Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sun and Cyclocross in the Same Sentence?

Well Steve and I finally have made it to Europe again. Both our flights were thankfully uneventful. Our rendevous wth Nick was definately the highlight of his week for his 5 week stay in Belgium has changed him. All of us were completely expecting to find Italy to be as depressing and gray as Belgium had been, but the sun is omnipresent and there isn't a cloud in the sky. I almost put on some shorts, but it was a little too cold.
The food has also been surpassing my expectations. The hotel does a good job feeding the team. We get two 3 course meals a day. It is quite posh. I think I'll gain some weight before the end of this trip. Yesterday, Nick was having some problems getting vegetarian meals, but after some exstensive converstations and mis-understanding between the hotel staff and Ken Whelpdale, he is now recieving better meals than what the rest of us are getting.
The riding has also been exceptional. The whole U-23 team and Juniors went out to the foothills of the Dolomites for a good spin. Everything is picturesque. I love the riding out here.

We're going to ride the course now, that we've heard is really fast and dry. More later.




Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hi to All,

Thing's are going great!!!
The Preworld camp started today, with some new additions to the house. It was quite with 3 people in the house but it's nice to have some company. The last couple of days the weather has been rainy and the wind blowing like crazy.

Last weekend I raced World Cup #8, LiƩvin, France it was a tough weekend with lots of climbing, slick and tricky descents.

Enjoy the Pictures Of all the roads and the SUN, Most the the pictures are from the long ride to the hills.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Texas Headwind.

Hey everyone,
Thing's in Belgium are going great!
Had a hard race on Monday in Otegem, Belgium finished 22nd some big names showed up, Erwin Vervecken, Sven Nys the 2008 Belgium National champion and some more pro guys. The curse was hard with a super long start on pavement then right onto cobbles with the rest of the course on grass with super long mud sections.

Life at the house is going great everything is working and the weather has been nice, Did 3:30 ride yesterday east toward some of the classic climbs of the tour of Flanders like the Kwaremont and koppenberg see pic's below. On the way there the wind was blowing like summer time in Texas, we even got a little help in the headwind from a big tractor pulling a trailer for about 20min at 20mph it was sweet cars are driving by and no one was hassling us.

Enjoy the pictures, Nick

Friday, January 4, 2008

Day #2

Hey Everyone.
Went out for a nice little ride about 2:00hrs around the country side and through some cool roads and trails. The two pic's at bottom are from the skate park a couple of day ago.

The First of the Last.

Camp is over and the crew is gone.
It's just me Nicholas Weighall, The first day of my month long adventure racing and having fun in Belgium. For the next month training for two world cups and the World championships.
My first day was great, It was snowing and cold, Took the day easy worked on cleaning my room and going to "wholefoods" the local natural Bio "Organic" market. I found 2 they have a great selection of local food's fresh eggs,bread,cheese and produce some grown out back. I did some more shopping and a run to the mall with Ryan and the guys made a great lunch and a little napping.

After a good sleep, I woke up to a broken dish washer it was full of water, After some work I was able to get it drained then back up and running. Finished the day off with a great movie Donny Darko By the way this is a great movie check it out if you want it will keep you guessing tell the end.

Until next time. Nick

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Adventures of Bavikhove

Today, Ian and I rode to the town of Bavikhove. It was the typical small Belgian countryside town. Ian hit up the the local bakery and got his favorite Belgian pastry, a chocolate/hazelnut filled croissant. This ride is our last easy, rest day while at camp. We definately made the best of it though. While riding through the countryside, we saw brussel sprouts growing in some of the farmer's fields and couldn't resist taking a photo shoot in front of a windmill. Steve is currently out of the game right now, for he has a gnarly stomach bug and hasn't been able to eat or drink, his stomach will not take anything it is given. He's been resting all day in bed. While staying here, we have all been hit with some illness to different degrees, but he has got it the worst out of any of us. Here are some photos of the ride...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Diegem and Beyond

Today we all raced in Diegem. The course is in a very urban area so it winds its way through alleys and around soccer fields. It has a lot pavement and it makes for a very tough race. I didn't have my best race of the camp to say the least. I think that the amount of racing is starting to catch up with me. Eric had a pretty good race. Ian also put in a solid effort and looks to be recovering well from his thumb injury.

