Tuesday, November 5, 2013

'Cross the pond 3; Koppenberg and Zohoven

The legendary Koppenberg... 'Cross race style! For those who don't know, the Koppenberg is a famous Cobblestone climb in the Tour of Flanders that is very steep. Koppenbergcross is a Cyclocross race that goes up part of it and then back down. I pre rode the course a couple of times the week before as it's only 7 kilometers away from the Chainstay. It's not the most technical of courses, however  what it lacks in corners it makes up for in sheer brutality. The start turns off into an extremely muddy feild, then winds through town on roads until it hits the Koppenberg. Half way up the Koppenberg it turns off, then goes downhill. You then turnback up the hill and do a brutal grassy/muddy slog fest back up again. Once at the top, you head down a hill full of switch backs into town and do it all over again.

This time, I had a slightly better starting position. 6th row instead of 9th. My start was also better than usual, by the time we hit the mud I was up in the thirties or twenties. Around the first corner, some one was running and ran into me. His bike got tangled up with mine and by the time I got going again I was back in the sixties. I made my way back up quickly enough, by lap two I was in the thirties. However the course was not technical enough for me to make up a ton of time so I placed 27th.

Zonhoven was two days later, this course was almost as tough as Koppenbergcross, and far more technical. My kind of race. The race was almost entirely sand and a large part of the course dropped into what was basically a sand pit.

My starting position was once again last call up and the start was hard to move up in, but move up I did, slowly but surely. On the second lap I moved into the top thirty. The entire race I could see a big group of riders just a little bit ahead of me, but I was never able to quite catch them. I was in 20th on the last lap, but a bobble cost me a place and I ended up 21st. I was just 36 seconds out of 15th and 1:06 out of the top ten.

Next weekend will be a race in Germany and then back to Belgium for Neil.

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