Cyclocrossers – we lost a favorite son this weekend in Marc Druyts. Marc unfortunately passed away this weekend due to cardiac arrest after participating in a road race near Kessel, not far from his home. Druyts, 48, was the treasurer Flanders Mountain Cup series and an extremely well liked and well respected racer in the elite with out contract and master's races. Marc leaves behind a wife and two daughters. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
For those of you that are new to the sport, Marc is…well he is Belgian cyclocross and Master’s ‘cross to its very essence. He most certifiably is a legend of our sport and worthy of the blue Master’s World Champion jersey.
Pete Webber with a very shocked Marc in his Master’s World Champion’s Kit after Pete came and stormed into the Master’s races in Belgium – Beernem, December 2009.
I had heard the true ‘tales’ of Marc before my trip to Belgium to race at Worlds in 2008 – and where I was able to brush shoulders with this Master’s champion. One of those tales which set the stage before my trip on the aggressive nature of the racing in Belgium was told to me by my good friend Mark ‘Howie’ Howland – a starter at World’s in Mol for nearly every year over roughly a decade. The story, in Mark’s words was this…
“The call up procedure was done completely randomly in Mol…even the prior year’s World Champion himself Marc Druyts was lined up last. He seemed anxious, while I was trying to figure out how to somehow finish in the top half of the field from where we were some 65 guys back. That's when Rudy (ed.- De Bie – a good family friend to Howie) was standing on the railing in the staging area leaning over to tell me to follow "that" guy..pointing directly back to Marc. Marc then moved himself and his bike a few more meters from the last row, puzzling us all. Upon the ‘bang!’ of the gun, while the sound of people still clipping in their pedals was heard (some not even yet clipped in!), Marc was off like a lightening bolt. From his position meters behind the peloton, he used that momentum and speed to blast though the field and past the ‘chaff’ in the back of the race. He went from the back to the front group in two laps, and went on to win the World’s yet again from a four man group. Needless to say, I was in shock and awe, at how anyone could have done what he did that day. I thought he was hopelessly optimistic (I'm still shaking my head as I write this...) The gun went off, the school bell rang, and class was in session on that day.
I'll never forget it. Ever.”
Pete and Marc slaying each other in Beernem, December 2009
Marc is 3rd in the procession of riders running through this heavy classic course Waregem, January 2010
So the point of this post is simple: keep the memory of this legend alive. There is no other way to describe him other than: complete bad-ass.
Highlights of Marc’s World’s accomplishments…