Hey everyone.. 4/8/2007
Sorry I have been a bit slack with my report.
Finally Belgium has started to get a little bit of good weather so
everyone is getting back into the swing of racing. Last week I raced a
couple of times in a small village of Bambrugge. The first race was a bit
of a shocker with a big crash happening in the first lap and me getting
caught behind then chasing for nearly the rest of the day but the second
race was a little better.
It was a very tough course so I had to make sure I was up the front all
day. I try to go away with a few breaks but none of them seemed to stick.
All the big names were watching each other as were the rest of the
peleton. With a few laps to go an unexpected break snuck off the front and
ended up being the big upset. The legs didn't feel bad but still aren't at
their winning best. Hopefully after a few more races they will be flying
again.
I now have a race on Sun and then probably another during the week. Then from
here till the end of the month its racing twice to three times a week.
Hope all is going well and a big good luck to Brad Edmunds and Grant
Webster who are riding in the tour of Gipsland at the moment.
And also a big Congrats to Matt Jones and my sister Jacinta on thier new
baby boy Issac. All that I know is that everything is well and its BIG!
Mick
 

Hey everyone.. 18/7/2007
Well I have just returned from a very sunny 10 day training camp in Spain.
And it was great to get back into warm weather and perfect sunshine.
Although a couple of the boys in the team didn't really appreciate the 30^
days that we had right from the start.
I went into the camp still not feeling perfect from the cold so the
manager said that I should have a couple of days easy to make sure I'm
perfect before getting into the real training. It was great. Lie one the
beach, beside the pool, on the beach, beside the pool. This was mainly
what my first two days consisted of. Training camps are getting hard these
days!
But after a couple of days I was fit and ready to go.
We put in some massive kms on the bike doing 20 hours in our last three
days alone. I think we had about a bit under 40 hours for the ten days.
So I arrived home yesterday a little tired but happy to be back. It is now
10 in the morning and I'm still tossing up whether to race tonight or have
a bit more of a break. I then have a little two day tour this Sunday and
Monday which I'm hoping to be good in.
So I hope that everything is going well at home and ill try and post
another after the weekend.
Adios Mick
And a big Congratulations to Nathan Oman for his ride. Anyone who has
ridden a tour in Canberra really knows how big of a ride that is. Only the
best riders race there and to take a stage and finish 3rd overall is an
amazing result. Congrats again Nathan and I hope to be reading about more
results from you soon.
 

Hey everyone.. 7/7/2007
I was going to put up a post today about my racing during the week but due
to another cold (making it three and my last for the season) I have been
sidelined again for this week. But some good news still came. Tomorrow we
fly out to Spain for a 10 day training camp on the Island of Majorca. The
manager has decided that it would be great for the legs and the moral to
get out of the bad weather for a while. And then when we return I just
know that the weather is going to be perfect here in Belgium.
We return straight into racing the day after we get back so the legs will
need to snap straight back into racing mode.
Sorry this has to be a short mail but I will post another when I return.
Till then
Adios
 

Hey everyone.. 3/7/2007
Well I had a very interesting race with the pros last Wednesday. We lined
up for what I thought was a 140km road race that had been changed to a
175km road race. No dramas I thought. We got took off under very dark
clouds along side some very big team. Rabobank, Unibet and Chocolate Jaque
just to name a few.
The race was all going to plan for the first 15km then we hit the first
climb. I had great position going in to it sitting in about 10th wheel
till BANG. I just stopped dead in the middle of the road. My crank had
snapped in half and half was connected in my shoe. I had to wait dead in
the middle of the road and hope that no one ran into me. Finally my team
car arrived and quickly pulled a team bike off the roof for me to jump
onto. But still one problem, the crank was still in my shoe and I couldn't
get it out. By the time my manager arrived I was sitting on the group try
as hard as I could. In the end I had to lie down holding a fence post
while we reefed on the other end for me. Would have looked pretty stupid
actually.
So finally I got back on the new bike and took off. It took me about
another 10 km of sneaking back up through the team cars to get on but I
finally made it and was able to finish most of the race still in one
piece.
I raced another interclub on Sunday. Was a pretty uneventful race with a
break getting up the road early and taking the honors. I ran fourth in the
bunch kick to end up 30th for the day.
I now have a big training this week getting ready for two days of racing
next weekend. The team is thinking about getting away to the south for a
weeks training because the weather has been so bad here.
Anyway ill try and write again after next weekend.
Hope all is good
Mick
 

