collective decision to forego the training weekend deciding that it would be more beneficial for me to train at home.
So … Waregem, the first of the team training camps, taking place over the single weekend. I was buzzing for this. It was the first proper outing as a full team in full team clothes and equipment, and to my amazement it was not raining in Belgium, rather it was quite the opposite. It turned out to be rather sunny and nice weather. However, there was a twist. Why does there always have to be a twist? It was f…lipping freezing. Nearly 50C below freezing. But I wasn’t complaining, I had in my mind that the weather could be similar to that of Guido Reybrouck last March (2018) where the chill factor was -100C. This was caused by the horridly biting weather brought over by the “Beast-from-the-East,” from Siberia. Unfortunately the ride was of a rather easy affair, so there was very little warming up to be had. But we got through it, all the warming effects came on the climbs where, as a big guy I had to push some big numbers. For those of you who don’t know, Belgium is known for its short punchy climbs called “bergs,” all you have to do is imagine small ice berg and size it up a little to around 500 m in length. Belgium is not known for its lengthy climbs like those in the South of France, in the Pyrenees, so bigger lads like myself are better suited to these types of climbs than many may think, when they first see these insanely steep monsters.
The second day was a very different affair to that of the first day, with a little less climbing on offer but a harder pace on the cobblestone stretches and bergs that we had briefly encountered on the first day. The 2nd day was arguably more important than the first, with the reconnaissance of both the E3 BinckBank race and Nokere Koerse. At first this might seem like there was a lot to process, but many of these “classics” (at least that is what they call the adult World Tour races), cover the same area and same climbs as the other races so really you are “reconning” more than one race.
As I am writing this, the Geraardsbergen Training Camp has just passed and during it my team had organised a recce (reconnaissance) of the Tour of Flanders course. Unfortunately I only managed to partake in a small proportion of this ride. As some of you may have seen, my strava has been very quiet of late. That is due to the fact I have had a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, which has affected me when riding for long periods of time. I am on the mend, and hopefully I will be able to ride the races I want to race with full intent and purpose.
This leads nicely onto discussing what races I may be participating in this year. Many of them are UCI junior races, which is the reason why I joined this team. Also because of the fact they are all located in Belgium France or Spain. The team even has a race planed in Britain … the CiCle Classic. I have not got my full race calendar yet, but I think they are going to be some bangers in the selection. In a few weeks, I am heading to Spain for a much needed training week in some nice warm weather (200C last time I checked! Fingers crossed I don’t jinx it). There will be a lengthy blog coming out shortly after that week.
Thanks to Pedal Potential for the support this year, it will come in handy later down the line, when racing actually starts. I would also like to thank Spiderking Soenens for their support through these frustrating times, and believing in my ability which is continually being enhanced by trainSharp’s fantastic coaching.
Over ‘n’ Out
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