13/1 Alarm clock - church bells rang for a half hour till I rolled out of bed. Figured... rise and shine, if I had any chance of making start time in Schriek. Needed to find the car before the police, and puzzle one bike together in public view in Mechelen town square. Oh, how's about that breakfast they spoke so highly. GET GO'IN SAILOR!!
Well, circled Schriek and remembered a few streets... feelin' kinda' local... pulled into a farm yard next to Gert, Sven, Wim and Francois. Choose to walk over and see if there was still time to race. Everything looked a bit snazzier than 4 years ago, and it was all that much better. Tried to notice who was warming up, when Howie and Ted pulled aside and said " suit up Kramer, we're racing in 30 minutes," OK!
Kitted and reg'ed in 15 and managed half a lap, figured I was not in to much trouble since the three groups were 30s, 40s and 50s...and everyone knows my age. I recognized a couple of faces, but this wasnew age grouping over here, so some of the slower ( I mean faster guys were out of luck). Fortunately, I ate a few fresh Strawberries for breakfast and built my Specialized carbon cross bikefor this one.
The start was easy, I pushed my way to the front while three of us rode away. The pace was not gut wrenching like Nor-Cal, but this is Belgium and it can play out way different on this flat windy track, not much deep mud today. I made a move to get to 2nd wheel, but the varmint did not want to give it and I quickly found out why. Von Oostervijk did not want to challenge Merten, but I wanted to follow for a few laps to settle in nad then attack. The traffic got horrendous and the gaps opened up quickly. This was my undoing as gaps took longer to close as we caught more and more riders from the earlier groups.
And so, the finish ended as it started, Mertens, VonO and Kramer. A podium shot, a trophy and a prize. Cross heaven!
This was a great send off for the up swing to Mol. Not all the key player were in this event, as many race on the other side of Belgy this weekend and else where. Tomorrow will be a more open track with more lanes and I plan on getting a full lap in for warm up!!
Left the camera in my bag a usual.
All the best, Henri