vrijdag 13 juli 2018


Czech Republic journey part 2...
Monday we left Holesov for a 300K trip with the camper. Not that far, but we had to take the touristic route because there was no straight route to Teplice Nad Metuji.

So somewhere in the afternoon we arrived on our new campinsspot @Camp Kamenec 200m from the race center of the MTB Trilogy.

Our new camping spot @camp Kamenec

We had some relaxed days ahaed as the race only started on Wednesday afternoon with a Prologue of 12K.

Tuesday morning we did some sight-seeing on a hiking route which is very populae in the area. We could only do a small part but it was worth it. At the same time we could see how the soil and surface would be.

Tuesday afternoon we took the time to explore the prologue which turned out to be much more challenging than we first expected especially the downhill sections.

Wedsnesday around 10 AM the accreditation started. Afterwards we still had time to have a carboloaded lunch. Start was only around 4PM.


Approximately 12K, not too long but we already had a little tryout on wednesday and it is not a very easy loop. So tactics were very simple. Don't take risks, because the time differences on a prologue is just for start position and with only 4 women at the start, it would not make a diffrence at all.

I was the first girl to start. I took it easy just to make sure I would be able to ride the really steep technical climbs and not drop dead before I would reach the end.

I became 4th, so I knew it would be working day the next couple of rides, but the long rides are much more my kind of thing.


The first ride, about 72K with a lot of altitude meters. At the start I took it a bit too hard and I had to pay for that later that day. I had to battle and that didn't really make a diffrence in possition. A lot of climbs were brutally steep and the soil was loose, so we had to hike up.

What goes up must come down... The less happy thing was that the downhills were so hard (enduro style) that I reached my bike and my own limits so we were back to hiking at some sections.

At the 3rd  feedstation Peter wisely decided to take it easy, so we contiued together. After a while my heartrate came back to normal and I was able to concentrate on the technical parts again.

I one of the climbs I spotted the girl in 3rd possition. In the first following downhill I could get to her wheel and so I stayed there until we reached the last feedstation. Afterwards I remembered the path. We did it the other way around in the morning so I had a good idea from what was to come.
First Peter took the lead and then I took over. I felt she was really tired so I speeded up. When I felt I was riding on my own now I had to keep my pace. There was still one climb to conquer, not too long but the last part was difficult. I managed and when I looked back there was still no sign from my concurent.

I was able to finish in the 3rd place and Peter finished a minute later.


I was keen to ride this stage because I was told we would be able to ride every part of the trail. Not as hard and difficult as the first stage... I started in 4th possition again and Peter and I planned to ride this stage together. A good training for the Sudety Challenge in less than 3 weeks. Very unexpected we came to a little group with two of the three other female riders in the race. So I stayed in the group without riding in the front. This pace was good and I could save energy. I noticed that the girl in second position was really stressed in the descents, so I passed here.

We catched the winner from stage 1. I decided to just keep my own pace this time and before I knew I had a gap on her too. I kept riding an passed some other riders, my technical riding was strong today and after 68K I reached the finish first.

Really happy to make it to the podium today only that didn't really go as planned.

I was called up as winner, but when I was on the podium I got accused from riding dirty and being pushed by Peter... I was shocked to hear this,... Because obviously that didn't happen at any point in the race.
To be honest I wouldn't even want to be pushed. I'm a big girl and I can ride for my self and if any rider is stronger than me so be it. So I left the podium before the ceremony was finished.

Later that evening we went back to have a little chat about the podium issue... It was cleared out. A frustrated other rider said it wasn't fair we were riding together. But we didn't do anything wrong.


Peter dicided not to start. Because later that day we would drive all the way to Friedrischhafen for Eurobike.

I did start to ride for my second place in the GC. The battle was on. From the first climb the four of us were riding together with the Hungarian in front. But I noticed she had to push it hard and she was not going to last. In the uphill I was the strongest rider, but downhill the girl in first position was fearless. It became a day of overtaking eachother.

The last part of the track was in my advantage. It was a climb and the last downhill was fast and the same as the day before. So I gave it my all during the climb to get the gap as big as possible. And I made it only by 30 seconds...


