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Pre 1997

Landen, Belgian Club Championships, .75-20-5

Last year, we finished fourth in this race, so you can imagine that some people were hoping that we could get on the podium this year. We even had an extra very strong athlete with Koen Hoeybergs, so it looked good. Then again, one of our five finishers of last year was still recovering from a shoulder injury after being hit by a car. Of course, everybody needs to be in good shape and you just can't control the competition. The team from Atriac would probably be hard to beat, but there were rumours about a team with Luc Van Lierde, Jean Moureau etc, so...

I think we had a good plan for the swim, having a pacer and the others swimming in revers order of their swim strength. That way, when someone is struggling, he can be passed and thus gets a fresh pair of feet to swim in. All was well and the swim was pretty easy for me.

So we jump on the bike. Oh yes, clip ons were not allowed. Seems that it is not allowed in drafting races. Not that this is a drafting race (you can draft your team mates, but not other teams), but the rules seem to say "short distance SP race". Great that nobody told me before we went to Landen. Must say it feels real weird without bars. I felt like lying down all the time, but obviously couldn't. Mind you, we rode very, very fast. Dirk Van Gossum and Koen Hoeybergs were leading us as incredible speeds. Thus made us lose two athletes already at the very start, not to worry, but we could not afford to lose another. We made up a lot of ground and got back to the transition area with the leaders in sight, well worth the hard effort on the bike. Things were looking good.

Now the run in Landen is not easy, and it immediatly starts with a climb. This one usually kills me. My team is always flying up that hill, and I just can't, I go as hard as I can and am pretty dead (and behind my team) when I get on top. Kris Schepers has the same feeling, so I urged my team to start slowly, mostly for my own sake, I must admit. But I was running strong, I have always been one of the weakest runners in my team, but not this time. Kris was not feeling too good, and after a while Karl Verreydt was getting some stomach cramps, slowing him down as well. This actually resulted in me running in front of the rest of my team, a very different sensation indeed. I didn't just want to slow down, as I zqs not sure I could pick up the pace again if necessary. Unfortunately, there was no need, so we didn't have the best run ever.

As a result, we finished sixth, which was a bit below expectations, but at least it makes it easier to do better again next year :-) Atriac were the winners again, by which they proved once more to be the strongers triathlon club in Belgium.

As for my sentiments, I prefer having a hard time from start to finish. Not that it is fun holding the team back, but at least it gives me the feeling of giving all that I have in me. But then, that is exactly why I am a triathlete, why I choose to do an individual sport, why I don't like drafting,...

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