Thursday, June 29, 2006

Brugge Trip

Today Brandon McKeever, Zach Hockett, and I decided to go to Brugge, a big city about 40k from Izegem. It is the town where “de Ronde” starts. We left the house around 9:20 to catch a ten o’clock train. We arrived to Brugge about 10:30 and had no clue where to go. We just followed a town that said “centrum” or downtown. When we got to the downtown area we just walked down lots of alleys and got a lot of pictures of the cool architecture. We also went in a bunch of the small shops. There was a chocolate store that had some very interestingly shaped chocolate figures. We eventually found the downtown, the place where “de Ronde” starts. I got some pics of that area. Then we went down an alley and had a Belgian waffle. I got one with whipped cream and ice cream. The weird thing was the waffle was cold, so I don’t think it was an authentic Belgian waffle. The “real” waffles are cooked fresh and are served warm. Then we went down a bunch of other alleys that ended up leading us to the downtown. There was this huge clock tower in the downtown and we decided to walk up it. All 366 stairs. There weren’t your normal stairs either. They wound their way up very tightly up to the top. They were also very narrow. And the closer we go to the top, the more narrow and steep the steps became. We could literally use the steps above us as a handrail. When we got up to the top of the bell tower it was about five minutes to one. We decided to wait until one to hear the bells go off. This tower was very interesting because it wasn’t just one bell. It was many bells of different sizes and many strings to pull the bells to make a noise. Then one o’clock came around and I was treated to a one or two minute musical with the bells. It was pretty sweet, and very painful to my sensitive ears. After “the show” we decided to trek back down the stairs and eat lunch. We decided to go to an Italian place. I had tortellini with some meat sauce. It was a lot better than the pasta I have here most days. After we ate, we did some more walking around shops for about an hour or two, and Zach and I headed back to Izegem. Brandon stayed in Brugge a while longer to find a gift for his girlfriend. That was about it for a day with a bunch of walking. I am happy I went to see Brugge because I would have regretted going all the way to Europe and not seeing one big city. I will post some pics tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Today Brandon McKeever, John Murphy, three Cyclingcenter riders, and I took part in a UCI 1.2 race called IWT. It was 175k with a bunch of climbs. Some of the climbs were cobbled and some weren’t. There were also a few cobblestone sections. We did a big 112k loop. Then there were 4 x 15k finishing circuits with two climbs and two cobbled sections. Some big teams that were there were Beveren 2000 (Quicksteps devo team), Davo (Unibet’s devo team), and FIDEA. I was sick with an upper respiratory tract infection a week and a half before the race, and until about three days before it I could start riding, so I wasn’t very sure how I was going. The race started with some attacks, and a split of about ten riders went off. The first climb was about twenty k in. It was pretty easy until then. No other splits happened on the first climb because it was only 300 meters long. Stuff didn’t really start happening until the Bosberg (a 1k cobbled climb about70 k into the race). This climb was easier than I expected it would be. After the Bosberg I tried to stay near John Murphy since he has a lot of experience. The next point of significance was the Muur Van Geraardsbergen, a two k cobbled climb with some pitches of over 20%. I started the climb in about fortieth place about ten or fifteen riders behind John Murphy. All the way to the top people were passing me. It was really a tough climb. John ended up making a split of about ten riders over the top. I think a lot of people passed me up the Muur because I haven’t been riding consistently from being sick. After the Muur I was in a group behind another split. It didn’t appear that my group would catch the next group, so I bridged the gap on my own. About ten k later I got a flat, and there were no neutral cars behind me, so I had no choice but drop out. Less than a k later Brandon also got a flat and had the same fate as me. The group I was in ended up being the peloton, which was pulled after one finishing circuit. A group got off the front of that and ended up finishing the race. I think if I didn’t get a flat I could have made that group. John finished about 30th I think. He was off the front of the third group on the road. It was a little annoying that I got a flat, but I look forward to my next and last race here this Sunday called Willebroek. It is also a UCI 1.2. Hopefully the 100k I did in the race helped boost my form enough to have a good race.