June 15, 2011 – Today we rode to our last Belgian Kermesse in De Pinte, 18km from home. While we were sad that it was our last, we were eager to make our presence known in the race. We did nine laps of a 10km course, similar to a typical road race in Canada. The course was mostly flat, with the exception of three overpasses crossing the motorway, which, by Belgian standards, would be considered three small hills! The other main obstacles in the course were speed bumps coming into the finishing stretch, roundabouts and wet roads, and thankfully a short bout of rain ended before the race began.
Jasmin [Glaesser] and I did a good job of staying near or at the front of the pack for a good chunk of the race, helping to shut down any attacks and chasing the few small breaks that got away. Girls were attacking pretty consistently throughout the entire race, setting a hard pace. I managed to attack a couple of times but unfortunately, nothing stuck and I was quickly swallowed by the peloton as girls counterattacked, leaving me to help chase.
After avoiding a couple of crashes and canine interferences, Jess [Hannah] made her way to the front of the pack to put in a valiant effort by attacking up the overpass, however, she was unable to establish a break. As we entered the final lap, I made my way to the front of the pack to launch another attack. This time I was able to establish a significant gap and could see someone bridging up to me, however, I think we both underestimated our fatigue after 80km, as we didn’t last long before we were brought back.
Afterwards, I tried to stay near the front and maintain good positioning for the sprint, however, I did so half a lap too soon and was shuffled back by an aggressive pack entering the final stretch. Jasmin, however, managed to hang onto a good lead-out wheel and sprinted for 4th place, just shy of the podium. Our first top-5 finish, we’ll take it!
With just one more UCI stage race ahead of us, our Belgian racing experience seems to be flying by and we can’t express enough how thankful we are to everyone who has contributed to make this possible!