The other day we found a new coffee shop in Kortrijk that is much more high end than our previoulsy visited establishment. They did have some good coffee though and it had me pretty pumped up on the ride home. We decided to stop at the playgound on the way home and Ian managed to capture this action shot. We have two more races left. One in Baal and one in St. Niklaas.


Saturday, December 29, 2007


We woke up early yesterday for our race in Loenhout, which is called the "biggest cross race" in the world (this is mostly because of how long the race has been going on rather than the actual size). Anyway, we arrived and had to deal with a massive line at registration. By the time I got out, I only had time to ride 1 quick lap but luckily the course wasn't too tricky except for 1 really long tractor pull section that was pretty much unrideable. The rest of the course was fast and tacky and the sun was out so I was pumped to have a good race. We all got called up near the back which was a real downer since there were 90 guys in our race. The gun went off and I had a good start and pretty much passed a whole row as we were all clipping in. It was a real long road section to a hard left. I avoided a few crashes but about half a lap later, a kid went over the bars in front of me and his rear wheel caught me in the face which caused me to fall. I got up and in a daze went to pick up my bike...which was stuck in his rear wheel. We both pulled on it but it wouldn't give. A bunch of kids were passing us and I was getting frustrated so I just stepped back and yanked it as hard as I could, freeing our bikes. I jumped back on and started weaving through the crowd of racers. I rode for another lap but I soon realized that my right hand was slipping off the hood. I looked down and my right hand and bars were covered with blood. This quickly shifted my interest from the race to getting my hand fixed so I started riding to the pit to get help. Riding there was a trip because I was getting all kinds of gasps and weird looks from the spectators lining the course. I met up with a medical assistant in the pit that didn't speak much English but gestured for me to follow him so I did. He took me to a building that had some EMT's working there and they bandaged it up and took good care of me. I was really disappointed because I felt great and the course suited me very well but things like this happen sometimes especially over here where the competition is fierce and the field sizes are huge. Eric was resting and Steve got 43rd. Tomorrow is another day at the races and another chance for success. Stay tuned.

Ready for some racing! Update 12-29

After four days of riding the couch, I am really ready for some more Belgian racing. Diegem is tomorrow, monday is a rest day, Baal on Tuesday,and Sint Niklaas on Wednesday. Currently it's raining, so hopefully we'll all be in for some mud tomorrow. I'll leave you with some images of Hofstade...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Resting, Resting, and a Little More Resting

On today's easy day, we rode to a town northwest of Izegem named Roselare. To our dissappointment, it was pretty much the stereotypical, midsize Belgian town. This pretty much consists of 40 bakeries, 35 bars, 20 butcher shops, and a couple of clothing and grocery stores. To get there, we rode alongside what we had dubbed "the canal". We met up with some fellow cross camp riders along the way and rode half-way back on some busy industrial roads and jumped back to the canal as soon as we could.

After coming back to the house and cleaning up, we ate lunch and worked on resting. Not many people know this, but resting is extremely hard, strenuous work that is taxing on the mind and the bum. Steve and Ian are racing tommorrow in Loenhout, but I'm taking the day off and doing some more heavy resting in preparation for Diegem on Sunday. Sitting around isn't too bad, but the monotony is what bores me the most. This is how a good five hours of my day looks like...

One of these days, I may get enough motivation to get my school work done.

