A battle ensued today on this hallowed ground, this time between friends rattling not sabers and bolt action rifles, but lightweight carbon fiber cyclocross bikes. Nearly a century ago, this same area where a friendly and fun ‘cross was put on was under siege…turned into a barren wasteland from the (literally) millions of high explosive ordinance that devastated the landscape. Langemark is (in)famous for the battle which ensued here, which turned its landscape from rolling hills into a moonscape. One that when the rains came, it created an uninhabitable sea…yet soldiers (and the rats that fed on the waste of the trenches) made this area their home locked in attrition. Starving, malnourished, cold and sick.
Today the boys raced and raced well on these hallowed grounds of Langemark. It ironically became a war of attrition…favoring those who could run like gazelles of the 40 or so who took the start line in the Master’s age group (Master’s B). The conditions mimicked those like you see above…featuring a soggy, heavy thick course that required you to be a true ‘runner’. In addition to the ‘Boulder’ crew, the race turned out to be a show of American Force. Lots of American Master’s were there such as our friend Jonny Bold, Don Myrah and others from around the US.
Pete Webber took another win (yes, that's 5 for 5) with Brandon not laying down, racing smart and coming in 2nd after being able to put some distance on a strong Ivan Smet (3rd) and Mario Lammens (4th)
Pete’s report follows. His thoughts on the day: “"A true international field and a classic field race. I could hear the WW1 artillery exploding in the distance. Mud holes like bomb craters. Churning through the fields like a tank battalion. So awesome to have a posse of my best friends racing with me today!”
Said Kurt Perham about the race: “Heavy. flat. fields. running. sore legs.”
Ward The WB Baker had his own thoughts: “Sumbitch. That was the most difficult cx race i can recall, 40% running thru 4" to 8" mud. but if it were easy they'd call it golf...."
From Michael Robson: “Pete said we'd be fine, we were not fine. The Belgian word for Cyclocross is Veldrijden. Translation: Field racing. Well, true to form our first foray in Belgian 'cross was a mudder. Not mud like in Colorado, not mud like Bend but up to your ankles, 'oh my god I'm going to lose my shoes' mud. This is hard man's Belgian mud, and lots of it. We estimate we were running at least 40% of each lap, but not really running, we're talking running in up to your ankles peanut butter mud. Entire fields of unridable mud interspersed with small sections of pavement. Pete won, Dubba second, Brian pulled out a stunning ride for 8th, Kurt and WB in there somewhere with me bringing up the rear of our group in 14th. WB and I didn't sleep at all last night and had equally bad legs.”
Finally Brian Hludzinski says: “Keller almost feel like you're here, we're always saying "Greg would love this" (ED: Awww, weepy. Thanks Bri.) Shift Baker and I one more spot, 8th and 9th places. The course tape or rather vinyl rope doesn't give like our races, rope burns from poaching fresh grass following Mario. The hardest part of the race was deciding when to start running. The post race Pils and frites saved the day and being parked next to the local chocaltier didn't hurt, I deserved it.”
We'll get some words from Dubba in a follow up report. I call this one giant ass kicking. HUP!
The video update…
Here is a look around the venue…
And some digital celluloid to whet your appetites:
UPDATE: Awesome pics by our friend Heidi Vandermoere!
The BCS Boys – Brandon, Brian and Pete.
The MASTER we all respect and has become a great friend to BCS – Mario Lammens, Belgian National Champ!
Jonny Bold (Note the grass…)
Webber, Smets, Lammens. A Power trio.
A picture of concentration.
Pete arm’s up. 5 for 5.
The post race ‘hi five’ session.