Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ranks and Placards

Creative Commons License

Search Page Section
« Za Webber Trip 2010 - Vorden with a 'V' in Victory. | Main | Za Webber Trip Redux–Captain America Returns »

Za Webber Trip 2010–Balegem or bust

I think that the Belgian gambling mafia is on to Mr. Webber as he continues to demonstrate that the Americans take the sport we all love VERY seriously. He by this point is completely screwing with the odds. Pete pulled off yet another win on Belgian soil, this time in Balegem. Have a read and a view of the photo essay…

Za Webber Trip: Balegem Race Report

The Balegem circuit is great, and the atmosphere is even better. I raced here last year, and was really excited to return to this icon of the Flemish Cup. It is situated around a cafe, a farm and a forest in the countryside outside the village of Balegem, just 20 minutes from our base in Oudenaarde. The cafe - The Feestzaal Steenput - is well-known and managed by former Tour De France rider Rudy Colman.  Although I have not done many Belgian races, I think Balegem defines the awesomeness of grassroots Belgian cyclocross. All the elements are in place, and the result is simply a thing of beauty. Sally and Heidi Vandermoere did a wonderful job snapping photos, and I'll let those images tell the story. Check out my 1-minute video of the 17-18 junior race here:



And now for the Balegem photo essay:


I Love Veldrijden (Cyclocross)


There are 21 races in the Vlaamse Cup, all within about a 1 hour radius. This year, Balegem also served as the Provincial Championships for East Flanders



The cafe Feestzaal Steenput is also race headquarters. Inside is registration, rider's changing area, and of course food and drink.


Registration is very professional and efficient. No paperwork needed. The first official scans your bar code, you sign next to your assigned number, pay a couple euros, and collect your number.


The numbers are re-usable. Return it after the race and get a deposit back.

Bike racing is a family activity and part of a healthy lifestyle ;-}


Vans, campers, sprinters, and all sorts of customized rigs are essential when dealing with the frequently horrible conditions.


Every racer has a couple of mechanics, helpers and plenty of supporters.

Like the cars, bikes are new. While cars tend to be shades of gray, white is the most popular shade for fiets.

The spectators gather at the technical steeps. I'm guessing that plenty of them walked from home.

This gentleman is a local legend and races every weekend. I talked with him after the race and we traded stories. He has ridden Mont Ventoux over 100 times and toured from Belgium to Moscow this summer. The fellow in the background looks like he's been to a few races as well.

Ella loves bringing my spare bike to the pit and often insists on holding it during the race too.

The rider's changing area is full of interesting rituals. In this photo, a rider has arranged his gear very precisely for his post race clean up.

Steep drops and deep ruts are the crux at Balegem. There are 3 of these drops in a row.

The Jenever (Dutch gin) vendor is ready to provide both types of warmth for his customers.

A discerning spectator.

Mini-supporter ready for the afternoon.

Now for some racing action. Choose a rut and stay in it.

Mario and I take different lines on the run-up. Neither one provided much traction.



Mario focused on the task.

I'm in full attack mode, trying to gain time on this long power climb.

Victory. The newspaper Het Laaste Niews (The Latest News) is the title sponsor of the race series and countless other bike races over the decades.

Flowers are essential.

Family and friends.


Our van was easy to find ... behind the cafe, beside the chicken coop at the base of the climb.

Bike washing station.

The results.

Post-race cold beer and hot soup in the cafe.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>