Hey everyone.. 26/6/2007
Just start by saying sorry for being so slack with the race reports. I
think that it has been almost a month since my last post.
I have had a pretty easy June so far. I have only be racing on weekends
and doing lots of big miles during the week to get my base back up. Its
pretty easy work when the weather is good but not so easy when it pisses
down rain everyday.
My last few races have more been trying to survive rather than going for
the win but the form is coming back quickly so I'm looking forward to a big
July. My next race is a race with the pros tomorrow. Its a tough 150 km
course with many cobbled sections and cobbled burgs. I think the aim will
be to ride smartly and stay out of trouble for as long as possible then
see what I can do at the end. Then after tomorrow the real racing starts.
My manager has me riding a massive July. Mainly one day races one after
another. So I cant wait to get stuck into it.
I promise that I will write after this weekend then keep up a constant
post during July. I will have much more to write about.
Hope all is well at home.
Mick

 

Hey everyone.. 4/6/2007
Sorry that it has been a while since my last post. Over the past two
weeks my mid season break has actually been extended due to illness.
Another beautiful cold caused by this beautiful wet Belgium weather.
My races last weekend had to be cancelled. I tried to race last Wednesday
but came back a couple of days too early. I only last an hour and a half
in soggy conditions.
After a couple of good training days I was able to get back into proper
racing today with a Kermesse just near my local village. I still wasn't
sure on how the legs would be feeling after such a long break. The race
was pretty fast from the start with no one getting away early. In the last
few laps it really started to break up so I pushed forward to make sure I
was caught out the back. With a couple of laps to go a group of 24 riders
snuck off the front and unfortunately were able to stay away till the finish.
The final 2kms were very windy ones with one corner after another. I hit
the bunch through the corners to try and get a gap. It worked. I buried my
head for the last kilo a just rode. I came across the line in 25th. Happy
with how the legs felt.
I now have a big training week with my next race being next Saturday. I
fell the form coming back so I'm really looking forward to it.
Hope all is good at home and congrats to who ever is keeping the Internet
site up and running. Its great to be able to catch up and read about all
the racing at home. So keep it up!
Till next time
Mick
 

Hey everyone..22/5/2007
Yesterday I had my first criterium of the European season. It was in a
city called Denain in the north of France. Our team was one of only three
Belgium teams selected in a very international criterium. This meant that
our manager wanted to put in a good display.
The race was 65 laps of about a 1.2km or something course. A total of
80km. Of course being from Australia and growing up racing criterium after
criterium I was really looking forward to it.
The pace was right on from the start so I made sure that I was always in
the top ten to make it easier out of the corners. Three pro riders jumped
clear after only 5 laps a very quickly got a gap. The three guys were from
big teams which meant that none of their team mates were willing to chase.
At the half way point with an average speed of around 48km an hour the 90
strong starting peleton had been reduced to about 50. It was FAST.
Even at these speeds the leading three not only stayed away from the feild
but actually took a lap with three to go. Crazy.
I kind of stuffed up the sprint a little at the end and crossed the line
in 27th place. Im happy with how the legs are feeling now after my break.
My next race is on Tuesday with maybe another on Wednesday. Then I think
it will be another big interclub next Sunday which I hope to be really
good in.
So till then.. hope everything is good at home
Mick
 

Hey everyone..15/5/2007
Well after a good couple of weeks break I am now back in racing. I decided
to race my first race the first day after my break.. wasn't such a good
idea. In 60km winds and pouring down rain, the front seat of the team car
looked a pretty good sight for sore legs.
But at least I got a couple of good hours in racing which has now got me
ready for Thursday. Its a big criterium in the north of France.
I then have the weekend off racing before starting on Tue again.
I have to get going now so I'm sorry that this has to be a short email but
I will write a full report after Thursday. Hope all is well at home..
Mick
 

Hey everyone.. 5/5/2007
Well my first half of the season has come to an end. I now a few days off
the bike and another week recovery training.
Last Sunday was the final race and definitely the hardest race I have ever
been in. It was of course the Tour of Flanders. We had 200 starters with
23 different countries represented. The atmosphere (sorry about spelling)
was incredible. All teams were presented to the crowd and interviewed at
the start of the race. You really felt like a celebrity.
The race kicked off at 12 noon with motor bikes everywhere and helicopters
flying above. At the end of the big lap (100km) there was only 90 guys
still left in the race. Up to this point I had ridden the perfect race.
Always in the top ten over the cobble sections but still keeping out of
the wind. Then we hit the local laps. In the 20km local laps there were 4
cobble sections with 3 of them being climbs. Crazy racing! Its like a
bunch sprint everytime you come to the next section because everyone wants
to be in the top ten.. I love it. After the first lap the bunch had split
to pieces. The peleton was no more with riders just riding as hard as they
could till the finish. It was the hardest hour and a half of my life. With
one lap to go we more more than 3 minutes behind which means we had to
pull out. A bit disappointing that I wasn't allowed to finish but still the
greatest experience of my life. An AG2R rider from Russia won with riders
coming in after that split to pieces in groups of 2s and 3s.
After Sunday I got to have one recovery day before again heading off with
the bike. This time it was with the Elite team on training camp in
Germany. It was a great few days away. Good for the training but most of
all good for the team moral. But I am now home again relaxing and taking
it easy. My lovely girlfriend is taking good care of me making sure I don't
strain myself too much.. its a hard life haha
My next race is on the 12th of may. I then have a big criterium in the
north of France on the 17th which I hope to be good in. So I will send off
another report in a couple of weeks.
Zo tot dan
Mick
 

