Today was a similar day to yesterday: classic race, a big first for a young rider and then ‘proper cyclocross’ weather during the men’s race.
Koppenbergcross has always been a classic race and I was looking forward to today’s race, I was ready for a Battle Royale between Blanka, Betsema, Brand and Honsinger. The big battle didn’t really happen, Honsinger just showed how it’s done and she won her first European cross race. Also, she’s the first American to do win the Koppenbergcross. After Blanka’s win yesterday, this was also a remarkable win for a young rider.
At the top of the Koppenberg, one can see quite far away and as the men started to get ready for the race, I could see some dark clouds gathering northwest of Oudenaarde. I could see that it was coming and I could see that it was bringing foul weather. My first thought was to put my waterproof covers on my cameras, my second thought was a question, rather: why was the press parking put on a grassy slope? The memory of the nightmare of the 2012 GVA Trofee race in Essen still lives very vividly in my mind. I checked with Guy, the press officer and he said that there was a tractor available, should one need it. That put my mind to ease a bit, but I was still dreading the ‘leaving the race’ part. Halfway through the race, it started to rain, I might even go as far as it was biblical for a few minutes, after that, it was just standard, heavy rain. It made a hard race even harder. I decided to leave straight after the race, to make sure I won’t have to search for a tractor for hours if it comes to that.
Luckily, the ground in the parking area was quite solid, so I only had to contend with wet grass – and the slope. It took all my driving skills and probably a bit of luck, but after a few minutes of sliding around in the wet grass, I managed to steer my very muddy Toyota estate onto the tarmac. Happy days. I’m staying for another day to enjoy a Blof gig in Antwerp tomorrow, before I head home for a two days, before I come back to the continent for the European Cyclocross Championships in Hoogeveen. I’ve shot a few editions of the Ronde van Drenthe and so I’ve been on the Vamberg, so I’m looking forward to shooting a cyclocross race there.