maandag 2 november 2020

Fast and furious!

Let's do something crazy and enter a World Championship in a discipline I have no experience in and that is the total opposite of what I do. Instead of racing for 5 hours or more this race takes less than 4 minutes... 

Short but furious...

So the past weeks I tried to activate my fast twitch fibers... I know I have them, but they are hidden very well and aging doesn't really help. This race is not just fast it is also furious... 


It's risky business and that became clear during the team meeting where they clearly explained the rules. No pulling, hitting, kicking... 2 hands should be on the handlebars at all times and elbows are prohibited. Touching is allowed, because it's a contact sport. I had nothing to lose... 

Me chasing Gaia Tormena & Fem Vanempel

You only live once and like Peter said: "don't jump on conclusions, jump on occasions!". This occasion is a once in a life time opportunity and I don't want to regret things I didn't do or try. 

I met some really strong young talents and the media covered the event which is great for the sport. I have more photo's from this event than I usually have when I race 5 hours. 

Bravo @citymountainbike

 A big congrats to the organisation 'Citymountnainbike' and the city of Leuven for pulling off a great event during the current situation.

maandag 19 oktober 2020

BK XC Marathon

In the end we did get to race a national championship. I was super disappointed when the GRG (National Championship 2020) got cancelled. It's my favorite event because I usually feel really good during this period and it's a technical challenging ride. 

Parcours 5KM starting loop followed by 3 laps! 

But then we received some great news... Koenraad Verschoren (organizer of BeMC stage race) was able to organize a replacement with BeMC Marathon in La Roche en Ardennes. 

Getting my start number

It would be a tough one... Almost 90KM with around 2800AM!! But guess what, I like it this way... The weeks before the race I focused on this day, trying to find a balance between working, training and rest. Sleeping with my fingers crossed that it would not be cancelled. 

Warming up on the rollers

My goal was the podium, but with some very strong ladies starting that day I knew this would become a very difficult task. The last weeks before D-day it pored rain so it would not just be hard... It promised to be epic...

Sartline in the mud!

Peter decided not to ride. He loves muddy conditions but not in cold and rainy weather.  So each round he handed me a bottle so I didn't have to stop to refuel. 

Peter @feedzone 1

And Epic it was! During the first climb the top 5 stayed together, once we went offroad the pace went up. I found my own steady pace and turned around in 4th and 5th position. I felt good but raced my own race which was 5th position during the biggest part of the ride. We slipped and slide around, I managed to ride all sections and go down the hills like a rocket! 

When Peter handed me my last bottle he told me he would head back to the camper. At this time I was still riding in 5th position. 

πŸ“·Credits @Bart Knops

Just before the last feedzone, in the last 15KM, I saw number 4 appear. I still had enough fuel on me, so I decided to skip the feedzone. We started to climb the steepest section when Kristien grabbed something to eat. I  made the jump and left her behind. I had to push it all the way up now before I could check if she followed or not. 

I had a gap and knew I had to give myself until the finish now. She is a very strong rider and I knew she would try to fight back and close the gap again. 

I crossed the finish line after 5h20min looking like a muddymonster... Before getting cold I rode to the camper where I found Peter very proud. I finished with mixed feeling. 

Me aka Miss Mudface

Happy that I moved up a place, but a little disappointment that I didn't make it to the podium. 

In the end I know I did everything to give it my best and I never finished this close in such a strong field. I'm happy with my progression physically and technically. 

Rothaus Bike Giro

From France we travelled straight to Germany for the next race... Rothaus Bike Giro Hochschwarzwald. 

In the past this race was called Trans Schwarzwald, because it's in the beautiful German Schwarzwald. The concept of stages in line changed a few years ago, we also skipped some editions, but last year we had a great time at the Feldberg so we returned.

I think it is fair to say that I highly respect the event organiser Sauser events. Due to the COVID-19 situation cancellations were flying around our ears. But they delivered... So thumbs up!


Back to the race...

Stage 1 & stage 2: Todtnau/Notschrei

The first race was rather short (21,8KM - 560AM). Not very much mountainbike parcour, so it became an extremely fast race with AVG speeds around 25KM/H... Too fast for me especially returning from a much more technical race in France with AVG speeds around 12KM/H.

