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PEZ Goes Belgian: The ‘Flemish Strawberrycross’

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PEZ Goes Belgian: The ‘Flemish Strawberrycross’

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“I’m by no means happier than once I’m writing.”
~ Ed Hood, as spoken to Martin Williamson from the passenger seat, driving alongside a stage route on the Tour de France.

Pricey Readers – Our beloved colleague and buddy Ed Hood suffered a severe stroke in February.  We don’t anticipate Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to assist Ed along with his future.  Learn the complete publish right here – and please think about donating.

** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to assist Ed **

We’ll be posting a choice of Ed’s work from the previous 16 years, as a result of nice story-telling by no means will get previous.


PEZ Roadside: PEZman Ed Hood was in Belgium final weekend for the ‘6 Days’ of Gent, to see the farewell to ‘t Kuipke Keizer’ Iljo Keisse. When in Belgium in November it’s important to go to a cyclo-cross, and so Ed and his pals took within the Telenet Superprestige Merksplas. PEZ veld kant.

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The ‘Telenet Superprestige Merksplas Cyclo-cross (C1)’ is a little bit of a mouthful, so in these components it’s finest often known as the, ‘Vlaamse Aardbeiencross’ – the ‘Flemish Strawberrycross,’ the world being well-known for the cultivation of the candy purple beauties.

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And there to greet us was Flanders’ largest strawberry, that boy goes to want a couple of gallons of cream to go together with him. It’s not a correct weekend in Belgium for those who don’t absorb a ‘cross; we used to go to the Koksijde ‘Duinencross’ within the sand dunes beside the North Sea however that was moved to a different date, then it was the Hasselt ‘cross the place we noticed the nice Svn Nys win – however this 12 months we headed north to Antwerp and past to get our repair of mud and sand.

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The benefit of crosses is that you simply’re free to wander among the many camper vans, mechanics and bikes – heaven for gear geeks. The primary man we got here throughout was Eli Iserbyt, ‘doing the professional factor’ and getting his image taken with a delighted younger fan.

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Iserbyt’s Ridley’s high tube carries the motto of all good ‘crossers.

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And while on the highway and even the boards the discuss is all of ‘tubeless,’ nearly everybody within the ‘cross world nonetheless run these lovely Dugast tubulars. In 2002 Richard Nieuwhuis took over the A. Dugast model from the French founder and all of the tyres are actually handcrafted in The Netherlands. On the different finish of the size in addition they do very gentle, super-fast, beautiful pink colored monitor tubulars.

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A ‘cross mechanic’s lot isn’t a straightforward one, they’ve to wash the bikes twice, as soon as after the nice and cozy up after which once more after the end. On a course like this, with clinging mud it’s no enjoyable.

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One of many main points of interest at Merksplas was the looks of rainbow jersey, Tom Pidcock – seen right here collared for the inevitable ‘selfie.’

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His Pinarello was trying a tad dishevelled after the nice and cozy up however the mechanics would quickly kind that – notice the curved ‘carrying’ indentation within the high tube, a function Pidcock himself requested from Pinarello.

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1 x transmission is gaining floor within the ‘cross world, particularly on a quick parcours reminiscent of this – it additionally attracts a lot much less mud, entrance changers actually collect the muck. Notice the neat chain information to forestall the chain bouncing off the chainring on tough surfaces.

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That stated, this was one mucky course so bike adjustments each lap had been a ‘should.’

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One piece of trickery I’ve by no means witnessed earlier than was the mechanics meticulously drying each inch of the bikes – together with the chain – with compressed air after cleansing them.

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And no ‘cross is full and not using a journey to the frites caravan; Dave’s brother Hugh additionally fashions the strawberry snoods freely distributed across the parcours.

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Within the girls’ race Dutch World Champion, Marianne Vos regarded the half nevertheless it undoubtedly wasn’t her day, ending in an uncharacteristically lowly tenth place.

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US Champion, Clara Honsinger completed one place forward of the World Champion.

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Winner, Ceylin Alvarado was in a category of her personal, the 24 years-old former World Champion began like a rocket and was by no means to be seen once more – she was transferring visibly quicker by the technical sectors than every other rider

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Zoe Backstedt – seen right here warming down with Clara Honsinger was proud of a strong fifth place end.

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While even Marianne’s sneakers regarded depressed.

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There was the standard ‘staff dash first man pace’ cost for the primary nook with the auto concentrate on my digital camera latching on to Tom Pidcock and never so eager on Belgium’s Laurens Sweeck who was already on the head of affairs.

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Sweeck is ‘man of the second’ with this his fourth win of the season – and in 13 begins in UCi ‘crosses his lowest end is fourth.

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By no means out of the highest placings, and an eventual second to Sweeck was Dutch Champion, Lars Van Der Haar, his 1 x transmission proving no handicap.

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After a sluggish begin, Belgian European Champion, Michael Vanthourenhout took an eventual third place. The following day within the Overijse, the tall man from Bruges would high the rostrum.

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‘Man of the season’s begin,’ Belgium’s Eli Iserbyt completed fourth, he’s been struggling not too long ago with again ache and an MRI scan confirmed he’s struggling with sciatica.

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World Champion, Pidcock was in his first ‘cross of the 12 months and discovering his toes, a seventh place end isn’t what he’s accustomed to – however he’d end second to Vanthourenhout subsequent day in Overijse.

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One place behind the World Champion was a uncommon chook, a Spanish “high ‘cross man,” – 4 occasions Nationwide Champion, Felipe Orts who has dominated the game at residence in current occasions. And while Spain isn’t a significant ‘cross nation, his Nationwide Champion’s jersey means he’ll be on first rate begin cash.

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Reminding us of the glory days of Swiss ‘cross when names like Albert Zweifel and Peter Frisnecht dominated the game was trendy Swiss Champion, Kevin Kuhn in ninth place.

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Sand on the bikes had alerted us that there should be a sand part, we arrived on the ‘synthetic’ sand sector, which was in the midst of a discipline in time to see Sweeck blast by, no dismount, simply pure energy.

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At this level some younger girls who had been having fun with one of many sponsoring firms merchandise insisted we take their image – glad to be of service, ladies.

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Iserbyt wasn’t as sturdy as Sweeck by the sand although and needed to dismount.

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As did Pidcock – however he was niftily again within the saddle.

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Orts nevertheless dealt with the sand properly.

And that was that, time to tune to Radio Nostalgie Belgique and head south by the Kennedy Tunnel beneath the Scheldt at Antwerp to Gent and the Kuipke. . .

Highlights: Telenet Superprestige Merksplas Cyclocross [Elite Men]

The publish PEZ Goes Belgian: The ‘Flemish Strawberrycross’ appeared first on PezCycling Information.

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