Prologue 4th place
Stage 1: 3rd place
Stage 2: 1st place
Stage 3: 1st place

GC: 2nd place

The scenery in Teplice nad Metuji was stunning!
Trails: Technical to extreemly hard

dinsdag 10 juli 2018


Last year we travelled to East Europe for the first time since we’re racing. And we liked it, so this season we put a week of racing in the Czech Republic on or calender. Starting with a new race on the UCI Marathon Series in Holesov.
The Drasal Marathon is not a new race, in fact it’s the  25th edition, but it is new on the UCI Marathon series calander.
We like long distance racing and we have seen organisations with races of 160K, but over here the longest off road distance on the program is 208K ???

208 K offroad??? Not for us πŸ˜€
Luckily that is not the UCI distance…
117K was on the program for me so I had another chance to get a top 5 spot to qualify for the World Championship CX Marathon. Peter decided to ride a short distance (55K) as a last preparation for our 3 day MTB Trilogy in a few days.

Not to hot @line up
Raceday was Saturday so we left on Thursday to get all the driving (1200K) done.
Friday afternoon we arrived on the free camping site organized in the castle garden where the organisation is located.

King Peter & his castle
Saturday Morning breakfast for me was @ 5 AM, Peter could just sleep for another hour. I did prep everything the night before so I could nap for 30 minutes after breakfast.
Start was in the village at 7:45 AM. A lot of women at the start line but not too many girls racing for UCI points.
First 2K was neutralised start behind the car followed by a first 6K of climbing. 
I started in the 4th position and in the first climb I got overtaken by two other female riders. One of them a Spanish rider who went too fast for me, the other rider was right in front of me and I could stay in her wheel during the whole climb. 
In the first downhill I could overtake. I could keep this position for the rest of the race. 
The course was not too difficult with about 30K of tarmac through out the race and some super nice single trail downhills. Some more technical than others. 
Most of the climbs were not as brutal steep as the ones on Belgian soil but they did manage to find more technical parts where staying on the bike was a challenge.
In a little less than 7hours I finished the 117K with 3920 AM with a smile.

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished! Great ride in very nice conditions and enjoyed every bit of the race... After cleaning my bike (what I didn't have to do my self, Thanks my love πŸ’—) showering and getting my shoes look like new again my job was done... Time for recovery and help Peter out for prepping his race. 

Really happy with the race and my result!

UCI points πŸ‘ World Championship Qualification πŸ‘πŸ‘ 

Sunday it was Peter’s turn to discover the Czech trails. We could sleep a little longer today, the start was at 9:30 AM. While peter dressed and got ready it was me who played soigneur for once. Getting Peter’s bottles ready making sure I was at the start line and get some photo’s. The little film didn’t work as my mobile decided to get all weird since we arrived on Friday.

Prepping my athlete
Tension rising 😬

He promised to try to get it done in about 3 hours, so I had a little time to do a recovery ride before I headed back to the finish line.

Crossing the finishline!

Possing with #mycanyon
And like he always keeps he’s promises he did this time to. In a little over 3 hours he finished he’s race.
So first part of our Czech Republic story is a wrap.
Ready to drive to Teplice and Metuji about 300K from here.   

Little word about the organisation: It was brilliant! 
A stunning location in castle gardens, a great setup, a lot of  good feedstations , they even handed out bottles at some stations and beside all the ordinary services they even had washing machines to wash your race tenue after the race! What more would you wish for?

Thumbs up for this great organisation πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

woensdag 4 juli 2018

Nationals are here...

It’s been announced for a long time now that the National Championship 2018 would take place on one of the classic marathon rides in Belgium ‘Raid des Hautes Fagnes’ in Malmedy. Peter and I have road this one in the past in very very very muddy conditions.
In the first announcement about the Championship the women’s race would be on the short distance of 65K and the men’s race on the 117K distance. But we (me and most of the other female riders) were not really happy with this, so the organisation was so kind to change the distance to the 90K course.

Bikes ready to race!
The last few weeks, conditions in Belgium have been extremely dry, so dry this would definitely be the fastest edition of the race since I’m riding longer distances. Nice to ride, but maybe not the best for me, because the other ladies are really fast…
For the special occasion we started separately from the other riders at 9:00 AM. In a little group we attacked the first climb… I hoped they wouldn’t go to hard at the start, but that was wishful thinking. 

