I have had a few rough days during the years I’ve been covering cyclocross but today’s race will definitely in the top 5 worst ever race. The usual dynamic of the season so far has been fairly formulaic: we warm up with a few easy, dry and warm races and as the season progresses, we are faced with worse and worse weather conditions. By then we get used to the cold, the rain and the wind.
Earlier this week I was still riding in shorts, so the ugly combination of rain, wind and cold was a shock to the system, at least to mine. The first hour was ok but then I started to get cold and reached a point later during the day when I could barely turn the zoom ring on my lenses. At one point, I had to change the battery in one of my cameras and I needed a friends help to perform that fairly basic task. It was a miserable day and I was glad when it was over.
I’ve learnt my lesson and I will be prepared for the races to come. Oh, and there was some racing, too. I have immense respect for all the riders, who braved the treacherous conditions, the rain and the gale force wind. Mathieu van der Poel won his first U23 race, Nikki Harris rode an inspired race, she was the dominant force today and we won’t forget anytime soon her emotional tribute to Amy Dombroski after crossing the finish line. Helen Wyman showed some amazing ninja skills because she was riding in the 4th position for the majority of the race but somehow she started the last lap in second place and that’s where she finished the race.
The men’s race followed the usual scenario: a range of challengers go for an early lead, the battle at the front – and half way through the race Sven Nys somehow, out of nowhere, just opens up this tiny gap that suddenly becomes 10 meters and then it was over. Martin Bina, last season’s surprise winner at Hoogerheide showed some good form and finished second. There were some promising performances today, so it seems to be yet another exciting season.
And now I’m off to have a warm shower.