Well anyways, Ian and Steve are quite pumped to race tommorrow, but it mostly Ian, as he shows here

I'm off to bed, for all this resting has really tired me out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Hofstade World Cup

Today was the big World Cup race in Hofstade. To put everything in perspective right away the elite men's race had over 25,000 spectators. This race is the real deal. We got to wear our sweet USA/Spiderman skinsuits. Now it is even more appartent to the spectating Euros that we are the Americans. We got our numbers and spiderman helped us to pin them last night before.

As you can see Eric was very nervous the night before the race. I had done this race last year, so I tried to relax and treat it like any other race.

Our race was to start at 10 AM, but it hardly gets light before 9 AM over here. So I hopped on the trainer while I waited for it to get light enough to see the course. I was burning up and peeling off the layers right away. The weather has really been warming up over the past few days, which often means more mud.

I got out on the course to find it as challenging as ever. This is always a very hard race. The main feature of the course at Hostfade is the beach. It is one beach, but the way the race is set up it makes it seem like four seperate sand pits and each one is 50-100 meters in length. The sand was a little bit more ridable this year, but there was still some running for me. Ian snapped a good photo of the hard packed sand in the middle of the beach.

I think that the race went pretty well for me. I ended up 35th. Last year I was somewhere in the fifties and I am always happy to have improved. Now as I sit here writing this I realize how much lounging around we do here. Our lives have been so simple for this past week. We either train or race and then just lie around. I must spend close to 13 hours in bed per day. We get our training done and then we just sit around and do our best to be recovered for the next race. We have been entertaining oursevles for hours on YouTube. Literally almost all we do is ride, eat and rest. It is so nice not having much of anything else to worry about. It is really allowing us to focus everything into racing while we are here and to make the most of it.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Chocolateers

As the days go by, life gets a little boring in Belgium, which is why we were all excited when Christmas eve came. Our house mom Els cooked up a big dinner with hors d'oeuvres around the fire outside and champagne for all. In Belgium, the real meat of the Christmas holiday takes place on the 24th instead of on the 25th like it does back home. Other than the dinner, not much went on during the day except for Steve, Eric, Jeremy, Gavin and I's daily training ride. Then I got a great massage from my man Herman to help loosen up those muscles. Here is a shot of my hair waving in the wind during our ride.

The next day was Christmas day and nothing too special went down. In the morning Els took Eric and I to the local Chocolate shop and being the chocolateers we are, it was very exciting. They had all kinds of sculptures and figures made of chocolate and we both bought a gift box that they filled with fresh chocolates from their finest stash. However, Els made us get it gift wrapped so we wouldn't eat any before we got home. After we returned to the house, we got kitted up and went for a ride along the canal, through a few towns, and finally to our favorite destination of Kortrijk. It's cool to ride here because no matter what tiny road or sidewalk or whatever your on, you will always spot some pro out on a training ride. Here's a shot of me riding the ice which we later dubbed the "Belgian Trainer".
Here's a shot of a little chapel area we found down a small cobbled road in Kortrijk.

After our ride we showered, had lunch, and then headed to the bakery for a nice recovery pastry. The rest of our day consisted of doing laundry, and the usual 3-4 hours of random youtube viewing/internet game playing. My new favorite game these days is "gangsta bean" and it has provided us all a lot of entertainment.

I'll finish this up with a shot from our ride. It's me riding over an awesome cobbled bridge near Kortrijk. Tomorrow is the big world cup so wish Steve, Eric, and the rest of the guys good luck. Clayton Omer and I will be attending but not racing since there are 8 juniors here at the camp and only 6 people from each country are allowed in world cups. Merry Christmas, I'll get another post up soon.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Fun on christmas eve....

It was very nice to have a day with some easy spinning... Just enjoying the Belgian sun... Then we all came home and they had a nice fire going outside to stand around and celebrate the Christmas Eve. Els made us an awesome christmas eve dinner that was super yummy. Thanks Els!

I have been having tons of fun riding around. The first couple of days here there was a little bit of snow. I even made it to France once! Check out the pictures.