donderdag 14 september 2017

National Championchip XC Marathon

At the end of last season Peter and I decided to put the Grand Raid Godefroy back on our program for this season. It had been 5 years since our last participation, back then it was organized by a different organisation and the last version was very poor. So the last few years the Eifel Marathon in Daun was on our calendar in stead of this mystical race. The new organisation was much better and so we decided to return to the race where the marathon story started 9 years ago.

After I finished 70K GRG in 2008
The Belgian Championship was not on our program this season because it was planned mid July somewhere at the start of one of our stage races. Like previous years we wouldn't stay home for a day event if there where so many stage race events during summer.
Due to organizational programs the National Championship Marathon in July was cancelled and the only event that was candidate to take over was the GRG at Bouillon. So coincidence or not, my first real National Championship ever would take place at the scenery I had my first marathon experience.

The castle of Godefroy
 As soon as the news spread about the Championship Peter decided not to ride as the distance for the men turned out to be 160K 😲. For the women they chose 70K😞 which in my opinion is a little short compared to the men's race, I would prefer the 90K, but hey I'm not going to cry about it πŸ˜‰

N° 3

my motivation
Saturday it was poring rain, luckily for Sunday the predictions would be better. We arrived in the late afternoon, on time to check in. Get my race number, licence check and briefing and get in bed early.

Sunday morning

6:19 AM Carboloading

6:30 AM back in bed for 30 min chilling

7: 15 AM Getting dressed

7:30 AM warming up on the rollers

8:15 AM lining up for the start

Peter prepped everything for me: Thea, drinking bottles, putting my rollers in place, cleaning my rollers up again, taking some photo's, keeping me calm and coming to the line up to take my jacket.

I was nerves, although you wouldn't tell on my face, I couldn't hide it for Peter. Winning would be nearly impossible, a podium place was definitely a big possibility on paper. I was confident since the last races had been great. But the race still had to be raced and in mountain bike there are a few things that can go horribly wrong.

8:30 AM The start was given.


Peter arranged a 5 min head start for our own safety. Because beside the woman racing for the title there were about 500 men behind us to ride the same distance. The first kilometers were a bit narrow and to make sure we could have a fair race they gave us ahead start. After two K's behind a police motorcyclist we entered the muddy trails of Bouillon. I was in second position right behind the ruling Champion, Alice. My heart rate was going high but the legs felt great. After 4K's we had a little gap with the other girls a specially after muddy fast downhills they couldn't keep up. The first men passed us after 8K and at this time Alice turned up the pace. From this point on I had to keep my own strong pace. I raced by myself while now and then men were passing me. 20K's in the race Sara Van Peer joined me. This made me nervous because I realized she would be a tough client, I made some silly mistakes and this made me chase her twice. After a while she had a little gab that I couldn't close anymore. I had to keep fighting and concentrating because the trails were more technical than the last version of this race. The last 15K another girl passed me, I didn't recognize her and feared I would finished in 4th place.

In the last downhill we had to get off the bike to get over an obstacle and I pulled up my handlebar and hit my teeth. I thought I lost it but couldn't stop! I was still in the race...
I finished in 4th place on the 70K, but the girl that finished 3rd was French so spot 3 of the Championship was mine.

Reaching the finish

After the finish realizing I got my podium spot

Recovery food after a freezing cold shower
Sara - Alice - Sara

You win some

You lose some

In the meanwhile my tooth is fixed 😎
One more race to go Roc d' Azur here we come...
By the way the ladies did an awesome race because we finished in the first 50 scratch from the more than 300 finishers πŸ’ͺ

Thanks to all our partners for supporting us all the way. And special thanks to Peter πŸ’— for getting me to this point with a lot of nice words, some less nice words, kicking my ass when I needed it, prepping my bike, motivate me and some very hard training sessions, it worked. Nine years ago I was just happy finishing this race, now I reached the podium of the National Championship... Hungry for more

maandag 11 september 2017

CX BAL populaire 2017 @ Oud-Heverlee

The last couple of weeks have been busy, but we haven't been riding too much.
First a family visit in Italy followed by Eurobike and the start of a new school year for me with meetings and organisational obligations.
We received an e-mail about a xc mtb fun race, the weather was looking good and it became time to get the heart rate to the limit as we are counting down to the National Championship MTB Marathon.

I entered the race as only woman with a lot of supporting children and some colleagues from school on the side of the track yelling my name. The race would take about an hour, on this short, technical but not too hard loop it meant the winner would ride 11 rounds. Even when you get doubled you could finish the race. We started fast, raced hard and finished even harder. I only got doubled by 4 top riders of which 2 national champs XC.

