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Za Trip is Back! | Pete Webber and Family's Fabulous Adventures in Za Motherland

Jealousy. There, I said it. I am insanely jealous of Pete and his family's assault on Belgium and they are living the dream....although it started with some nightmares with luggage and bikes not showing up for a day or two into their trip.This family is core, they live life and we are all so proud of them...Especially Sally (mom) and Ella (Daughter) as they man the pits for their daddy/husband as he goes against some pretty damn hardened Belgians this "Christmas Week".

Two guys have taken me under their wing here in Boulder...Pete and Brandon Dwight and I think it is safe to say for Dubba and I that Pete is a beacon of information and history having raced professionally during the heyday of mountain biking in the late 90's with the Gary Fisher team. Pete has been so influential to Brandon over the decade + they've known each other and of for me over the last 3 years I've known and trained with him and he's been amazingly impactful. His advice to me has been nothing short of spiritual....from tactics to technical aspects to things that SHOULD be obvious to me after racing all these years and what is really needed for success: rest, reality, repeats and REALLY good beer.

I want you all to get a taste of Pete as he is a great friend, teacher and possibly the man with the driest sense of humor this side of the Thames. He's been on a TEAR this year with his win at the Colorado State Cyclocross Championships (Men's Open) and of course his win in Bend as our US 40-44 National Champion. And to think a year ago when he and I went out on a mellow ride and he said: "Yeah, I'm going to gun for Nationals. Haven't raced it in like a decade..." The man knows how to peak.

Pete, we're so proud of you, hombre. And now without further adieu, Pete Webber....

Hey everyone, I'm over here in Belgium for a holiday cross adventure and vacation with my family. We've been here about 5 days so far, and outside of baggage delays and crazy cold weather, it has been a great trip so far. Oh yea, it isn't just a trip, it is "Za Trip" as Keller would say.

Today was my first race, and it ended with a big W. I can't believe it, but everything came right and I scored a nice victory. I'm doing another race tomorrow, so I'll have to keep this short . . . Anyway, the race was a Flemish Cyclocross Cup event in Beernem, just north of Gent. (Hometown of Sven Vanthourenhout). I raced the Masters, 1961-1970 age group, which is my UCI category.

The course was pretty strange. It was actually super fun, but the layout of the site was totally different. It was in a green belt, a woodsy strip of land between a big canal, like a river, and the dike along the edge of town. So the course was a long out-and-back, with a mixture of bike path, singletrack, and crazy steeps down to the river and back up the embankment. It wasn't too muddy, but by the end I was pretty covered. Everything was slick.

One scary item was that the bike path was covered with a massive sheet of wet ice. You had to ride the grass along the side, or risk the ice if you wanted faster rolling, were brave, and didn't mind an ice-water roost. Anyway, I got a great start from the 3rd row and hit the dirt in 4th. I gradually moved up and kept the pace high until it was just myself and another guy,Webber and WC Marc Druyts...a true Belgian hard man. who happened to be sporting the rainbow stripes.

We traded the lead for several laps and I thanked my lucky stars (or maybe it was the lucky bib 13 on my back) that us old farts just race for 45 minutes. When I finally heard 3 to go, I was cross-eyed and digging deep. I tried a handful of attacks, but the WC stuck with me like glue. We diced for the singletrack a couple times each lap, with some good bumping too. My wife Sally and daughter Ella were screaming like mad from the pit, where they had my B bike ready to go every lap, thankfully not needed.

With one to go, I drilled it and got a small gap. I kept the gas on, but that dude clawed back and passed me again! But, I noticed that I had an advantage on the 2 insane run-ups - these crazy steep walls. He didn't have my fast feet, at least going up these muddy banks. I attacked one last time going into the final dismount before the finish. Just then, music to my ears, I heard a unidentifiable string of flemish behind me. I hit the road and went full gas.

I snuck a look... nobody. He bobbled or slipped or something! I sat up cruised down the finish straight with the arms up. Yes!

Some photos from the day:

Check out the foot holds of this run up...

Sally, Ella and Pete celebrating.

The Uitslag Beernam

6 year old Ella (and our neighbor!) rocking it in the pits.

I know this face and if you are behind it (like most of us), here's what it looks like to slay the dragon. Belgium.

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