Pre-race warm-up

We went up the hill with a group of 6, the first part of the climb I could stay in the group, but I couldn’t keep this high pace for the hole 2K. So I ended up alone an that was pretty much the story of the ride.
The men passing me were riding way too hard to get in the wheel and keep it. 
And the other women in the race were way back. I was riding in 6th position for the whole race all by myself…

Pushing it to the limit 🚡
I felt good, but I just couldn’t ride harder. In the very last downhill I spotted a familiar outfit. I threw myself down like a stone and took a bit of a risk. When I turned on the road I was in her wheel. It was Sara Van Peer… She looked at me so I gave really everything I had and we sprinted full out to the finish line. It was very close, but she was first…
About 20 minutes after me Peter crossed the finish line… He had to start 10 minutes after me and tried to get to me as fast as possible. But he took a bit too much risks in the downhill with a flat on he’s rear tire. Afterwards he helped another rider who crashed so he never really had the chance to get to me and help me out.
I’m not unhappy with my race, but a 6th place was just not what I was riding for. Honestly I’m disappointed because I know I have to be able to do better.
Up to the next…  

maandag 2 juli 2018

Nationals coming up...

After our first set of competitions it's time to get to the second part of the season. Instead of just racing full out every week we scheduled some rest, training and training races. During these races the objective is more the way of riding than the importance of the equal result.

Our legs were into recovery mood after our double racing weekend to get ready for some training.

GOAL: National Championship Marathon

In Belgium we have a lot of big road races and since a couple of years you can also ride them as a tourist. It is a bit of a commercial event (read: very expensive to enter),but on the other hand we don’t have to be creative to get a lot of kilometres in the legs and there are some feed stations along the way.
One of the Baloise Belgium tour stages is Landen – Trois Pont, not so far away so that’s where we took it on May 26th during our training weeks for the Belgium Championship. We didn’t ride the full distance of over 200K, but a shorter edition (107K).

Like a roadie 😜

Foodstations are busy

My favorite wheel and backside  
During our training weeks we also race, but these races aren’t a goal. We just like to ride them and usually we don’t race for the full 100 % but more on a strong steady pace. And the HunsrΓΌck Marathon in Rhens is a fun fast race organized by Canyon. So no reason not to go there.
Rhens next to Koblenz is not really far and the region is beautiful. Saturday in the morning we took the camper and arrived around noon, so after a little lunch we took the bikes for a ride. It was sunny and int the park nearby the kids were already racing.

Start them young on the right bike → #mycanyon

Peter loves animals

Drinking in the day before the race #alwayshavefun
At 8:30 AM the start was given so we were off for 75K and 2200AM. In the start climb I was riding right behind Laura Turpijn an ex National Champion from the Netherlands. But after a while I felt stronger and left her. Somewhere half way Peter joined me so we could ride together for the next part. But he got bitten by an insect and felt awkward. The last 20K I speeded up as was planned for the training and I finished in a 4th place overall and 2nd in my age class behind Kim Saenen a former Belgium National Champion.
Postrace chats

1. Kim Saenen  2. Sara Michielsens  3. Laura Turpijn
A new BAMS race (a big classification race in Belgium for Marathon races) is Rockalliene that starts on the highest point in Belgium Baraque Fraiture. Fits perfectly in our training schedule and we are always in for some new races.

Oeps forgot my skies
Highest point of Belgium

They have 4 different distances and the longest one is 115K 😊 😊 😊
I really wanted to ride this, but Peter was a bit afraid it would be too long and I wouldn’t be able to recover to do the last trainings week. So I promised I would take it easy and ride it instead of racing it. Peter on the other hand choice 70K. I wasn’t the only crazy women taking on the long challenge… And winning it without racing was not possible. I know Saskia Hessens can ride long and hard races, so I didn’t try to stay with her. In the last 10K I missed a turn and did a little D-tour of 2K but I finished it really well. I didn’t feel empty so ready for the last training week.

Reaching the finish after 7H

Still smilling πŸ˜€

Second place, Third one was still on the road...
Peter did also really well, he started on an easy paces and accelerated trough out the race. On the last steep climb right before the finish line he managed to overtake some other riders who died before the finish line.

The last weekend before the Nationals we went to Haversin, about an our from our place, so no need to take the camper this weekend.
It’s been really sunny and dry the last weeks so we were up for some nice dry trails. What we didn’t’ know was that they had a some heavy storm and the trails were soaked. So we didn’t have as much fun as we would like. Luckily we decided in the morning that we were not riding the chrono ride, but the tour…
Peter was not having a great day so I finished it as a trainings ride while he turned of on a shorter distance. What didn’t really was a shorter distance as we had only 10K different.