 

 

Hey everyone.  26/4/2007
Well yesterday I finished my last preparation race for this coming
weekend. We had 10 or so races in three weeks so it has been pretty
hectic. But even though it has been tough.. thankfully all of the hard
work is beginning to pay off.
My last three races have all been just outside the top ten with the legs
feeling better than ever.
Last Sat/Sun we had a two day tour. The first day a break with 7
Lithuanians in it road off the front and stayed away all day. They took
the win with the peleton coming in a couple of minutes down. Not much to
report. But the Sun was something different. We had a 125km road race and
from the start my legs felt good. A 12 man break rode off the front in the
first lap and started to look dangerous. So half way through the race I
attacked the peleton in the cross wind section and took a bunch with me.
It took us a few laps be we finally made it across to the front group.
Just as we did a few guys attacked again and everyone just seemed to let
them go. They quickly got 1.30 on our group with only two laps remaining.
I knew that I had to be with them so I hit our bunch again only taking 3
guys with me. We worked perfectly all putting in 100% and coming around to
get the bell we made contact. The lead group was now 20 men strong. The
last lap was just attack after attack which resulted in a few guys
slipping off the front in the last couple of ks. We came in and I got 2nd
in the kick giving me 11th for the day. The peleton came in 5 mins down.
Yesterday was just a normal elite kermesse race. Not really that exciting.
After the first lap is was obvious that it was going to finish in a bunch
sprint so I just waited and relaxed in the bunch. The sprint was very
messy with the entire 142 strong peleton going for the win. Some of
Kazakstan guys tried to control it at the end but didn't have much luck.
Lucky for them their main man was fast enough anyway. I finished 13th in
the kick. A little disappointed that I wasn't in the top five but I cant
complain.
I now have an RDO today then spend the next couple of days preparing for
Sunday. My next email will come on Mon with what I hope will be very good
news.
Till then
Mick
 

Hey everyone..13/4/2007
Well I am now sitting down recovering after a very busy week of racing.
Because we have our big races coming up at the end of this month we have
been racing flat out to make sure we are in the best shape.
Last Sat I raced a local kermesse course with 130 starters. Once again
missed the break that went with two to go but managed to come second in
the bunch kick giving me a top 20.
On Mon we had a big interclub race with the Elites with 190 starters.
These are the races that all the pro teams are watching to see who they
might like for next year. It was a 160km gutter session. Massive cross
winds and narrow roads make for some dirty racing. The bunch split in to
about 10 pieces. By the time we reached the end I was in the third bunch
but with a 200m steep climb to finish I didn't have much left in the sprint.
Then yesterday I had another elite kermesse course with 140 starters which
ended in my best result so far this year. I was a race that was on from
the start but with 3 laps of a 12km course to go it was all back together.
A break of 7 men went off the front and I knew that I should have been
with them but I was caught out of position. The next lap around a mate
came up to me and said that it was time to go. Up the climb we hit the
bunch and the two of us had a small break. Soon 10 more guys came across
and we just started driving it. Coming around to get the bell we knew that
we weren't going to get bought back so our group started attacking each
other. It was one of the hardest 12km of my life. It was just SPRINT
SPRINT SPRINT. By the time we got to the finish line none us us had
anything left to actually finish it. We all just crossed the line where we
could. I finished 17th.
I now have a couple of days recovery before another big weekend this
weekend. Then its another to weeks flat out racing before the tour of
flanders. So its good that the form is coming on now.
Anyway enough for now. Hope all is good at home.
Mick
 

