Tips and tricks for Belgium: Ben Andrews
Now that I have been in Belgium for little over a week, I thought I would jot down some tricks & tips for training and racing in Belgium.
First; Get maps on your Garmin device or other GPS head unit. It’s really frustrating having to pull your phone out of your pocket every 10 minutes to check that you’re still going in the right direction. This is emphasised in Belgium as no road leads anywhere and its extremely easy to get lost. By getting maps on your gamin head unit you can just look down and check you’re still heading in the right direction. Furthermore, with a little bit of preparation you can plan your training ride or route to a race the night before on Strava and simply follow the arrow to your destination. It has the added bonus of not needing to Flemish town names which are hard enough to pronounce, let alone differentiate.
Second; Don’t get carried away with the crazy awesome food that Belgium has to offer. Yes, Belgium is flat, and yes weight is not AS significant. But eventually you’re going to have to do another hilly race or ride and you don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of trying to get back down to race weight. However, don’t completely cut yourself off either. Make sure you try the Stroop Waffles, Speculoos and or the 100s of world beating beers, but just don’t get too carried away.
Third; Pins, pins, pins. Unlike Australia and most other countries the race organiser in Belgium do NOT provide you with pins with your race numbers. Thus, it’s your job to remember to bring them to every race. If you do forget them (like me), you’ll have hope that there is a Supermarket nearby. If this fails then you’re stuck begging the locals racers which isn’t always the most effective tactic. However, it’s unlikely they will give you enough. So, if you don’t want to look like a hubbard with your numbers flapping in the wind, then remember to bring pins.
Fourth; locals HATE so see foreigners win the race. So, if you are lucky enough to make the winning move or split don’t work yourself out of the move. The locals will do everything in their power to see a local win over a foreigner. Thus, save your biscuits for the last hour and make sure your able to go with the late attacks. The late moves are generally the most likely to succeed in Belgium Kermesse see, so if you can put yourself in a position to be involved in these, then you are dramatically increasing your chances of being on the podium.