Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gnarly Namur

A million different things could be said about the race at Namur. The course, geographic location, riders, fans, conditions, and on and on.... here's a brief summary of not only the race, but also the atmosphere

We were up at 6:15am on Sunday, making breakfast, loading into the cars and on our way to Namur by 7:00am. It was raining steadily as we maneuvered through the narrow streets that led to the motorway, which we were on for the remainder of the drive to the venue. I drifted off to sleep while driving and awoke just in-time to see the mystical mountain where the race is held, looming above the rest of the city; it was an impending sight to see.

Within the daunting nature of the ancient mountain there is a certain beauty that you're captivated by. I began to imagine an earlier time when there nobles fought for the right to lay claim to this ground, and settle atop the mountain. I deduced that those who fought to become conquerors, were the bravest, toughest men in all the land. Abruptly I was brought out of this daze and back to reality as the car stopped and we had to get out to pick-up the numbers for our own battle. This battle would entail young men pushing their physical and mental limits on a muddy battlefield, complete with treacherous chutes, slippery off-camber, and grueling up-hill run-ups.

After doing two laps on-course, I headed back to pin-up my numbers and warm-up on the trainer. My routine was interrupted when I got off the trainer to get another bottle, the interruption was a small group of fans asking if I had any "rider cards". I had them with me and gave them each a few, they also wanted to take my picture... it was strange to have fans at the race and to have them come up and take interest in the American riders.

© Tom Robertson
The race itself was tough. I was pleased with the start and my ability to fight for position and maneuver in traffic, but I struggled in the off-camber and running sections. I have worked to focus on the good, learn from the bad, and MOST importantly prepare for the next race: Zolder. I am confident in my ability to ride with these guys, on these courses, but it's imperative to focus mentally before, during, and after the races here. If you can't stay in the game mentally the courses will eat you alive.

© Tom Robertson
© Tom Robertson
© Tom Robertson
Speaking of eating, I'm off to have Christmas dinner with the rest of the guys. From all of us here in Belgium, Merry Christmas.

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