zondag 22 oktober 2017

SEASON 2017 IS A WRAP

All great stories come to an end... So did our race season 2017 😏

It was an absolute fantastic season, maybe even the best we've  had until now...

We entered Epic Races ... World Championship, Alps Epic, Sudety Bike Challenge, Roc D'Azur, ...
Raced with friends we made during the previous years and met some great new biker friends.



The last two weeks we had some time off the bike, like every year it's time to fulfill our duty list; annual lifesaving course update, meetings with our partners, getting our race calendar for 2018 on point, having fun rides on our cyclocross bikes and eating & resting 😴 







Mister Wheely

Mister Mister


Mister & Mistress???



Serving mussels @snowvalley for our Snowboardteam

vrijdag 13 oktober 2017

ROC D'AZUR


It's hard to imagine but there has been a time Peter and I weren't only mountainbiking. When I returned from Australia more than a decade ago our first holiday together was in Fréjus. Peter took me out for bike rides in the area and didn't stop talking about a great event the Roc D'Azur. He would love to ever be part of it and most of all to do this together.

Sara's biotope

Peter's biotope



For me not as easy as it sounds, because first of all at that time my biking skills were below zero and secondly, working as a teacher it is not so easy to take some time off outside the school holidays. 

But you only live once so you always have to try to live your dreams. First things first, improving my MTB skills. After about 10 years of riding and 6 years intensive training programs I dare to say that I got better at it.

Looking into the future?

Our 'holiday' planning
For the first time in ten years I finally have only 1 school I teach. The school direction are sport minded and understand my mountain bike obsession. So they allowed my participation.

Thanks to our sponsor Canyon we got accredited in first waves at the start, so the hell at the start from last year (Peter went there without me) was not an option. I also got low starting numbers with which I could start in the front of the pack.



At the Roc d'Azur you can participate in lots of races during 4 days. The 'real guys' ride the Roc Trophy, which implicates one race a day.
We would be riding Three distances. The first was the 'inride', only 23 km, but with same start and finish as the marathon we would be starting in the next day. So for a good recon this could count. An easy ride with photo stops, and checking out the feedzones resulted in a podium...

Unexpected podium.
As said, the second day was marathon time. 86km with 2300 altimeters on the best trails the region has to offer. Steep up- and downhills, lots of rocky sections and no time to rest due to the following up of long hard pedaling sections.
Due to the very good weather conditions, the region was so dried out, it was more like a ROC d'UST. 😃


Typically at this race is the very fast start where everyone's trying to get in the singletrail section in front and get a good place for the uphill section at around 5k's. If you don't ride like hell you get absorbed by another 500 riders (and this is the amount of riders per wave) coming from behind.
Mass start?
In the first part of the race, I felt quite well, but bit by bit I felt the power draining away.  I had to let go a lot of girls, and so I made the wise decision to switch from race mode to Sunday bike-ride mode.
At the 5th feed-zone I met Peter again. He started behind in the pack and he was not having his best day eighter. So the 'bikeride' continued as a mixed team again.
We almost fell over the finishline after 6hrs and 35'. Not totally exhausted, but let us say: "medium done".

Cute or not?
Romantic dinner between team mates. Or is it lovers once off the  bike?


Trying out Polynesian food
On Saturday we planned a day off. We went to the beach, chilled, and prepared our bikes for the last race on Sunday.

Chill girl

Beach girl



'The ROC d'AZUR' himself was on the menu. 41km for me and 56km for Peter.
The girls race  started before all the other races early at 8 o'clock. A great sight it was to be on the front row with hundreds of girls behind and next to me...
Peter would be starting at 0930hrs.

I like an early start...

Or not? 
This race went a lot better then the one on Friday. I managed to start fast with the pros, and at the first climb, I found in Sara Van Peer a partner in crime to ride strong together. Sara being a bit faster uphill, and I throwing myself a bit more in the downhill. This was a good match. I know Sara from other races in Belgium. We get along quite well.
At the end I managed to slip away, during a close battle and sprint with a younger french girl.
Satisfied with my race I immediately realised this was my last race of the season.
And I was so glad I could race it here, the place I came to with Peter 10 years ago.

St Aygulf
A full season report will be posted ASAP.

Back to Fréjus where the hardest thing was yet to come. We would be heading back to Belgium as soon as Peter got back from his race. (which he did rather well despite the loads of riders who got in the first wave by crawling over the fences, and which made it a very chaotic start). His short version of the race: "Good legs, Nice tracks, Now Holiday... 😎

Nice trail you said?

1200km to go and hoping we got back in time before opening of  the gates at my school.

Bike couple of the year.

All Belgium girls
only Alice is missing she was prepping for the podium as she finished on the podium
Well we did not take any risks, and arrived at home at 3 o'clock AM.
A little powernap for me and off to work.
Peter had taken another day off, so he could sleep longer. 😒 Pussy... 😆


But The ROC d'Azur is most of all meeting nice people with same passions and lifestyles, super relaxed atmosphere between riders.
Discovering new races, regions and meeting most of our partners at the fair.








Can't wait till next one...

Note from Peter:  I can only agree with all the above. And those were the best four days of my season, with my bikegirl in fréjus.

Yeaaahhhh...

We'll be back.


S&P




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 😉

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
Podium
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 💪

Thanks to all our partners for supporting us all the way. And special thanks to Peter 💗 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