The second stage existed out of 2 rounds of circa 32KM what made it a total of 65KM with 2050AM. Another super fast race and my legs felt dead... Not just bad, no I didn't manage to put any power on the pedals, I suffered from start to finish. At the end of the first round Peter caught me and gave me his bottles. He would stop at the finish due to back problems and no fun… Honestly I considered to step out of the race too, but it’s very much against my nature. 

So I pushed through hoping I would find my legs back, but I didn't... Starting the last climb I even had to get off the bike for a minute... My legs felt horrible and it was so hard to motivate myself. There were hardly offroad trails, heum no offroad trails. It was a true sufferfest for me 

Stage 3 & 4: Grafenhaus/ Rothaus

But it ain't over until the fat lady sings right? 

If I remembered correctly from last year we would take it offroad from now on! Stage 3 was the so called queen stage (75KM - 1950AM). Usually I do good during the longer stages and we are day three so the fatigue for some riders will start to wear. 

My start is rather good and I find a good solid pace. All day long I can overtake other riders and I really enjoy the harder parts of the track. I enjoyed the trails and the more technical sections and finished with a good result, but even more important a happy feeling.

During the 4th and last stage (66KM -1390AM) we would pass some of the same sections as stage 3. My GC result was gone after my pain game during the first two stages so this last ride was all about having fun, fun, fun.

In the end I just have to conclude that my heart is in the trails and exciting downhills. I probably have to skip this kind of races and go for the real deal.  

vrijdag 4 september 2020


31 times.

That's the number of times they already organised this race in the French Alps.

Due to COVID it was postponed to a later date, so this year we could participate in this stage race over 5 days.

Our camper has been loaded since beginning of July, so packing is just getting the bibs and jerseys all together, and off we go.

Off we go! 

The plan was to combine this race and then afterwards drive through to the Black Forest in Germany for the Rothaus Bike Giro.

Because we don't like mixing holiday and racing, this time  (this season) it was going to be a little different. Staying on camping sites before and in between races always gives that little sense of holidays;

But nothing to complain about. We're happy to be riding and to have numbers on our bikes.

The first two days of racing were held in Lanslevillard and for the next two days we would be travelling to Aussois.

prerace ride πŸ’¨

Both are typical French Alp villages with a lot of charm and conviviality. The organisation was spot on, and it seemed like a World Championship seeing all the big names on the starting-list. The first day there was also the French Championship XCM, so a lot of beautiful people were headed to Lanslevillard on Monday.

As always we like to come prepared, so we had arranged a reconnaissance with a bunch of Belgian riders.

Recon with the boys πŸ‘Š

The tracks were splendid and since it hadn't been raining for a long time, the soil was hard and dusty as we like. (We also like to ride wet and soft, but that's for later...)

Small detail: there were two distances proposed to the riders. One with 9000 am and a shorter one with 6000 am.

Ready to race!
Pink for the ladies ♀

Sara went for the 9000 and I did the 'kids' race...  Afterwards the small distance race was perhaps harder. A lot of young riders who started off like missiles at the start, and then slowed down. There were a lot I could catch up later in the race. Feels good to show them slow is often faster at the finish.

The first stage was a hell of a story. Due to bad weather the riders were sent back on the trail of the 9000 stage. No problem if the race is cancelled. But they did not cancel because some riders already were past the point were the others had to turn around.

What goes up must come down...

Sara was one of the blocked riders. Race was over. At the finish they told us they would put everyone as a finisher, but without saying that the unlucky riders all had 105' of penalty.  WHAT? was the reaction from most of them.

The jury found that this was the most honest thing to do...  I NOT AGREE.

Sara did not spent much energy, but catching up 105' in four days, would be impossible. Going for a stage victory was not among the possibilities. To many strong professional female riders in the bunch to clear that one.

So Sara forgot the first day and had a good race for the next days. No crashes, no flats, no flaws... Just riding as hard as she could and finish. Finishing strong after 5 days resulted in a 6th spot in GC WOMEN ELITE category.

Downhill fun πŸ‘Œ

Myself was also riding with a lot of confidence and I felt stronger each day. I could manage to ride around a 10th spot in my age-category. 8th was best, 12th was the lowest score.

After the race we did not have any options. Our next race would be starting 5 days later in Germany.

The organisation did a great job organizing this event. And also a big high five to all the volunteers who made this one possible in this crazy season. Sure to be back here in the future.

Not wasting much time in France, we headed to Germany the next morning. The weather forecast was not that good for the coming days.

TransMaurienne in the books ✔

When writing this down, we just got kept up to date for the last big goal of this year, namely the ROC d'AZUR. Bad news: CANCELLED DUE TO COVID.