Ready or Not that’s the question…

zaterdag 26 mei 2018

Double race weekend!

Last weekend was a long weekend so that means time to ride our bike (and camper) even more. There where two races on the calendar. πŸ˜€

My home is where my RV is

 Friday afternoon, right after work we left for the Bike Festival Willingen. Last seasons we had a blast over there. It's a big event with a nice atmosphere and a very fast marathon on Saturday. Not technical at all, but it's special because there are 3 different distances and all riders start together. During the stage you can decide when you finish, after 50K, 90K or 116k.

We ride Crankbrothers

Refueling @pastaparty 

We had to start in the middle of the night at 7:30 AM to be exact! I skipped my warm up on the rollers and had to hurry to get to the start in time.
Only a few days after the BeMC I felt recovered but I had no idea how the legs would feel during the race. My start wasn't what I hoped for, but I did not feel too bad at all. My heart rate could keep up very well, but in the ascents  I had to shift to lower gear as usual. 

Peter joined me during the race, he had to start all the way in the back so the first part of the track he had to overtake about a 1000 riders to reach me. He did have strong legs so he wasn't sure what distance he would ride.

Very early that morning I looked at the profile of the ride and I wrongly read the short distance was 37K. During the race we were riding with 3 women together, after 30K I attacked to make it to the podium, but not knowing how many women already turned off on the short ride. I gave it my all to make sure the other two ladies stayed behind.

I remembered the course a little from the previous years and after 40K I realized I must of had mistaken in the morning. I overtook two more women, but instead of a 7K sprint it became a 20K killing fight with myself and Peter yelling me to the finish. In the last climb I was struggling but I could keep the other ladies behind me. The last descent to the finish is a fast and narrow one so I was pretty safe when we took the last turn to the finish line. The speaker was yelling my name as first girl. Winning like this tastes sweet! 


Sunday morning we slept in and left after breakfast in the direction of Spa. A 4h ride to the next race! It had been a few years since we race here, but as far as we could remember it is a magnificent race.

Technical, flowy and very hard! In Theux you can find the nicest single track trails in the broad region. Sometimes not so mucky due to some negative weather phenomena. Here we sometimes call that 'rain'.
start numbers 

But this edition would be a 'positive' one. Predictions were at our side. Sunny, dry, no wind. What does a human/biker need more?
We decided to both race the 95km. Sara starting 10' earlier with the 'beau monde' and I was to start among 'the rest'.

Peter's start

The 95km are all around Theux, but after a smaller first loop we come by and past the finish line for the first time.
This part was sometimes tricky. Due to a short but heavy thunderstorm the day before, some parts were still flooded, and rocky descents were slippery.

Shredding the trails
The second big loop was dry, where the technical parts luckily alternated with fast rolling trails. We knew it would be a long ride so starting hard is not the smartest you can do over here. Riding your own paces and avoiding to ride all alone and enjoying the trails was the tactical plan for today. Soon Sara caught back riders that started way too fast. After starting in third position she moved up to second position after 30K. Even during the second part of the race she could keep the position, but it wasn't easy.

Besides the challenging course, a good preparation, racing other riders and hoping the gods are with you on mechanical level you have to be mentally strong during a 6 hours race.

I on the other hand had a strong ride again. We were the very last wave of the day that started. And most riders in my wave where not in a race mode. I could turn in to the trails with a small group and was able to get to the last riders of Sara's wave (not easy, but always with some spare gears in the back). Enjoying the trails uphill as well as downhill I had an enjoyable ride.

Triggering Sara by overtaking here

In the last part Sara had a hard time to keep pushing it. But in the last K right before the finish I got on to her wheel and by overtaking here I encouraged my baby in my 'old fashioned way' to the finish.

Finishing hard!

Sara finally became third because another female rider who started with me 10' later finished 6' minutes behind Sara.
Another podium to finish this first part of the season.


This week was about a lot of rest, getting our bikes back in top shape.

AbsoluteBlake & Crankbrothers Candy 11 pedals



Next weekend we'll be heading to Rhens where we'll be riding as Canyon ambassadors.


PS: In Theux I've beaten Sara by 10' πŸ˜€ Perhaps they'll put this one in the newspaper next time. πŸ˜‰