July 30

Suffering.  Suffering is attacking again and again and again and again until you can barely hold onto the wheel in front of you as the pack eats you up on your latest failed attempt.  Suffering is eating too much cumin-seasoned rice for lunch, and constantly vomiting cumin-flavored bile in your mouth while sprinting in 90-degree weather.  Suffering is wheezing; acid in your lungs and snot coming out everywhere.  Suffering is not caring where you spray your snot—on your own leg, on your glasses, on your handlebars, on the rider to your right.  Suffering is seeing cross-eyed while swerving through a pack of rancid-smelling racers, inches away from becoming part of the hot, cracked pavement.  Suffering is doing 600 watts while drafting off the guy in front of you, knowing that if you let that wheel go, you’re fucked.  Because you are last in the line.  I did quite a bit of suffering today.


The course was 7 kilometers of rolling hills, 120 kilometers total.  A good-sized pack of guys showed up for the race today, which started at 6PM.  I was feeling sick to my stomach from lunch, and very sleepy and tired from being dehydrated while walking around Masskaasdkthsomething in Holland yesterday.  Lately, when I do these races I have a list of goals set for myself.  The first goal is to win, obviously.  But as the race goes on, I re-adjust my goals for how I feel.  I’m not sure if this is a good idea or a bad idea, but it’s what I’ve found myself doing for the past week.  After winning, my next goal is to place top 5.  Then it is to place top 20.  Then it is to be aggressive and finish.  Then after that it becomes “just finish.”  Then it becomes “just keep riding.”  I went through all of these phases in today’s race, and I was not satisfied with the goal I accomplished.  Because there is only one goal I will ever be satisfied with, and that is the first goal.  I placed 16th today, but I could have done much better if I was a better tactician. 


After a prolonged attack on lap five or six, I paid dearly by almost getting dropped as the peloton passed me.  The next lap and a half was very painful and fast.  At this point, I set my goal of “just keep riding”—the lowest of the six goals.  I told myself to conserve from then on out and only attack one time per lap.  I resisted the urge for a while, and then it became unbearable.  And just so you know, attacking doesn’t necessarily mean I’m attacking by myself off the very front.  Usually there is a small group ahead at any given point in time during these races.  Usually they don’t last long, and attacking might mean bridging the gap and passing them, or just attempting to bridge.  The back of the pack is not a great place to be if there are 40 or more people in the group that you are in, but if the group is around 25 or so, the back is the easiest place. 


Anyways, I made the lead group (30 riders or more) after about 9 laps.  From then on out, I started feeling better and better, but tiring at the same time.  I guess I was feeling better compared to the other riders, which is usually what happens to me during races.  So as I began to feel stronger, I did more work.  And I’m pretty sure that all the work and attacking I did had no impact on most of the riders I was with.  Everything was chased down eventually.  If I were smart, I would have just sat at the back and let everyone else do the work, which is what a lot of guys did.  But you never know, sometimes it could work.  Sometimes a split is made and you get stuck on the bad side, pissed off that you weren’t further up in the line when things went down. 

But today all my attacks were futile, including the three times I went on the final lap.  After my third failed attempt, I sat in and decided to conserve for the last 3 kilometers.  That’s when a group of five got away.  And then a group of four.  And I forgot to mention that there was a break-away of three guys that had a minute on all of us that were still left. 


Things got very strung out in the final few K’s and I ended up taking 16th, instead of the possible fourth that I could have taken.  But considering the strength and size of the field, and the fact that this has been the third race this week, I guess 16th isn’t too bad.  But come this Sunday I’m going to win damn it!


