Monthly Archives: February 2012

Correction. Is-A-Hem

That, ladies and gentleman is how you pronounce Izegem.  And this is the heretofore unseen phenomenon known as the shadow.

Me on Saturday, sitting cozy in the back en route to course recon. for Wednesday’s race.

Two days before, on Thursday, I had a 2.5-hour endurance ride.  I miss the good ol’ days when streets were named things like “Oak” and “16th”.  This is page one (of three) of the turn-by-turn directions I made.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of writing down 14-letter street names, a follow car comes in really handy, as does this little contraption.  Andrew calls it his “junior bullhorn.”  By junior, he’s referring to riders under the age of 19.

Andrew followed me in the car on my 3-hour-with-three-fifteen-minute-intervals ride today, and I would often be pleasantly surprised by his tidbits of encouragement (in addition to directions), especially when a roundabout was navigated correctly.  “Good job girls,” we’d hear.  There was no dealing with complicated codes like “one honk for left, two for right” (which suddenly strikes me as very Paul Reveresque) or looking back for the car’s blinker signal.

Not once did we get lost today.  The intervals felt good in my legs, and I was able to get my position dialed in. We did part of the Kemmelberg which I remembered from a race last year (picture courtesy of Wikipedia).

We are getting rubs tonight! Time to go do nothing.

Izegem

I am currently at the USAC house in Izegem, Belgium awaiting our first race.  The house sleeps 24.  This means there’s 24 separate beds (since sleep = recovery = victories).  I’ve got the room with the view, the 2nd floor corner room.  They may look dorm-like, but each room has a big, modern TV in it to, I’m assuming, encourage sitting (since sitting = recovery = victories).

I was excited about the organization baskets!  This is my view:

The top two things about the house are (1) there are FOUR showers upstairs, which means you almost never have to wait for a shower and (2) dinner is served every night promptly at 6 by chef Nicole.  Tonight was paella night with homemade pudding.  It’s O.K. to be jealous.

There’s also a dedicated massage room upstairs, and a bakery around the corner.  What more could you need?  Better weather might be nice, but then it wouldn’t be racing in Belgium, would it?

We went to an amazing coffee shop this morning before the ride.  We had tried, unsuccessfully, to find one yesterday because most of the places we saw looked more like bars (figures) or restaurants.  Lots of goggling men on bar stools got stared back at through shopfront windows.

Finally, and this was yesterday still, Sam decided to ask for directions.  She spotted a girl our age walking near us with her headphones in.  Sam got her attention, and the girl stopped and pulled out one of her earbuds.  Sam looked in her eyes and with a hopefully expression on her face, said “COFFEE? COFFEE?” just a little louder than necessary while gesturing with her hands in a way that certainly didn’t resemble anything having to do with coffee.  Sam must have looked like a zombie who fed on coffee instead of brains.   The girl replied, “there’s a cafe around the corner, ” in perfect English.

I turned to Sam and said, “you know you can actually ask a question instead of just yelling at them.”

I got shown this morning, though.  I tried speaking to the waitress at the coffee shop that we eventually found in French, but got replied back to in very bad English.  Apparently they don’t speak French here, and some people don’t know English.  Guess I’m outta luck.  The coffee was delicious, though.  And the whipped cream was REAL.  Even the Trix candy that came on the saucer was REAL (as real as a Trix can get, that is).  That stuff they eat at home is cardboard.  I may not come back.