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.
Vans, campers, sprinters, and all sorts of customized rigs are essential when dealing with the frequently horrible conditions.
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.
Our van was easy to find ... behind the cafe, beside the chicken coop at the base of the climb.