5 June 2022
Today, I took on the Dwars door de Westhoek 130km UCI Women's event starting in Boezinge, just outside Ypres, Belgium. The race began in wet conditions, which set the scene for many crashes. At the 30km mark, there was a big crash on the smaller roads on the way to the circuit loop of the race. Many riders came down and needed ambulance transportation, with no ambulances left, the race was then stopped for 25 minutes while we waited for an ambulance to become available to follow the event.
After the long stop, my legs felt very average as we entered the circuit loop of the race, which we completed 3 times. But what really tested my legs were the 3 short climbs per lap! The finish of the race was over a cobbled section, which saw Valcar Travel and Service rider Chiara Consonni take the win in a sprint finish.
10 June 2022
Got some extra brownie points with the teammates today! I spent the day baking and cooked some goodies for when we're on the bike. My favourite - Oreo and strawberry rice cakes!
11 June 2022
A 110km Kermesse-style race in Kontich, a town 10km away from where I'm staying, made this one a convenient one! Kontich is also the town of our casual clothing and race sock sponsor.
We had 4 girls start this race meaning we were at an advantage number-wise. There were also a fair few Australian riders racing, and even a rider from Jumbo Visma!
After 30km; an Australian rider attacked and a teammate joined her, for the rest of the race the 3 of us IBCT girls followed many attacks and stayed upfront. Svenja ended up coming second in the sprint finish, which gave the whole team confidence heading into Flanders Diamond Tour.
12 June 2022
Flanders Diamond UCI - a 135km race consisting of a loop completed 12 times. It was strung out for most of the race, with 3 different short gravel sections, followed by a few tricky corners. We set the race up for our two sprinters, who finished 11th and 13th, which was an amazing result for the team!
14 June 2022
I was invited to do a Derny race in Boom on the 17th, so tonight, I attended a Derny training session at the Provincial Cycling Centre, Antwerp to get some practice behind the Derny before Friday. A Derny is a motorised bicycle and sets the pace for the pack. The bike is then wirawn to set the cyclists up for a sprint finish. There were multiple Derny's on the track at the same time with riders following. This was such a cool experience!
15 June 2022
Today, I finally visited the Belgium coastline! Georgie Whitehouse and I rode from Ghent to Knokke to check out the Belgium beach, It was very different from Aussie beaches and the vibe of a beach town felt very different too. There were cafes and white tents set up along the beach; with a lot of sand before the waters edge.
17 June 2022
Today, was my first ever Derny race! The event was only 5km from my house and was an 800m criterium circuit. I received an invitational paid start at this event, which made it very exciting! There were 14 riders and 14 Derny's and big names like Lotte Kopecky and Ellen Van Ioy raced too!
The event was a fixed-style race, meaning the results were planned and so was when each rider and Derny attacked and how the race panned out, there were 3 different short stages on the same night. The briefing was done in Dutch and only a few short sentences in English. So, all it meant for me was hang on and follow my given Derny! Such a super cool experience and so glad I could be a part of this event.
18 June 2022
Rest day, which meant a full day of exploring! I caught the train into Brussels where I met my Australian bestie, Alyssa Polities; who was recently selected for the Commonwealth Games!
We explored Brussels shops and scenic touristy locations before having dinner and heading home on the train. It was lovely to catch up with her and hear about all her experiences while in Europe and the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games.
I visited Roubaix Velodrome; the finish of the famous Paris - Roubaix one day race. I have wanted to visit here for a while now, but living in Antwerp made it hard to get to. It was great to catch up with one of my Kiwi friends and ride from Ghent to the Roubaix together.