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Pre 1997

Chièvres, 1.5-44-10

Racing in Belgium is different from going abroad. You usuallu know most of the competition, so you can guess your place before the race. I was kind of hoping that I would have a chance to win this one, but once I arrived at the Grand Place, I saw there was some serious competition at hand, with names like Stephane Van der Bruggen, Frederic Van Lierde and Thierry Claes. Ok, so I was a bit confused, Frederic only came to cheer his brother on in the sprint race, but I didn't know that until after I had finished :-)

I had a good start for a change, but just didn't reach the leading group. I came closer, but about two meters was the closest I could manage. So I know what to do for Hawai. I got out of the water 40 seconds behind Stephane, and tried to close the gap as quickly as possible. While I had passed the faster swimmers in the first five kilometers, Stephane stayed well out of reach until the start of the last (of 3.5) laps. I passed him just in front of the crowd (really made them wild), but could not get a real gap, so I entered the second transition just a few seconds in front of him. I know that Stephane is not that much faster than I on foot, so I gave myself a chance for the victory.

The run in Chièvres covers two laps and it is definately not flat. I tried to stay ahead but after about about three km, Stephane passed me... I tried to hang on, and even took the lead again for a short while, but just at the end of the first lap, he made a small gap on me on some stairs. I tried as much as I could, but just had to let him go. The chasers were far enough behind us, so I finished second, 15 seconds behind. Still, another good race, which is a good confidence builder, it feels like I am getting closer to my stronger me again, which is a good feeling, and a feeling I missed for at least two years.

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