What I learned in Belgium and Holland…

Things I learned this trip:

  1.  There are 2 sides of Belgium.  The Flemish side, and the French side.  I like the French side.  I am bias to the French.
  2. Holland has a lot of bricks.  Brick roads.  Brick houses.  Brick everything.  Very orderly with their bricks.  It made me want to make it disorderly.
  3. I was in Germany for about 20k and didn’t have any speed limits.  And then we did again.  I prefer speed limits.
  4. Belgium and Holland have good coffee, meat, and eggs.  They also have excellent hospitality.
  5. When in doubt, add some j’s, aa’s, and k’s in random places and you can speak Dutch.  And to give it some flair, you might as well roll your r’s.
  6. I even felt petite at times in the flatlands of Holland.  It was a land of giants.
  7. I think I compete in one of the hardest sports there is.  Period.  Bike racing is hard.
  8. You don’t have to have hills to make a race hard.  Wind counts.  Small roads count.  200 girls funneling through said terrain counts.  Bike racing is hard.  Didn’t I just say that?
  9. European time is still European time.  Save the rushing for the autobahn.  Enjoy your coffee.  Enjoy your food.  Relax.  You can’t take it “to-go”.
  10. Bike paths are appropriate to race on.  Goat roads are another excellent idea.  What is a goat road?  I will give you a hint.  It is smaller than a bike path.
  11. Dwingeloo was exactly like it sounds.  Pleasantville with a Dutch twist.  Where everybody knows your name, your napkins are pressed, and you eat hare with forefoot.  Rare.  I know that was a meat eating rabbit that I ate.  That puts me higher up on the food chain.
  12. Little chain rings are optional.  I only had to shift into my “little ring” in 2 of the 9 races.  I obviously only need a big ring from here on out.
  13. Big cement looking trucks do not actually have cement in them.  Or water.  Cover your nose, pedal faster, and get out of the way.  There are several different ways you can say “manure” in Dutch.  And it is constantly being sprayed throughout the fields.  Avoid at all cost.
  14. Staging for a race starts 45 minutes prior.  Don’t miss it.  You will never see the front of the race if you don’t line up there.
  15. Neutral roll out means get your armor on, claws out, and fight, fight, fight for your position.
  16. Don’t put the sour milk in your coffee.  It curdles.
  17. Sidewalks and driveways and lawns are made to be used to gain position.  You don’t have to go around the roundabout.  Go through it.  Hop curbs.  Use whatever method you can find.  Be creative.  Get position.
  18. Get position.
  19. Get position.
  20. Get position.

Photo by John Pierce PhotoInternational

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