We were late getting there due to an accident on the highway, so I had little time to acquaint myself with the course and surroundings or to do a proper warm-up. I was pretty nervous and sort of "deer in the headlights" at the start, and I was not aggressive at all in the first few turns. Many girls passed me who were not as strong as me, and they opened litle gaps I had to close. But I rode okay after the first nervous lap, and picked off several in front of me. I got better at the sand each lap, and just had lots of fun on the course. Mark, the guy in the pit for me, had to yell at me to stop smiling and start racing! :) It was a good leg-opener and good to get my feet wet and get some nerves out about my first race over here. I did not race aggressively and still ended up 16th, so I know I will be fine. Tomorrow I will be more aggressive in the start and first lap. Did I mention how cold it was??? -4. And snowing! Frozen legs didn't help. Another thing I will help fix with a better warm-up. I had a great experience today, bottom line.
So let me tell you about my very first experience today at my first race here in Belgium: I got to registration, and Shaun and I waited in line. My name was not on the start list, and I was a little nervous about trying to talk to the men working registration, since they did not seem to know much English. Who walks in and gets in line right behind me? Bart Wellens.
What would you say to Bart Wellens if he was standing right behind you in line? Yeah, I couldn't think of anything, either. I wished I had my "Bart Wellens Kickboxing Academy" t-shirt on. I will be wearing it tomorrow in case I get the chance again! Although I couldn't understand a word he was saying to his buddies in Flemish, I could definitely tell he was not happy about being stuck behind us in line. Eventually, one of the registration workers took him ahead of me, and I didn't even get the chance to tell the registration worker that my last name was Wellons while Bart was clearly in earshot. I wonder if he would have raised an eyebrow.
Did anyone read that column at the back page of the most recent issue of VeloNews, about the guys who met Vervecken in the locker room at Southampton?
Another thought to share: it was odd to be racing without being able to understand the race announcer or what the spectators were yelling. All I could hear was the announcer's voice pipped through the many sets speakers all over the course "blah blah blah blah blah Hanka Kupernagel blah blah blah Daphny van den Brand blah blah blah Helen Wyman blah blah..."
My race shots aren't that great, but here are some:
A good way to cross the course and to view with a bird's eye view.
A REAL flyover! This was taken after the men's race. See the podium on the big screeen tv?
Sorry I don't have any pics of me! Jos took some, I'm working on getting them. Will post soon.
Gotta get to bed now. Tired! Racing in Huijbergen, Holland tomorrow!