As an Australian, if I hear the term “Belgium style racing”, I picture aggressive racing I picture this: wind, dodgy roads, heaps of corners, poor weather and cobbles. Without ANY doubt, I will say that The Dwars Door is DEFINITELY a “Belgium style” race!
As rain fell on the start line, and 20 sectors of dirt/cobbles lay ahead, it was clear it would be a tough day out. At 55km into the 200km race, no break had gone up the road which meant no slowing of the pace for the first hour and a bit. The wet and windy roads were causing havoc in the peloton, stringing it out, crashing riders and generally making life difficult. The key of course is to stay at the front. The problem is that everyone knows the theory, and is trying to do the same!
We hit the first cobbled section (5 stars), and the hammer was dropped. Out the other side, we were all in the reduced peloton, while a group of around 30 had gone off the front. At this point, the race went South for the Southern Hemispherians! Quite a long way South, we definitely crossed over the equator. Strangely, I was witness to almost all of it! First it was Sean. “Ah sh#t, flat tyre”, he said as he dropped back to get a spare wheel, NEVER to see the front again. Then it was Liam… I thought my rear wheel was rubbing and buckled after the cobbles and Liam selflessly offered a wheel change, that was the last we saw of him (he did actually meet up with Sean however!). I also never saw the front again! The pace was full gas and the wet, winding roads made navigating through the convoy very difficult. I made contact with the back of the peloton once, on the exit of a corner. The acceleration dropped a few riders off the back and after making the effort to get to the back, I couldn’t go around and catch back on! The peloton was splitting and it was a dirty, wet, race of attrition. Marko was next to lose contact, followed by Fraser. That the two Kiwi’s Luke Mudgeway and Matt Zenovich fought on and managed to finish in the peloton which is a fantastic effort!
A true Belgium one day classic style of race. While it didn’t go smoothly in ANY sense of the word, we thoroughly enjoyed the challenge that it presented! We… look forward to more…? That feels like a strange sentence, it is both the truth and a lie!