Updated: Jun 3
March was my first time riding one of the Belgium cobbled classics at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne which was a great experience. School were good enough to allow me to move my final A level mock Maths paper so I could travel to the race on the Friday morning.
Going into the race I was coming off the back of a good winters training but having not done any longer road races in advance and with A level mocks taking up a lot of time it was a case of seeing how it would go.
The parcours could be split in to 3 sections, with most of the racing taking place in the Flanders regions of Belgium and only a short detour in to the French speaking region of Wallonia. There was an initial flat run out, followed by a mid section with 6 climbs, including the Oude Kwaremont and then a final section with the run to the finish with a finishing loop.
The race was going very well for the first 2 hours as I was climbing well and feeling good in the mid section despite the constant battle for position and accelerations. Coming into the Oude Kwaremont, however, I found myself mid to back of the peloton and having to work my way up through riders and using a lot of energy, missing the split as the race started to break up at the front. On the final climb of the day all of the small accelerations and sprints were starting to take their toll on me and I was feeling terrible by the time we got over the top.
For the final section I found myself hanging on to the group I was in to the finish. Overall it was the hardest race I've ever done. Analysing my files after the race with my coach Huw Spacey at Vitfor, he pointed out that for the total of the 3 hours of racing I had spent over an hour of it anaerobic from making accelerations which is the reason I popped 2 hours in.
This was a good learning point for me and something to be conscious of in future races. Little did any of us know that the racing season was about to come to an abrupt halt across Europe.
Thanks to Pedal Potential for their support and to HMT for inviting me to guest ride for them, it was a brilliant opportunity to start the season and maybe end it too!