πŸ“·AR Photography

πŸ“·AR Photography

Fun factor ✔  
Sweating ✔
getting the heart rate to the limit ✔✔

πŸ“·AR Photography
Before you wonder... Peter was there too, but we didn't found any photo's of his spectacular jumps πŸ˜•
He finished before me, apparently he's in shape! πŸ’ͺ

A coffee a day,...

woensdag 6 september 2017

Eurobike 2017

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor eurobike 2017

End of august we have an annual date with our partners from all over the world @ Eurobike Friedrichshafen. This year we received entry cards from Kogel Bearings for the business days. Extra cool because it's less busy and although everyone has a full program with meetings our friends have little more time for us during these day.

The ZEPPELIN hangar

View from the camper

Our first visits to Eurobike were day events, but since last year we take the camper there. So we can take more time to visit everyone and go for a bike ride in this beautiful region.

Lucky with the weatherconditions

Who's happy to be here?

No comment

The Lake

The upside of this event is that you only meet people with the same passion and obsession for everything that has to do with cycling. 
The down side is the 800K drive over there... 😬 But as soon as you enter the show it is bicycle heaven πŸ’“πŸŒˆ

Who said Canyon was not on Eurobike? πŸ˜‹

Endura Booth

Sock Spitting machine
 For us this is a very important show. This is the place we first met the guys from Crankbrothers. The start of a great partnership/friendship. Our friends from the US don't visit Europe very often, but they do come here. Not only our Crankbrothers story started here but also Canyon, Endura, Muc-Off, Absolute Black and now Kogel. 

Tim from Crankbrothers

Bruno from Absolute Black

Ard and Sem from Kogel
Meeting people, seeing them in real life, sharing your passion and having a drink together is so much more valuable than having an online affair. 

We don't see these great brand as our sponsors, but they are our friends, our partners and our cycling soulmates.

Alps EPIC memories


New partners from KOGEL (Ard & Sem)

Also COSMIC Sports was celebrating

Cool stuff from HAD Originals

So far the partnership emo... We also come here to have a sneak peak at the new advanced evolution in the bike community and to see the Bling Bling stuff we can't afford πŸ‘€.

And more Canyon...

New floorpumps from Crankbrothers

SRAM booth. New partner next season?

Clean and neat. As it should be.

Those are mine

Already tested and approved. Schwalbe ADDIX 

New shoes from FIZIK

Next year will be different, because Eurobike will be held from July 8-10th.  
According to our racing program next year this will be difficult for us to attend.

But we'll see.

Once again we got home with a good feeling, and looking forward to another great season with some high quality brands supporting us.

maandag 21 augustus 2017

Chouffe MTB Marathon

It's been ages since we raced @ Achouffe because the last couple of years we were still recovering from a German Stage race (Trans Schwarzwald). This year we planned the season a little differently although La Chouffe Marathon wasn't a goal.
It appeared on the program because we recovered pretty well from last weekend and the predictions for Sunday were sunny weather 🌞

We decided not to participate in the long distance as we are in training mode again towards the national championships in September and the Roc D'azur in October. So 65K' it would be.

Saturday evening we left home with the camper so we didn't have to wake up in the middle of the night to make it to the start in time. Getting up around 7 o'clock, getting the numbers, having breakfast and riding our bike.

10 O'clock the start was given so I went hard, but not to hard, because I wanted a solid racepace. Peter started a little slower, but he usually catches up with me anyway. At the start I passed one girl, so I knew there was one still in front of me. I already learned that racing like a nutcase doesn't end well...

I just tried to ride in little groups with hard riding men. Which isn't as easy as it sounds. Most men can't stand the fact women can ride hard too. So they ride against me by passing me hard and try to get rid of me. Most of the time that doesn't work and I catch them back sooner or later. Some have a more irritating style of racing against me: They pass me and then they slow down 😠, so I take over again and they repeat this a couple of times. Luckily after a while they give up or they start racing with me instead of riding against me.

After 30K's I see the leading lady (that's what I thought at that time but later in the race I appeared to be wrong). She crashed, but it looked ok and she wasn't alone. So I continued my race. Still keeping steady pace, because it is a race after all...
At the last feeding zone 15K's from the finish I spotted another woman leaving the feedzone. Not knowing she was racing the same distance as me I make sure I catch her and ask her which distance she is riding. 65K, so I wasn't leading ... I had to make the last 15K's hard.  I took the lead, maybe not the smartest tactic but it worked. The first climb she was with me, but the following technical descent I went hard and it seemed to be to hard for her. I looked back and there was nobody to be seen.

Because of last weeks situation, I knew what to do. Ride like hell to the finish.
And YESSSS another win!!!

Peter finished immediately behind me

From Peter:  "Sara Michielsens, when I tell you to warm up the first couple of km, I mean warm up the first couple of km. So thank you for letting me chase you during 3hrs... Next time it's my turn. πŸ‘€"