May 30/02 9:44 am - The Shep Report
Posted by Editoress on 05/30/02
The Shep Report
Chris Sheppard of Haro Lee-Dungarees reports from Houffalize
Belgian frites world cup
I should have known what was in store for me this past weekend. Anytime you start a week off with a bird crapping on your head you should cancel all appointments for the week, stay in bed and watch TV. Nothing like running fingers through your hair looking for the bug that just hit you..... then realizing it's no bug and you didn't put gel in your hair. Every other day was like that for me. Good turning to bad. Long ride Tuesday good, short ride Wednesday - bad, AOL not accessing... wicked paella.... Carting tracks closed, ETC........
The Belgians are not only the makers of the finest French fries in the world but also the they are the fiercest cycling fans. For the second week in a row some 30,000 or so fans turned up with horns, bells and beer. This may seem normal for Europe but consider the competition for fans this weekend. F1 car racing, Roman Garos tennis, and there was a major pro road race ending 40km away. Impressive. At the start 210 men did battle up the three minute climb before the trail filtered down to a chicane then single track. With that many guys one really feels the urgency in staying near the front even if it means oxygen debt. Managed to get there in and around 15-20th...first lap felt good, second lap rode over my head on the first two climbs, third lap fell back in my group and started to notice red dots while a little la choofe gnome held a gun under my chin, start of the fourth my legs had long disappeared while the gnome waited till the furthest point away from the spectators to pull trigger and put me out of my misery. Should have, could have, would have ......didn't. I overstepped my limits at the beginning of the race and paid for it dearly (up and comers take note....don't ride at or almost on your max heart rate for 10min).
Sooooooooo back to the real race. A group established itself from the get go containing bart, rollie, roll P, and saucer. Meirhagre rode easy for the first lap and by the second was riding at the front. Seamus was again in the 10-15 group riding steady for the first few with Ryder H coming on during the third and swapping places with him. The front five were well established as they started to mark each other in road racing style. Chasing this group were Absolon, Duphoey and Fumic followed by groups of four to six every minute. Entering the last lap Rol P tried and Saucer tried an acceleration but Rol P marked him while splitting up the group by ten seconds. This gap would grow a bit with Rol P gapping off on the final descent. He caught on 500 meters from the finish.....would it be a sprint? NO! On the last corner Rol P went down on the slick rocks and would have to settle for second. Meirhagre third, brentgens, green. "Dracko" Hesjedal rode well and was feeling better than the previous weekend's "Laps of Cassa" and fought up to 16th while Shamoe started to feel like hell but stayed in the battle for a 27th.
Spending the next week and half training long trying to get rid of my pastry belly. Then off to NORBA land on the 14th of June.......