Hey everyone.7/4/2007
At the end of this month I have my biggest race of the season. The U23
Tour of Flanders. This is a UCI U23 world cup event. I was looking through
cyclingnews.com when I found this article. Its the parcourse of the Ronde
Van Vlaanderen. Our U23 race is a bit different but it gives you an idea
of the climbs we do. The pro one is obviously longer and tougher but our
version actually has a harder finish.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/apr07/rvv07/?id=/features/2007/flanders_climbs07
Now our course doesn't do all of these climbs but is just as tough.
We do a big lap of about 100km then three local laps of 20km to make 160
all up.
In the big lap we do..
Climb 3.. Kluisberg
Climb 4.. Knokteberg
Climb 5.. Old Kwaremont
Climb 6.. Paterberg
Climb 9.. Taaienberg
Climb 15.. Ten Bos
Climb 14.. Valkenberg
Climb 13.. Berendries
In that order.
But it then gets worse. After the Berendries we ride about 15km back to
the start in Oudenarde then start the local laps. In every local lap there
are three major cobbled climbs. All in a space of 10km!
Climb 8.. Steenbeekdries
Climb 9.. Taaienberg
Climb 10.. Eikenberg
Crazy!!!
Well anyway thought that you may be interested in the Belgium racing life.
And you can all stop complaining about the bad roads in Echuca.
Hope all is good and will send through another race report soon..
Mick

 

 

Hello All.. 25/03/07
Well it has been a pretty eventful past couple of weeks. I have raced a
few times since my last email with some mixed results.
My second race of the season was a local Kermesse course that I was hoping
to have some luck in to impress a hometown crowd. The race was going
perfectly to plan. We started with 170 starters and with two laps of the
8km course to go there was only 30 left in it. Our team put a man in the
break with 4 others and managed to hold off the field till the finish. But
the bunch was still racing for sixth place so we couldn’t start getting
lazy. There was a short sharp climb with 2km to go and with a couple of
tight corners on the decent, everyone knew that if you could be top three
over the climb then you were in good running for the sprint. The bunch was
going crazy before the hill and I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to
move up. I saw an opening on the inside of the road and threw my bike into
it. I got through the gap and thought that I was set. Then BANG! I hit a
pothole and double punctured. So badly that I couldn’t even make the
finish line. Bloody Belgium roads. But oh well.. manager was wrapped so is
were some positives from the race.
It was a perfect week of weather last week so our team did a mini
training camp to get in some kms, as well as team testing in the Lab. We
didn’t have any big races on the weekend so we could afford to be a bit
tired. Having the first test of the season is always a nervous time. Its
where they hook you up to all soughts of machines and make you ride until
you crack. Its a chance for the doctors and coaches to see what programs
they should be writing you (whether that be more extensive or intensive)
and a chance for the managers to see who has been putting in the hard
yards in the off season and who has the early form. Thankfully my test was
very good so I had nothing to worry about. Then on the weekend I decided
to race anyway but still felt the big weeks training in my legs and only
managed to just run in the top thirty.
But unfortunately, typically Belgium, the weather has turned again and
this week we have had four days of snow and freezing temperatures. And
with that comes the danger of getting sick. I did everything perfectly to
try and avoid it but I couldn’t hide from it. I have now had two days off
the bike and Doctors orders are that im not able to race this weekend but
will be fine for next Wednesday. Next Wednesday being one of our biggests
races of the season. If I pull off a top five next Wednesday then I’ll
shout everyone a drink when I return.
Anyway for now I’m going to head back to the warm couch in front of the
fire and get back to the playstation. The only thing it seems I’m allowed
to do at the moment.
Hope your all getting sunburnt
Mick

 

Hello everyone..
Well I arrived safely in Belgium without TOO many hasstles. Except that on
the way over our flight was delayed by about 6 hours which ment we did a
bit more airport time than we should have.
I was expecting Belgium to be freezing cold, pissing down rain and blowing
a gale.. and it hasnt dissapointed. Most days here are around the 9 at
the moment but you still get the occational 4 or 5. But tis not the
temperature that is the killer.. its the rain.
anyway enough depressing talk. I had my first race today. it was the U23
het Volk. the pros raced the same race today but we started earlier so
that we were finished by the time they came in. It was great because the
crowd was 10 times bigger than normal because they were already getting
their positions.
I think that we had 180 or so starters. It was pissing down rain and only
4 at the start so after a few laps alot had already dropped off. I sat in
the bunch for most of the race waiting for the right time or hoping for a
bunch sprint. with ten kms to go it was all together and my legs felt too
good to be true. A small group went off the front with 8 to go and for
some reason the bunch just let it go. it didnt look like it was going to
come back so i could either try and jump across or wait and sprint for a
top ten. stupidly i thought that i could catch them by myself with three
to go. i hit the bunch and got a small gap. about a km up the road i
quickly regretted my decision and i dont think my legs were to impressed
either. but i hung in there. with a km and a half to go i thought i may be
able to hold them off. but it wasnt to be. i got swept up with about 400
to go and went very quickly back through the bunch. oh well.. another
lesson learnt.
My next race is next sunday. It is just a normal kermesse course in my
local area so i hope to do well in fornt of a home crowd.
and im going to be good this year and try and send more emails.. but we
will see how long it lasts.
hope all is good at home and that you all get burnt from your stupid sun.
Till next time.. Mick