There are race venues I will never forget. The reason for that can be very different: Asper-Gavere is memorable because I had flow-like experience there two years ago. I remember the World Cup race at Zolder in 2009, when Lufthansa messed up my luggage and I had to cover the race in a pair of jeans, a thick jumper and a flimsy jacket.
The race at Essen in 2011 was one of these memorable races (read my blogpost for the full story >>>) and it was one for all the wrong reasons. For that reason I’ve always dreaded this race because getting out of the parking lot has always proved tricky, if you weren’t lucky, you were stuck in a queue for the tractor to pull you out of the mud.
Luckily, press used to share the parking place with VIPs and as it turned out, the VIPs weren’t happy either by the abysmal conditions and demanded concrete. This forced the organisers to move the race altogether and this meant that we saw a brand new course. Those who are familiar with the last few years, I get very excited when I get to shoot new courses and today’s course did not disappoint. It was one of those courses, that didn’t really give you any time to recover and if it wasn’t the thick mud, the switchbacks made sure that the riders were constantly on the limit.
Just like last year, this was Zdenek Stybar’s first race and while he ‘only’ finished 8th at the end, he enlivened the race and bagged the fastest lap, too.
Warming up in bath after 1st #cx really enjoyed the crowd around the track! Pretty happy with my race and even more with the fastest lap:)
Today was just the beginning of the epic Christmas cross week, so stay tuned for more, I’m now headed to Namur for the World Cup – with the deepest field in all categories of the season so far, so great racing is guaranteed.