Racing in Belgium

Over the half term we planned a holiday to Northern France and, as I’ve heard a lot about racing in Belgium, I managed to persuade my parents to make a trip over the border and have a go!

There really was a huge choice of races to choose from-8 junior-only races over the weekend all over the small country!
Conveniently, there was one in Rekkem on the 4th June right on the French border.

The Belgian way of signing on to a race is incredibly easy and fast, on your first race you have to pay an extra 5€ to get a card which they scan into a computer to enter you in the race. After that you can just turn up to any race, pay 3.20€ (I think), scan your card and off you go! No pre-entry, no limited fields and very cheap! It was a baking hot day- 32 degrees according to the car, so I raced in one layer only to try and keep cool. We seemed to have some sort of rolling road closure so there was no neutralized section at the start and it went off incredibly fast from the gun. This came as a bit of a shock to the system! I started nearish to the front and managed to maintained that position for the first lap. I was hurting a bit from the fast pace but, judging from everyone’s faces, I wasn’t the only one!

However, I noticed that my rear derailleur was making a clicking noise if I went on to my two bigger sprockets. Also, if I tried to accelerate my chain would slip causing my legs to fall fast on the pedals and me to wobble slightly! With this happening I could not accelerate to keep up with the vast amount of attacks coming in, especially out of corners just after the pace slowed a bit. I found myself gradually sliding down the bunch and eventually, after about 4 laps (out of 14) the bunch was out of reach.

It was a shame for this to happen but I still had a good time and will hopefully go back again sometime with knowledge of how the race will start-very fast!

If anyone is curious about cycling in Belgium (Flanders, the Northern part, to be specific) visit this website:

http://new.wiebovlaanderen.be/COMPETITI … Competitie

You should find everything you need to know about racing, touring etc.

Thanks for reading!

Max

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