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My journal of cyclocross
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Frites, Fan Cards and Fear

By  CJ Boom     12:39     

Credit: Cyclephotos.co.uk
A mystical land of grey skies and mud, wind and rain  lies just across the channel, its a place that earned the reputation as the heart land of cross. General gossiping about this place brings up whispers of how incredibly hard it must be, the courses are totally different from the UK and the people who race on them are warriors.

I'd hear stories like 'See her, yeh, she's been racing in Belgian' there would a sharp intake of breath and we'd all know to what out for her in the following 60 minutes.

I've always wanted to race there. Seems like just an achievement to make it there. For two seasons I've said it but just never had the spare weekend to do it.
Then when the the days seemed to align and ViCiOUS team can help in the pit, Delia and I choose the one race that it literally the hardest most technical course in the calendar. It would probably be ok if that course was in Britain, but there were loads of other obstacles to overcome ontop of the technical course. Like we don't know what we are doing (how sign on works, pits, toilets, getting changed, timings), can't speak a word of flemmish and are racing against the foreign.
There is also the fact that as soon as people found out I was riding it, they mentioned the hill "oh its got a massive hill on it, big cobbled climb." So before you start there is apprehension.

Credit: Gerard 'Ned' Brown

In the end the foreigns weren't the problem the British invaded and took the top two spots on the podium.Good work Harris and Wyman
What a massive learning curve for me, Delia and the VV pit crew. 

1. Don't watch Skyfall until midnight at the IMAX when you have to get up the next day at 4am
2. Ride the course before. We went into that race only knowing the first turn was going to be left.
It isn't our fault the channel tunnel got delayed. We also ran the wrong pressures. We should have been on 1.5 bar not 2.5 bar so we went flying and skidding all over the place.
3. That cobbled climb is the easiest part of it. Its just cobbled and straight up, pretty easy to ride just ride forward and put the power down. Sven Nys makes the Koppenberg look flat. It is not. There is a second climb past a little house and onto mud. That was the longest section of running I've ever ever done and it burnt and spit dribbled out my mouth.
4. The Belgian's liked our kit, they didn't really understand it as it has no sponsors but they liked that is was bright.
5. No one likes disc brakes, they scowled at me. Its not pure, CX is about skill and the thrill of seeing riders with the skill. It was very very clear that we were the commodity for those 18,000 screaming Belgiums to enjoy. Disc brakes help you stop, help you control your bike and mean you don't go in the pit as much, well that means less crashes, less changes in the lead, less edge of the seat action.
I'm pretty sure ol' Nys paused as he exited the pits on 3 to go to let Niels Albert recover and get  back to him so it would look like more of a head to head race. That made everyone scream with delight
6. The course isn't just off camber it has all these ridges that the trackers have made. That took some concentration and then after three laps it was all over for me. I was lapped at the bottom of the descent and my race was over and I was just getting to love the course for the fact it was so hard that riding more of the descent gave me little moments of relief.
7. I fell on my head once, the crowd liked that.
8. I'd like to go back but knowing what I know now, I can do it better. Much better than 26th
9. Delia's got the climbing legs I don't and she finished 18th.
10. I had some Frites with curry sauce and I really really liked it
11. Delia pulled on a port-a-loo door because we both really needed a wee and it upset the person inside, we were just checking it was/wasn't locked.
12. Thanks to all the people who cheered me on. Brits and Belgium including Gerard Brown's children, they were certainly the loudest.
13. It not really possible to describe that race, but I think people should go to it, even just to watch it. It is amazing to see elite riders go that fast.
14. They gave me a raw meat sandwich, I don't know what that is about!
15. Belgium commentator could not handle Delia's name. She got all sorts of De-li-ah, Derler, Dee Dee

Credit: Cyclephotos.co.uk
Waiting to be gridded. Credit: Cyclephotos.co.uk

Warming up. Credit: Matt Hinselwood

Signing on (they were confused, as we didn't show up in our outfits)

Free packed lunch fromthe organisers. Raw pork...

There are some more photos from Balint Humvas from Cyclephotos.co.uk here


About CJ Boom



  1. OMG what's with the raw meat?

    Great blog Claire, sounds like a blast an a huge adventure that most of us will only dream about. God for you and Delia making it happen. Awesome pictures too, especially the one of you at the top of the climb.

    So what does raw pork taste like?

  2. Gotta admit, I am most curious about the raw pork too. I didn't even think you could eat raw pork, and this from a man who is fond of sushi and steak tartare.