I travelled to Belgium at the end of November to participate in the World Masters Cyclocross Championships which were held in Mol, about 100 km NE of Brussels the first weekend of Dec. The site of the competition was again the Zilvermeer Recreation area with a very scenic but tough race circuit due to the amount of deep sand to ride or run through, mostly running. 

I arrived on the Friday before my race so had a full week to recover from the jet lag and to prepare. The awesome B and B where I stayed was about a 2 min drive from the venue and within easy access of numerous bike routes which are “everywhere”, literally!

After a few days riding on the flat along some of the nearby canals, I did go to Oudenaarde with one of my teammates to ride on some of the famed cobbled climbs of the Tour of Flanders including the Koppenberg. Best day on the bike ever! Besides riding, there was some time for sightseeing going into Antwerp to check out some diamonds and chocolate shops and Ghent to walk around the old town centre. The four major food groups in Belgium are chocolate, waffles, frites and beer!

Race day arrived on Dec. 1st and I was ready. All the 50+ women started at 1pm with a 15 sec gap between each age category which were in 5 year increments. Things were going very well for the first few laps with the competition in sight but on the third lap, I unfortunately had some bad luck when I was trying to pass someone and crashed in the sand. I heard this ominous Ssssssss........and thought, oh dear, this is not going to be good! My back tire was as flat as a pancake. Oh well, these things happen so I just smiled as I ran shouldering the bike for at least 1/2 a lap until I could get to the pit area and bike change. My teammates set me up with a spare bike which was awesome. I never thought that I would actually have to use it but there’s a first for everything! At least I got to finish on 2 wheels. 🚴

As it turned out, I came away with a silver medal and a nice plaque. Not quite the result I wanted but all things considered, my time wasn’t too bad. And I certainly got a good workout! Riding/racing your bike in Belgium with your tires full or flat is an awesome enough experience in itself. 

The Worlds are back in Mol next year. Already looking forward to it!!    Patricia K




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