Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004

March 25, 2004: Not mentioning any names...

Kemzeke (1.5), Nokere Koerse (1.3) & GP Rudy Dhaenens (1.3)

By Cody Stevenson

Last time I wrote, I was getting ready for three big races: Kemzeke, Nokere and GP Dhaenens. One went according to plan, the other two... well, it's best not to talk about that. I get this recurring nightmare and I have a nervous twitch when someone mentions Kemzeke, GP Dhaenens and Geert Omloop in the same sentence.

The two previously mentioned races, (best not to repeat the names), were extremely windy and selective days. My bunch position and my Honda Civic engine didn't come up to scratch, on the bright side, both can be fine tuned and improved on!

Nokere. What a glorious day that turned out to be! 20 degrees, a slight wind and only one 400m cobbled climb... which we did 10 times! I managed to finish that one, as did most of the team. It was a good fast, hard day. We covered the 200kms in four hours 25 minutes, a shade over 44kph average.

The race starts in the old market in Oudenaarde, with a spectacular old church as the dressing rooms and the big square for all the team cars and the sign on. There are not in too many sports were the public can just walk up to a team and seek out the autograph or a photo of their favourite rider. I can't see a lot of people getting close to Beckham an hour before his match!

The finish circuit is a nice 15km lap, with two climbs, the one to Kruishoutem, and the cobbled Nokere berg. The roads are quite large and the wind was at our backs up the long climb to Kruishoutem. The peloton split many times during the day, but with 10km to go it all came back together for a bunch gallop of about 100 riders; I tried to move up a bit, but blew in doing so. I think I need some more hard training!

So this week I have been putting in the k's as I don't have a race for two weeks. Yesterday, I went with a few guys to Holland for some training around the Valkenburg area, which is were the Amstel Gold race is held. It is also very close to the point were Germany, Holland and Belgium divide... proving that you can be in three places at one time!

The training was nice as we tackled the steep climbs which litter the area. It was a good bunch of guys, always egging each other on, and daring me that I couldn't ride up this climb or that climb in the big ring. I proved them wrong... but oh how my knees now ache!

But enough of that riding stuff, you want to hear about all the good stuff that we get up to in our spare time, right? Well, I'll let you know - I'm about to go do it now - it's called eating and sleeping!

Yes I am boring, and no, I don't do much else, but if I do something exciting I'll let you all know... probably around October!


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