GP Sven Nys:

More of the same.

Not feeling like I am riding full steam.

Do I have to go?Getting a royal ass kicking from the Belgians.

Today was the GP Sven Nys in Baal. A mere 20 minute drive from my house in Tielt-Winge.

Verge and I arrived a few hours early (as usual for me, 5 hours before my start time is not uncommon) and it was kinda drizzly out. The last few nights have been heavy with rain, I knew the course would be muddy and rutted so I wanted to take a hand full of laps early and register and chill out a little before getting ready.

The race today presented many learning experiences. I will share them with you.

There are specific 1-2 hour blocks in which you are allowed to register for your race, not before and certainly not after. These are typically posted on the race website or flyer or billboard on the side of some building. There are not as many race categories as we have back in the US of A. Usually Elite, Beloften, Juinores, Dames and sometimes Nieuwelingen. Today there were 3 races. Elite+Beloften combined (u23-they got a yellow number), Juinores and Nieuwelingen.

I arrived just after the Nieuwelingen had finished up and went to register. “Too early! Comme back et twelfe.” in perfect English. I went over and prerode the course just as a light rain began.

Parking? Yeah right.Lesson one: Registering for you race in Belgium is easy. You should have contacted the promoter weeks before hand and have start money secured or not. I did not need to show up 3 hours early figuring in time to deal with registration.

…within half a lap of the course the sky became dark, the temperature dropped and hail started pouring. Matt Hall, it was like that time we rode mountain bikes up on Larch mountain. Except with hail. The course was flooded. I was riding through rivers of water just rushing down the course. I was drenched and shivering and decided to do a couple more laps and go back to the car to change and warm up.

Lesson two: Err on the side of bringing too much gear. I was drenched; and neglected to bring a third set of spandex or spare socks. Instead of getting to sit on the trainer in the pouring rain in a warm, dry kit. I sat in the car and waited till the last second to throw on my skinsuit and get 20 minutes on the trainer before dashing off to the start.

My race had about 45 starters. Maxime Lefevre was present, if you have not heard, he missed his doping test at Middelkerke a few days ago and has been busted for doping in the past. I was surprised to see him at the start. Bart Wellens took a good spill in the first lap. I rode past him limping around and then he jammed past me a minute later. I tried to get on his wheel. No dice.

Can someone please get on top of making some of these?The first 2 laps were ok and then. Nothing. No legs, no nothing. I fell off the group I was with in an uphill muddy section, crashed into the barriers a couple laps later in the same spot that Wellens hit the deck, did a face plant a few corners later, rode four more laps by myself and finally dropped out when Sven Nys lapped me near the pits.

The course was challenging, much like the Azencross course. The nature of the mud here is unreal. I am still shaking my head about watching this U23 kid riding a section I had been running every lap. How the hell?! I had this idea in my head about the racing here being faster with less singletrack and better groomed courses.


This shit is literally “field rides”. The Sauvie Island race is the closest thing to it we have raced back home. Combine Sauvie Island and the Flying M race. Find a huge muddy field, put up some course markers and off you go.

You should be reading Tonkin’s race reports. They are always high quality. He seems to be echoing my sentiment and experience with the courses and racing. While certainly a better bike racer than I, it is good to know that we are going through similar motions over here. The racing is just hard. Damn hard.

Lesson three: Parking? Balancing getting to the race early enough to find parking yet, not too early to spend 3 hours napping in the car before your race is a challenge. The Belgians have it figured out. Get an RV, plaster your sponsors and your face on it, drive to the race super early then sit on your trainer and watch TV before your start. Seriousy, the races are all held in these tiny towns; the spectators park a 30 minute walk away from the race and the renners (racer) parking is totally a free for all. There is a “general” renners direction but the streets are tiny, tiny, tiny!

I’ve gotten in the habit of looking for the Fidea trucks and making a beeline for them, hoping that there is space somewhere nearby.

Tomorrow is the GP Sint Niklass. My last race of my 06-07 cx season.


5 comments for “GP Sven Nys:”

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading about your European cross trip Molly. I think your doing great. I’ve seen you race for a few years now in Portland and I can’t believe how fast you’ve become (and still getting faster). Go out and kick some ass tommorow! You represent Portland and the US well.

    Molly for WORLDS!!!

    Posted by Rich | January 1, 2007, 4:29 pm
  2. Dang, I’m loving your reports! Pain, adversity! Cigarette smoke! I (almost) wish I was over there getting trampled with you. Have fun riding in the pond at St. Niklaas, that’s a cool race.

    Posted by josh snead | January 2, 2007, 9:37 am

    go molly

    go molly

    go molly

    (effin awesome writing… )

    Posted by gewilli | January 2, 2007, 12:58 pm
  4. Hell yes. Good for you for experiencing the real deal. Bike riding and all it can involve is pretty great, ain’t it?

    Posted by ian | January 2, 2007, 5:11 pm
  5. Hey Molly,

    Great race reports. Welldone at St Niklaas- looked tough and sooooo slipppery!!

    Whats your email?

    Ciao Gabz x

    Posted by Gabby | January 3, 2007, 5:41 am

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