Llewellyn Kinch Belgian Blog: Making it on the Continent

You only live once and when young, why not live the dream and go to a place where bike racing is king — Belgium say. That’s what Llewellyn Kinch has done racing full time for Terra Footwear – Bicycle Line in 2012

Llewellyn Kinch writes … Throughout the 2012 season, I’ll be writing an article on here every week or two. I’ll cover racing, training and the general anecdotal banter that comes from living in a house with six other young lads, as well as providing information, hints and tips on different aspects of coming to race in Belgium.

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So the season has begun and I’m in Belgium to begin the 2012 racing season, riding for Terra Footwear – Bicycle Line. My Mum brought me over a couple of days ago, although I had to drive once we got off the ferry as somehow, in over half a century, she’s managed not to drive on the right hand side of the road so didn’t really fancy doing it in strong winds at night.

On arrival, I got a load of abuse from Andrew, the Directeur Sportif, as I had much more luggage than everyone else(maybe the popcorn maker wasn’t entirely necessary). I’ll be staying in a team house with four other British riders and two Australians for the next seven months, although, in true Belgian style, it isn’t quite finished yet so I’m staying with three other riders at the Directeur Sportif’s house. I’m currently sharing a double bed with [English rider? Australian? Second name?] Josh …, something you just have to get used to as a cyclist!

Spent last night messing about with the new team bike, a BH RC1, which was very nice to ride having spent all winter on a bike over ten years old. I was meant to be racing it this weekend but as I’ve managed to get tendonitis in my knee, it’s going to be steady rides and icing it for a few more days and I’ll be handing some bottles out instead. Hopefully it’ll be sorted in time to get to a Kermesse before Omloop Van Het Waasland on the 11th March. I’ll let you know how that goes in the next article.

Getting to the Heartland:
Travelling to Belgium is really very easy, whether you get a ferry or the tunnel. The Ferry is usually cheaper than the tunnel (I got a £25 return), although it is worth checking both. If you’re catching the ferry, it’s almost always quicker to go across from Dover to either Calais (1.5hr) or Dunkirk (2hr), and it’s then rarely more than a 2hr drive the other side. The ferries from other British ports, such as Hull-Zeebrugge at over 13 hours tend to take far longer..

If you’re travelling over without a car, then the Eurostar is certainly quickest as it gets you from central London to Brussels or Lille in around 2 hours. However, getting to the station on the tube, at rush hour, with a bike bag and a load of kit, is not much fun.

In the next article I’ll let you know how the first races go and provide some tips on what to bring if you’re heading over for a weekend of smashing it on the narrow, windy, Belgian roads. Find out when it’s put online and get updates in the meantime by following me on twitter (@LlewellynKinch).

UK Ferry Routes: http://www.directferries.co.uk/routes.htm


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