Antwerp 70.3 dedication & Lux TdF crit
I‘m back on the road. Somehow I still get very excited every time I am about to leave. Destination: Boulder, Colorado. Purpose: Hawaii preparation. With who: double world champion Craig Alexander. Special info: 6 weeks altitude then straight to Kona, Hawaii for the big show down in 2010.
As of now the weather seems very warm and nice in Boulder, I am already adapted to altitude, which means I can pretty much jump right into the big work load. It will be quite a long and intensive camp, but I am already in good shape and able to deal with it very well.
I decided some weeks ago to dedicate Antwerp 70.3 to the fiancé of my friend and sponsor, Dustin Brady. Dustin is a great guy. He works for Shimano International and is a true professional–he has remained there for all of his athletes despite the huge blow that he has taken this year. In early June, his fiancé Michelle lost a long battle with breast cancer. At age 42, she was taken from this world far too early. You can read more about her here. I promised to dedicate a race to her and give all I have on race day in her honor–so this one was for you Michelle.
Antwerp 70.3 was right off from altitude camp and everything worked out as planed. Of course I wasn’t fresh, but that was part of the plan. The swim was nice and I took the lead after a few hundred yards , luckily the dude in the canoe realized where he needed to go and I just managed to get out before some of the other guys ended up on my feet again. That little sprint hurt me and I had to take it a bit easier during the first few steps of transition, where 2 guys passed me. Second on the bike, I was able to maintain exactly the speed that I had planned, but got passed from the bike killer Andersson from Sweden. He is a force but somehow I am sure he would race so much better if he would save some energy for the run…
So it was Marino, van Lierde and myself. Marino didn’t pull in the first 40k, so when one of the favorites, Bart Aernouts, finally caught us at km 70, the pace was gone and the games between the three Belgiums began. I decided to let them play and just stayed back, but looking back that was not really the smartest since we lost a lot of time–and what am I training on the bike for anyway? So it all came down to the run, we had 7 minutes to catch but that was possible. I lost some more time in T2 as I had some issues on the cobblestones (my tender feet couldn’t take it), and then issues opening my plastic bag, and then I finally put on socks so ended up 30 seconds down on Bart and Marino once I got out of T2. On the run the speed was high and I really felt awesome going into it. I thought I might be able to bridge the gap but they were running just as well. At the end I was 30 seconds down on Marino which was a very close gap, and I was happy to be able to run consistently throughout despite being “training camped”.
All in all, it was a good race, and the city of Antwerp is one of the nicest ones I have seen in a long time. Bars and restaurants at really at every corner, amazing Belgium beer and my favorite meal during the day was great too–I love having a good breakfast and a great race hotel.
Special thanks goes out to Marc Herremans (pictured with me above). He is such an amazing and inspiring guy, simply unbelievable. I love him and his attitude towards everything. His foundation “ To Walk Again” grew so much over the past years and has now two key institutions with a broad range of offered activities for paralyzed athletes and especially kids. Check it out.
The next big happening was just a few days after that: one of Luxembourg’s biggest sport events of the year: the post Tour de France criterium called Gala TdF. I got an invitation and was very keen on being part of the stunning pro tour rider field for that spectacle. After a normal training day, I was ready to hit the road with the big guys and had great fun. Have a look at some of the pictures on my flickr where you can see some of the pulls at the fron of the pack and some attacks during the race. Thanks to all of the 60,000 Luxembourg fans for coming out there and cheering for the Schleck brothers.
Training has been running based this past week, so my legs are tired and I am looking forward to getting a good long sleep once I am on board towards the US. There is only one thng in my mind and that is Kona, the Ironman World Championships on October 9th…..
See you guys soon–when I am a mile high.
All the best to you
Thanks for stopping by,