Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Belgium trip with Rapha women's team

I spent the last Sunday in Belgium with a Rapha Condor women's team. I got the invitation from Rene Groot, who works for Rapha and managing the women's team in the same time. I turned to be the team's mechanic for one day on the Stad Roeselare belgian race.

We met at Rapha office late Saturday afternoon and after loading up the van we headed out to Dover. We taken the ferry to Calais and spent the night in a French hotel on the Belgian- French border.
The team was formed by:
- Hannah Manley (junior)
- Gabriella Shaw
- Charlotte Colclough
- Emma Grant
- Rebecca Curley
- Natalie Creswick

And Rene, Steev and myself were the crew.

I couldn't stay on my ass... never... I headed out for an hour run before breakfast...
Sunday morning after breakfast we drove over Belgium from the hotel and got involved in the race preparation. Steev and me checked over the bikes and fitted race numbers, Rene tried to managing the girls. The junior race started early. Hannah did very well, she finished 2nd!

Hannah nails down

The main race started 13:45. Our 5 girls signed up 12:30 and got ready for the start.

Miss Curley concentrates before start...

All major pro women's team were over there, I seen Garmin - Cervelo, Specialized factory and other big names. I spent a race in the team bus with Steev and Hannah (who had a verbal diarrhoea from the post race adrenaline...). We followed the peleton and picked up our pulled out riders. The tempo was incredible fast and everybody got pulled out, who was 5 minutes more behind the leader group. When the peleton climbed up on Kemelberg ( 9% avg, 20% max, cobbles..) we just had one rider in race. Only Natalie managed to finish of the race.

Emma on the Kemmelberg

After packed in the van, we headed back to Calais and thanks for Rene unbelievable driving skill, we didn't miss the boat!

Personally I didn't have to much to do during the race, but I tried to help everywhere... I hope nobody had a complain! :D
This weekend was an amazing experience for me. I have to say thanks for the whole " Charlie and angels" team for this great weekend and the opportunity. I hope we will see you each other again!

And my thought:
- only one rider finished from our team,BUT I know and seen everybody did the best, that is racing - very tough
- this girls aren't pros, everybody work full or part time and didn't get paid for the racing (and I am nasty now.... but this six ladies still look for ladies and not females with hairy face and deep voice... )
- big respect for Rene, who looks after this girls in his own time and works like a professional team manager and Steev, who helps everywhere....
- I hope the team gets more publicity in the future and hopefully more sponsorship
- and.... I got a big "bag" of motivation again... it is good sign! ;)

( I stolen the pictures from Steev and Kris Claeye, I will upload mine one after my holiday...)


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