It was an Asper-Gavere of many firsts for me.
It was the first race without that magnificent line of trees at the finish. One of the reasons I love this course so much has always been those gorgeous trees. Especially, at this time of the year, when the leaves are starting to fall, the colours have always been stunning. Not anymore. I’m sure there was a great reason for all this but still, it made me sad.
Secondly, this was the first Asper-Gavere when I finally made it to the race BEFORE the women’s race started. While my Belgian HQ is in Kortrijk, I still haven’t been able to make that stone’s throw distance in time to see the ladies racing. Today I did and it indeed was great racing, Sanne Cant, Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris putting on a good race on a very muddy course.
Thirdly, this was the first edition without any sun. In the past two years the sun came out at some point – not today. It was a muddy and hard race. At this level, all races are hard but sometimes there are races when the riders cross the finish line and they are completely spent, thousand yard stares aplenty.
Next week is the famous World Cup race in Koksijde and I I have the time, I’ll try to squeeze in a little bit of track action in Gent, at the ‘Zesdagse’. Never been there, should be good fun. Don’t forget that you can still bid on that unique copy of my 2011/2012 cyclocross book, that contains autographs of the biggest stars of the sport. Get biddin’!