Blog: Llewellyn Kinch Living & Racing in Belgium

Full time cyclist for Terra Footwear – Bicycle Line, this is Llewellyn Kinch’s blog about making it on the Continent

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We’re well into the racing season now and with my knee having sorted itself, I’m now two races in; or rather, one and a half. The first race was in heavy rain with snow at the side of the road and the car thermometer showing 3°C. Doug Dewey had ridden there with the aim of racing and then riding back. He got changed and straight into the car to go home. Josh Hunt and I started the race but at laps two and six of eleven, respectively, we climbed off to the welcome sight of Andrew, the Directeur Sportif, who had kindly driven back again to collect us.

It was the coldest I have ever been. Only 15 of the 100 starters finished the race. As soon as I finished, I stripped to my shorts and slowly rotated for a good ten minutes in front of a huge ‘jet’ heater they had, just like a doner kebab.

Race 2…
For race 2 last weekend, I rode Omloop van het Waasland in completely opposite weather to the above. We shot round the 191km in just under four and a half hours in bright sunshine and 15°C. Ideal. I’d intended to just sit in as a bunch sprint was expected, however, 10km in I found myself accidentally off the front. This happened a few times. I made it into the front group when Accent-Willems split the race in the cross-winds but then unfortunately, I punctured. I got a wheel change in time to jump on the back of a chasing group and we rode hard until we caught the front again. A hold-up at 800m to go put paid to a good finish in the sprint but my legs felt good and the winter’s training seems to have worked, which was the main result I was after.

Outside of racing, life has been just crazy. I went out with Josh, Josh and Doug the other night where we had three beers and a portion of chips each and were in bed by midnight. Oh and they serve beer in half pints here. However, we plan to do some (very good) dancing this Wednesday for Doug Dewey’s Birthday, so the next article might have something interesting from that!

In an effort to learn French as well as Flemish, I’ve been talking to my sister on skype in French, or rather, she’s been talking at me in between me saying ‘Je ne comprends pas’. I tend to have headphones in while I do this so last time I didn’t realise until too late that the lads had decided my sister would like to see their ‘moon’ dance in the background.

Essentials for a weekends racing
Aside from bringing some descent form and a willingness to give your body a couple of days of hell there are a couple of useful things to make sure you have. Permission to race abroad – You can race on a full BC licence but need a letter of authority from BC; just give membership a ring and ask them to email you one. (01612 742010)

Cable ties – The races here often have bike numbers so unless you have a specific holder then cable ties are ideal.

Good directions to race start and sign on – races are often in a village down some narrow road and the sign on is the local bar so make sure you know exactly how to get there.

Pic 1: A nice Cafe I stopped at on a training ride with Josh Hunt and….

Pic 2: The ‘road’ he took us up to get there.

 

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes


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