Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Final Push

Three days to go and two big races left. The trip so far has been great, we have both gotten great results and have been racing our bodies into the ground. This trip is seriously like a cyclocross stage race, 7 races in two weeks is nothing to laugh at especially when your racing the worlds best compition. I'v been trying my best to recover on our off days but I can definitely feel the fautige building up after every race, but now is the time to put it all on the table and go out with a bang whether the legs hold up or not over, the next two races will be interesting to see, but if I can stay at the level I'm racing at currently I'll be very happy.
Tomorrow, the race is in Baal the home town of Sven Nys. This race is appropriately named the Gran Prix of Sven Nys; and I get to race him at HIS race as I'm doing the elite race, so its going to be sweet lining up BEHIND the greats of the sport. They have all been racing just as much as we have so hopefully they won't be firing on all cylinders. After that race we will end it with Sint Niklaas a local race which usually pulls in plenty of fast guys so it should be a blast.

I'll let you guys now how 2009 feels since were 9 hours ahead!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Cows

So I found out the yesterday that there are also happy cows here in Belgium. It was originally thought that those were only in Cali, but nope. The cows are in fact he as well. I just thought it was a funny picture.

Racing on Ice

Today was the Louenhout cross race, part of the GVA series, so the fields sizes were huge and the spectator turnout was just as big. My race was at 12:00 after the juniors and there was a 110 riders in the field with myself in the back row. Slowly worked my way up as Noel put it, "like a Diesel" slowly picking guys off, overall most of us had a good ride here in the icy conditions, almost every turn had to be taken with caution as some were just covered in ice sheets. This race also had the sweet woop-de-dos which the Amaricans seemed to accel at. Once my race was over I got my jacket from Els and saw the seas of people part as Nys road through on his way to a practice lap so I jumped on his wheel for a lap just so I could say I road with Sven Nys. Ya


Monday, December 29, 2008


Today was just a recovery day for us, so Jeremy and I along with a few other guys from the house went out to ride some more of the trails in the area. We some cool trails and got some great pics. Tomorrow we race in Loenhout, that is known for the "washboard" on the course which is a series of whoops that everyone has to "pump" their bikes to get over. Should be fun.

Belgian Trainer

This is how the Belgians warm up before their races. They find a nice patch of ice, and have someone hold them while they get warmed up. Awesome way to get ready for your race.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ice in Diegem

Yesterday's race in Diegem was an awesome race to both watch and race in. It was in this major city center where there was a lot of things going on around the race. We were going by flower shops and clothing places and all different kinds of stores around this little area. A large section of the course was around these two big, really nice soccer fields. Some of the nicest I have ever seen. 

The officials kind of screwed us on the start. They reversed the order in which we were called up to the line. All of the slower guys from our team at the front and the fast guys getting called up last. There was most likely a bit of favoritism going on with the Belgians wanting there own to win. But that was the way it went, and I ended up finishing 29th. Which was much better than where I started. So that was good considering the only place you can go is up, when you start at the back. It is always a positive thing. The course had a handful of cool items that were put in place just for the race.This sloped bridge came off of the finishing straight down towards the lower part of the course. It was difficult because it was all icy. The course was really technical as well because the ground was frozen solid everywhere. It was a really fun course. It is amazing how the courses over here have all been really fun. We have good courses and bad courses at home, but these courses are all good. It is really cool.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nice and COLD

Okay, so how I said earlier "It might be a nice day". Sort of but not really. Jeremy and I went out by ourselves to find some of the trails on the opposite side of the canal and it was so cold, our faces went numb. We started out with 2 thermal layers and extra gloves and we were still cold. Even though it was cold we found some fun trails in the woods near Inglemunster. I really like the name of that town, it just sounds cool. It tuned out to be a nice day, with some sweet riding. 

Maybe a Clear Day?

Today I woke up and it has been about 2 hours and no sign of any clouds and it looks like it might be a great day in Izegem. Today is a rest day for all of us. We are going to be hanging around the house, keeping it easy because we have another big UCI race in Diegem tomorrow. I've heard the course tomorrow has a nice climb, but there the rest of the course is really technical. So it sounds like the course will have good things for both kinds of riders. We'll see how everything goes. Stay tuned for more blog updates.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Riding Into Kortrijk

As I was sitting here, I was thinking that I never wrote about our ride to Kortrijk the day before Zolder. And since I want to fill this blog up. Why not, right? 

So we, being Gavin, Manny, Chris and I decided to head out towards the town of Kortrijk which is a little more than an hour ride from the house. We headed out to the canal because we wanted to get a few openers in before the big day. So on our way up there, we found some cool, things and I wanted to share all the photography. Check them out.
-Kid Kaiser

This was just a cool little church in the center of town.
The four of us are riding down the canal.

Zolder World Cup

Today we had the world cup in Zolder, on the formula one track Circuit-Zolder. We had an early rising of 5 o'clock am, and were off and running by 6 for about a two hour drive from the little town of Izegem. We got there and immediately went out for a pre-ride to see how the course was. Super technical, but really fun. This was definitely the most technically difficult race I have ever seen. But on the flip side of things, he course was truly for the power racer, especially because the start/finish straight was a little more than 500 meters. As well as the rest of the course being really fast and dry with many long straights. 