So this is probably one of our lasts race posts of 2020. 

Good news also came to us today:There will be a Belgian Championship organized in La Roche on October 3rd. So still a chance to go for that one big goal for 2020.

zondag 30 augustus 2020

Engadin Bike Giro 2020

πŸ˜•πŸ˜•During the lockdown our race calander sort of disolved entirely... First it was weekly and then daily that events got cancelled or postponed. There was even a time we think we wouldn't race at all during this season. But then Sauser events sended out e-mails that they had a waiting list for the Engadin Bike Giro.
We raced here before, 4 years ago. But due to participation in other events and the cost price (it is La Suisse 😁) we skipped it a few times.

We did have to wait until the end of June before we got the official "go". Swiss government and in particular Silvaplana gave the go for the event.

Getting the race kits clean πŸ’¦

From Czech Republic we travelled to Swiss, but we made a stop in Germany to give everything a good wash and do some recovery.
Luxery public toilet @ Sankt Moritz

4 years ago we stayed at the beautiful camping ground in Silvaplana. But this year the competition is in high season. The camping ground was fully booked. They did get us places on a parking next to the Corvatch cable lift. Not ideal, but a beautiful view...
Sleeping on altitude with a view 😍

What more to wish for??

Time to meet our friends again and to meet new friends.
coffee ride with TRUST team 


Short, but so much fun! We started climbing up and after reaching the top in Sankt Moritz our effort was rewarded with a lovely flowy downhill in the local bike park! I decided to use my hardtail today... It was not to technical up and with my Crankbrothers Highline dropper seatpost I can handle the flowy downhills perfectly. Peter catched me right before we started the last downhill and we had a blast! 

COVID 19 - proof start

Pure joy 😁

After race recovery with @overstims

STAGE 2: SILVAPLANA Birthday ride 71 KM (AM 1500m)

The weather forecast was off! It would be raining and in the mountains on altitude this is never a good thing.
We both dressed well with our Endura Spraypants to stay relatively dry and warm. I was extra keen to ride.... Peter was much less enthousiastic.

At the startline they played a Birthdaysong for me... Super cool. But when the start was given, horror sticked. I had a flat front tire. I pulled out My MUC-OFF BAM and it did the trick... The foam got in my face, but there was a super friendly lady who helped me wash it of. NO STRESS...

I felt great during the ride, but when we crossed the finish zone again my front tire was flat again. My BAM was ready to hit it a second time and I found the issue. My valve wasn't closed well so I fixed it and ready to ride again...

Hero of the day!! BAM πŸ’₯ muc-off magic

The second part of the ride was hard, some steep climbing and on the top it was really cold and wet. But after the hard work the playing started. Although my fingers and cheeks were nearly frozen I enjoyed the super long flowy trail down. I even caught up some other participants in the end.
Technical slippery sections πŸ’—
Smiling or frozen cheeks???

When I finished I first got some food in. Then I spent to much time at the bikewash to get my bike mud free. And to give myself a present I showered at the camping spot. I just got in the shower with all my clothes (the cleaning lady helpt me, super sweet) and I think I spent over 20 minutes in there.
Peter couldn't choose, so 4 cakes πŸ˜‹

Peter started, but didn't finish the ride. Too cold... When I arrived at the camper he took care of my bike, the sun came out and he got me some Birthdaycakes ...

To end the day we had pizza
Best pizza with best boyfriend 😎
Anna Taubers mom suprised me with the cutest cake right before bedtime... So sweet 😻


During the last stage there was some brutal climbing on the menu. After stage 2 my legs were anything but fresh so I didn't push to hard. On a long flat section with head wind I was lucky I could hide behind a large powerful rider so I could save some energy. Just before we started the super long climb Peter catched me. 
He had some super legs today and I could not keep up with him. Bummer πŸ€ͺ

I did manage to ride the technical part as I wanted, but I lacked power in the end to put down a strong performance. I did enjoy the beautiful surrounding and the last brilliant downhill... Apparently I did come really close to some of the other riders who were climbing much faster 

Suffering with a view πŸ˜…

13th overall in the GC amongst this super world class bunch of riders is pretty much the best I could do. And what a brilliant race. Thumbs up for the great organisation for pulling this off in COVID 19 times!!!

The only negative thing about this visit is that we have to leave again πŸ˜’
On our way home @ walensee