The Mountain Journal
by Chris Fisher
The day to skidattle has arrived. It may seem so unbelievable because I've been looking forward to this for such a long time. It was the carrot in front of the horse and I must say the carrot has paid off in a big way. But now that I've caught it, the best is yet to come.
I woke up at 7:30 this morning so Colleen could give me a ride to the airport before her soccer game. I was at DIA by 10:25 and my flight didn't leave until 2:10 pm - lots of readin' and relaxin'. Don't ya know I caught up on the oh so important trial of the Juice Man which is being crammed down my throat as somehow crucial to the welfare of earth. Oh yeah - I read that Bob Dole's getting serious about inhabiting the White House. Thank God for red necks with the power of 1,000 blazing suns at their finger tips and no money for education (because Bob himself will have proven that none is necessary to fill the seat of commander in chief while spitting endless amounts of diarrhea to each and every one of us if he gets elected.).
So anyway, I'm on my plane to Holland. I'm tired, excited, hungry and hoping someone will pick me up at the airport in Amsterdam (I'm watching the Northwest rock video that, I guess, is supposed to get me fired up to fly Northwest airlines - didn't work - maybe I'm too hungry).
9:15 A.M. I'm in Holland! Instantly lost in a haze of Nytol and in the airport. Finally get my bike and find Paul and Jos, get to the apartment and meet J.D. and James (unbelievable: U.S. jersey, cut off tights that are supposed to look like knickers - they don't- ) I build my bike and go for an easy ride with James, J.D. and watch Jos in his club race. Home for dinner and bed. Met Bink and Sandra.
10:00 A.M. we leave for the Championships of Northern Holland. Not the best race to do at first. 100 start an 80 km crit in 45 degrees and rain. I'm last in the pack for 20 minutes and already there are only 35-40 left. I drop back and ride with J.D.'s group for ten minutes then we stop and only 20 are left. Crazy, good meal in restaurant on way home.
Ride easy in the morning with Sandra, J.D. and James (insanity has set in). Amsterdam exploring for a while then training race. No warm up and didn't feel too good at the start but I felt better as we went on and escaped with 3 laps to go - 2 of us then one more bridged, then one more and we had about 10 seconds on the pack at the finish. My legs were fried so my sprint was nothing (too much work). I got 4th and won 7.50 gildars (5.00 American). It was fun. Then the "Ajax" soccer team won and huge celebration ensued in Amsterdam. We (J.D., James "Mr. Red Light District", Jos, Paul, Bink, Sandra, and I) checked out the freaks. Then came home and slept...
Woke up and worked on my bike. It was a gorgeous day - sunny and 70 degrees. Did a little laundry then J.D. and I rode to Jos and Sandra's house. We rode 50 km with Sandra so she could get some new shorts. Stopped for ice cream on the way home and my stomach and head felt funny. Met Paul and rode to the race. It was big. 150 A amateurs - 300 total riders. On the 2nd lap a break escaped and I almost missed it. I towed Jos and a few others up and we had about 10-12 guys in the group. After 45 minutes we lapped the field. I led the last 1/2 lap and tried to get away on the bridge but couldn't so I led out the sprint and got 5th. I won 5 gildars (yippee). I'm happy with my form. Now I need to race with my head. Looks like we may be in Belgium this weekend for a race or 2. Tomorrow we rest - maybe a time trial (20km) on Wed.
Got up at 8:45 and it's beautiful. Warm and sunny, low wind. Ate breakfast, coffee, then JD and I did a 2.5 hour (75km) ride to the beach - naked guns and all. I'm sick with a bad cough. I rode fine, felt strong, but decided not to race so I'll be healthy tomorrow. JD and Jos had a tough race. Things are looking up for doing the Tour de Netherlands - I'm stoked. I need to find out soon though so I can change my ticket and so forth. Ainsly called today - made me a bit homesick. I'm psyched because I've made a slight name for myself because I've ridden well. I want to win a race really badly! Paul's new words for today were "astounding" and "astonishing" - and Jos' new phrase is "good boy". They think they are so funny...and they are. More to come on the Classic thing.
I'm starting to get pissed - I'm sick with a cold for 3.5 days now. I'm riding well, but only about 80-90%. I am missing my punch. Maybe tomorrow I'll be well. 've discovered that I speak French to myself while I'm riding. Interesting. Jos got us in the biggest classic in Holland this Sunday - he can pull some serious strings! Au revoir (see)...
Sicker than I've been in about 5 or 6 years. Fever, aches, dizzy, horrendous cough, chills, hot, stuffed up - fun in Europa! Saw Lance Armstrong get the job done in the Tour Du Pont today.
Last night I broke my fever, so I knew I was on the road to recovery. When I woke up, the bed, pillow, and I were all soaking wet - very weird feeling. So this morning I had serious thoughts about racing but my cough still needs work so I knew I had to sit it out. The race was awesome. 180 km, 140 guys started and only 23 finished. Jos fainted and crashed while in the break.
I felt better today. I think my cough is finally on the way out. My power seems to be back. We rode the harrlem criterium tonight. it was pretty cold and windy and only about 75-80 guys there. It was 1.5 hour race. With no breaks lasting, I went solo with 12 minutes left. One guy bridged and we almost lapped the field. I won! It was a small race but now I can say I won a race in Holland. It made my day.
Last day. Got up at 8:00 and made breakfast, worked on my bike. Jos came at 11:00 and so did Roy and Astrid. I rode with the second 2 and we all went to Wemmen (outside of Brussels) for the race. Belgium sucks. It's prehistoric compared to Holland and this is reflected directly in the racing. Rude riders etc. It was a circuit race: 12 laps of a 10km course. Primes every lap. 114 started - 36 finished. I was one of them. The weather was terrible. Rainy, cold, and hurricane winds. The coolest part was the race course itself. I won a prime in a very long sprint (250.00 Belgian francs) and finished 24th which paid another 250.00fl. So I made a total of 500fl and I was so excited until I was informed that 500fl equals about 20.00 US dollars. It was probably the hardest race I've every done. No one else finished from here. I'm packed. La Lupa for grand finale dinner. I'll miss it here. Maybe I can come back next year...
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