The start was crazy because there was no officials on the straight. No whistle, no gun? The announcer said to call attention to the lights, and a traffic light started us. It was 2 reds, then yellow and green. It was really similar to formula one. Oh wait, we were on a formula one track, no wonder why. The start was crazy, guys bumping and yelling all over, and then it filed down into this tight 180 degree turn to the pit. And my position was set. Starting towards the back of the field, I really had no where to go but up. I got an okay start ad just kept motoring and moving my way up. I finished 34th. One of the coolest things about the races over here is the amount of elevation gain in the race. There were some crazy downhills, one really steep, really steep uphill. As you were running up it, you were looking right at it. The only way we could get up it, were from all of the footsteps in it. 

All in all, the race was awesome and it was the best race I have ever done. A super good experience. Not too many people can say they have done a World Cup Cyclo-Cross race.

(some pictures of the course are below, and stay tuned for race pics)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunshine in Izegem

I haven't seen the sun since before I left to go 'cross the pond. The Saturday I left we had rain, and in San Francisco, there was rain. And in Newark? SNOW, and since I have been here there has been no sign of it, but as i am writing this, there has been sunshine for about the last hour and it is super nice. It is too cold to go outside but it is really nice to see the sun, almost as if I am back home... or not.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


There is this crazy thing here called Speculoos Pasta. It is similar to peanut butter but way better. When you buy a coffee they give you these little cookies with it and they are Speculoos cookies. So some genius decided to jar the stuff and make it a spread. It sells like crazy over here. It is also similar to Nutella. Either way, the stuff is so good.  The guys in the house are starting to crave it. I haven't seen anyone go through anything this fast. The other day, I bought some of it, and let everyone try it. Somehow the jar broke and less than 30 minutes later, Nick had to run out to the store because it was so good. We don't even know what is in it, but it is gooood.

Merry Christmas Eve

Today is the Eve of Christmas, and I have to say it sucks to be away from family. It is not fun. But other than that we had a "santa" come to dinner tonight. Els got everything all dialed with a turkey dinner and a nice set of appetizers. Then santa showed up, and it was really funny because when he showed up he was smoking a "cig" which I was unaware that santa did. I figured it was strictly milk and cookies. We had some laughs. Prior to that we went to the Flanders Museum, as Jeremy said. It was really funny because this one kid who we call "Kentucky" (Andrew Llewelyn) choked out Tom Bonnen today at the museum. I think he has something against dopers. You just look at the picture and it makes you laugh. Check it out.
Then we found this cool machine where it simulated riding on the cobbles, and Jeremy had to take it for a spin. He was charging. other than that it was pretty plain. We are all just gearing up for the World Cup on Friday. We got out USA skinsuits today, and we are stoked.

It was a good day to get out and have some fun. 
So for now "Good night to all, and too all a good night!" 
See you tomorrow
Merry Christmas

Koppenberg & Santa

Hi all, 
Hope everything is well state side and the holidays are going well. Here in Belgium the days are short and the temp is dropping, soon to be Kansas like weather on Friday just in time for the world Cup in Zolder which is looking to be a crazy fast course this year with a lack of rain in the past few weeks and lots of road sections its probable gonna look more like a crit out there the a cross race.
Today we went to the Tour de Flanders Museum with the Belgian "burgs" in the background. We also got to walk up the Koppenberg which was a great experience, and was cool to see that great piece of cycling history. The museum was also fun to see, it had a lot of old cycling goodies, including some pre WWI race bikes. And lots of old school jerseys 
Tonight we had a big christmas eve dinner made by Els, for those that don't know about camp there is 20 riders here and Els cooks every night for all of us its pretty amazing how she is able to wipe up all this food every night, but this one was special with some seasonal touches thrown in. Santa also showed up in the form of Mario the photographer, it was quiet the site.
Marry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today was a great day for exploring around Izegem. In the morning, Geoff took us on one of his favorite rides, out through this super cool forest, on the outskirts of town. When we came back, Jeremy and I hit up the local skate park scene, and went back to the jumps with some real bikes. Then we just went around the town, and found some really cool things. Most of them are random, but cool. Check out the pictures.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cruzin' in Izegem

A few of the guys and I decided to go out for a little cruiser ride, and came across a little pump track/dirt jump area. We are all riding bikes that are from way before us and these things are the hooptiest things ever. We were all in a single file, and on the berm, my rear tide rolled off the rim, and now I am stranded. So I jumped on the back of nick's bike sitting on his rack. I had to carry my fifty pound bike on my shoulder, and about a ten minute ride back to the house. No fun but definitely some good times. (check out the video)

On another note, the races yesterday went awesome for the entire team. Chris was the best placed guy in the juniors race at 4th. Eric and I finished right next to each other at 6th and 8th, and Joe finished 9th, and Manny finishing 12th. Pretty respective for the first race of the trip. 

We don't have another race until Friday at the World Cup in Zolder. So we have some time to explore around the town.

Cyclingnews Diary

Check it out


The Wall

Eric Emsky and I strolling on down to the wall. The wall is a huge vending machine that sell everything that you can think of.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We are here in Belgium after a long flight, and being on ground-hold for almost 4 hours in Newark, NJ. Today went well, we landed around 12:00 and immediately got our bags and were on our way to Izegem. Once we got to the house we built the bikes and went out to watch Nick Weighall race a local saturday evening race. The style of racing over here is so different. The course today was an open field. The first corner, went through this small barn and inside the place was hopping. People we going crazy. You just don't see that in the States. Anyway, we race tomorrow in Gent. Jeremy and I are both racing.
We'll see how tomorrow goes.