amy alison dombroski

2012 Blogs





Oudenaarde, Belgium. 

Seeking out the grippier grass. 
snot, mud, drool.
The Belgians say the 'cross season did not truly begin until this past Thursday. So in theory I'm off to a steady start. With plenty of races to go. 
Koppenbergcross is a classic and I am guessing, aside from the layout of the course, the event itself has not changed a whole lot over the years. Parking is a nightmare; I remember this from being team-less last year but I must admit I felt a lot more rockstar this season because our camper van was as close as one could park to the start line, just beside Bart's. I also didn't mind the "toilet situation" this go around, having our own on the camper. In the entire venue was 1 portolet that was "female accessible" - and a few urinals which, really are pointless because Belgians are plenty content slashing on a tree or barrier or spectator.  I suppose the untidy look of beer cups strewn throughout the course, the well worn - worn out look is part of the "classic" charming character of Koppenberg. At any rate, it was a much nicer experience this year with the Telenet Fidea team setup and the race remains so bloody hard that a tatty venue only suits as I had drool and snot and mud and tears caking every inch and orifice of my body.  
Koppenberg is different in that there are two pit locations, one at the very "summit" of the course and one at the bottom, before heading into the start/finish straight. The mud was wicked heavy so I was pitting in both pits every lap. It was this heavy: when I was riding my recon lap I had to stop part way down the descent, remove my front wheel to pull a clump of mud the size of my head (and I have a big head) from the spacing between fork and tire. The wheel simply wouldn't spin anymore giving the effect of grabbing a strong handful of front brake.  You know that uneasy floating feeling as you're surfing the front wheel, teetering between landing the rear wheel down like a balanced vedetta or head-over-teacupping to land in a faceful of horse shit mud?

The race was a solid effort off the back of 2 disappointing World Cups in Czech. The sickness took it's toll and I'm on the up & up. The Koppenberg climb felt like death every time up with a mud-caked heavy bike but the concentration needed in the slippery mud soon erased that exertion...until the next climb.  I had a good battle with Arenda Grimberg for 9th so whilst sometimes racing I find myself in no-man's land battering myself and the course, this was nice because I was on it all race long. That is racing.

Copyright © 2012 Amy Dombroski. All Rights Reserved.