Serskamp Kermesse, 110km’s.
Smashing over broken roads must be a lot of fun as I cannot believe the number of riders that love this
type of racing. Most of the road surfaces in Belgium are broken concrete or pave’ making a 100km race
feel like 150km’s. The pace with which they commit too is also noteworthy as very rarely do the riders
sit up for a rest.
Today’s circuit was around 6kms in length and was predominantly flat with several wind affected
sections making the race more challenging tactically as well as physically. We took off with a flurry of
attacks as per usual. Both Chris and Andrew were very prominent for the first 20minutes. I sat in and
decided to get a look of the course first, and then decided against this as the road hit a crosswind
section. Immediately the field broke-up as riders were pushed into the gutter and out the back.
The wind today would create another element to contest with apart from the rider’s and a demanding
course. After several attacks Chris broke clear and solo up the road. Immediately three riders responded
of which I was one. Once we got to Chris we really began to drive the pace hard. A gap came out quite
quickly as we were off and away.
Eventually the riders we were with began to fatigue as another group bridged across to us. Once these
riders arrived we could again see a further group attempting to bridge to our group. The field looked to
be around half the size of what it was when we departed. Eventually the remaining field came back
together and we were again set for a series of attacks and counter attacks.
Chris was riding very proactively and again initiated a solo move off the front. This time I watched as
several riders bridged across to him. Eventually the pace lifted and a move was formed which I thought
would be the main move. The group rode clear as the remaining riders attempt to organize a chase.
Here in Belgium most of the riders prefer to ride hard in a small group or not at all.
With the front group riding clear the field began to try and break free in small groups so that each of its
members would not be exploited by riders not taking turns in the presence of working rider’s efforts:
such is the advantage of a small working group. Again Andrew Martin and I were riding good position in
an attempt to make any split that rode clear.
Toward the end of the race several riders had broken off into smaller groups as a group of three was
dislodged from the front field. Within this three was Chris Beeck who had been caught out by some solid
attacks for the finish line. Beyond the group of three and the other riders up the road I could also see
the front group. Basically the riders that remained in the race were all within 1minute-45 seconds of the
front markers. It was going to make for a hectic finish!
The two other riders that I had found myself with began to pull harder on the final lap in an effort to
catch the riders some 10 seconds in front of us. However the two groups in front had formed a single
unit and it was now my group of 3 riders versus 7 riders ahead. We all began to pull harder as the finish
line drew nearer. The home straight was a long 2km tailwind finish. I hit out with around 500m to go in
an effort to bridge to the group in front, but only managed to pick up the back markers.
Again Plan B was left with two riders finishing in the top 20. The positives from today’s race were really
Chris Beecks and Andrew Martins form. Both of these riders are riding better than I have seen them go
in the past, which says a lot considering I have ridden with Chris for around 8 years. Young Andrew has
also showed great strength and was even riding alone off the front of the field for a good part of a 6km
lap, showcasing his aerobic fitness.
This all adds to the team’s optimism for the future races. Sam Davis has also joined the squad over here,
so now the team is braced for a solid month of racing. So far we have made a strong showing with the
results sure to come within a short time frame. Thanks again for reading! Brad.