What do you do before a major race; the answer in Belgium is to go to the course at some point in two weeks prior to the race and give it a try. That’s exactly what I did yesterday with the European Championships course. When you come from the UK, its normal that a course is put up on the morning of the event. I’ve even heard a very funny story from a race organiser that they put the course up the night before, and paid the local ‘hard nuts’ to guard if them. This isn’t the organiser fault; it’s just the way it is. Most courses would be destroyed if they were left up over night.
This luxury of being able to check out courses in advance is another advantage of being out here in Belgium full time. It allows you to work out what equipment to take, and what you need to do in training to get the best out of an event.
The course for this race is pretty good. Lots of twists and turns over mounds of earth, a bit like one section of Eastway that I can remember. Its going to be super fast if the weather stays like this, but with rain due on Saturday and Sunday, I’m sure it won’t take long for it to get really different. The course also wraps itself around both a large party tent and the VIP tent as you can see in the attached pictures.
The form has been good recently; lots of podium results and the feelings on the bike are great. Fingers crossed that can continue this weekend. There will be more of the big hitters there so I need to keep pushing myself to reach higher heights and try to add another podium to the list for Kona/FSA in Europe.
I’ve been working on getting the best out of every area I can, like my work with Sleep Athlete which has stopped me snoring and helped me to understand my sleep needs and recovery. To add to the recovery, I’ve been working with For Goodness Shake and now religiously use their shakes after training and racing. Combined with this I use My Bike Food products, and the combination work perfectly for me. I know I still have loads of areas of improvement, but I think 1 by 1, I’m working these areas out and its getting better and better.
Anything else I do before race, well mainly I try not to think about it too much. I know I do well, and the hard work is done. Cyclo-Cross can throw some funny things at you, and its best not to think about them too much.
I’m off out now on my bike for a long steady ride with Ian Field. He’s proved to be a great training partner this winter so far and I think we help to inspire and push each other to new levels, even if we are a bit over competitive sometimes.
Until next time.
photos Janos Schmidt