Non-racing news-wise, I’m kind of pissed that my brother isn’t allowed to spend any time here at the house.  He has been sleeping in a small room three kilometers out of town, but has been spending time here, with us because there’s nothing to do in his hotel room or anywhere around it.  There is a rule that no family members or friends can be at the house, because it interferes with training.  I thought it would be fine that Galen could hang out here and ride with us since he’s the same age as a lot of the riders (plus I didn’t know about the rule).  But some of the younger guys have apparently been bitching that it’s unfair that I have my brother here when they can’t have any family members.  So the coaches were forced to enforce the child-like rule.  Galen is going to leave tomorrow morning instead of on the fourth because of it.  I have been getting along great with the riders and coaches, but I keep forgetting about the immaturity of some of the kids here.  I may act like a 17-year old a lot of the time—making mom jokes and aiming my farts at others, but there is an age gap that sometimes rears its head in inconvenient ways.  Gal and Ilan (the coaches) have a difficult job of balancing the strict rule type of coaching used for the young guys, and the informal friend/mentor type of coaching used for us quasi-adults.  Other than this recent Galen-banishing, everything else is super.  Oh, and I found out why Eliad passed me in the final few meters the other day.  I had forgotten about a bet that he, Tomer, and myself had made before Monday’s race: the two guys who got beaten by the one with the best placing would have to clean the “winner’s” bike two times each.  So Eliad is a sneaky little punk, well he’s actually not very little, but he’s still a punk.  He brought it up on the car ride back from the race today, and somehow he talked his way into me sending him a box of Snickers to Israel when I get home.  I protested that I shouldn’t have to clean his stupid bike because I pulled just about the whole freakin way on the last lap, and led him out for half a kilometer, but he wouldn’t have any of it.  I’ll clean his bike but I’m going to do a bad job.


July 31

I just finished the most epic battle in ping-pong ever.  One of the guys and I played about 12 games back to back, each one with a heavy price for the loser.  He wanted to bet on the games, so we bet pushups and jumps.  I did the jumps because I don’t want to work out my arms, and he did the pushups because he wants a bigger upper body for girls.  We started out pretty small, with 20 pushups/jumps.  I lost the first game.  Then I lost the next game.  Then we raised the wager to 25.  I lost again.  The wager was raised to 30 and I won.  By the end of our tournament, he had done 150 pushups and I had done 140 jumps.  And he still owes me 200 pushups, which he’ll do tomorrow.  

Five hour ride this afternoon.

Spain. I need a place to stay.

Tony and I need a place to stay in Spain starting in a couple weeks.  I’ll be training and racing in Spain from the 19th of August to the 14th of September.  And Tony will be there for just a week.  If you know anybody who lives in Spain, or if you live in Spain, we would like to crash on your couch.  Preferably someplace where there are races, like in Valencia.

Race #2 and #3

July 27


The race today was extremely fast.  We averaged 32 miles an hour (on a 12 corner 5K course) for the first hour.  I guess I should say “they” averaged 32, because I was off the back after 45 minutes. 


We arrived at the race moderately late because of bad traffic and getting lost in Holland.  After a 15-minute warm up, we lined up at the start.  I was sitting right behind the start line and somehow I ended up 40 people back after the lead car had us move onto a different part of the course. 


It was hot and humid today, 35 degrees C.  And I didn’t drink enough water—only half a bottle in an hour.  So I have the heat excuse and the no warm up excuse.  But neither of those were the cause of my terrible race.  The problem was my bad judgement and of course my poor cornering skills. 


I spent too much time near the front during the first three or four laps—thinking I was strong enough to bridge and attack.  A short while later, I had to retreat, out of exhaustion, to the middle (which very quickly became the back).  Unfortunately, my moment of deadness was right when the field began to split up; I was forced to cover gaps in the long line of riders (plus the gaps that would form after every corner).  The gap from me to the guy in front, while cornering, kept on increasing as time went by and my legs became more tired. 


Eventually, there were only a couple people behind me; riders were dropping out left and right.  Another gap opened up between the tattered field and the rider 3 places in front of me.  I sprinted and covered it, barely.  No one followed.  Then the same thing happened again.  I tried to cover it but I didn’t have anything left.  The end.  Within a kilometer, the peloton(s) was out of sight.


July 28


Today was much much better.  Not only did I finally finish a race, but I won some money too! 


In my warm up, I hit 1,450 watts in my first sprint, so I knew I was going to have it in my legs today.  The race was much smaller than yesterday (50 riders compared to 80 something), and the corners were less harsh.  But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t slow.  The average speed was actually faster than yesterday.


The way these kremises work is like a fast crit.  Except instead of going for an hour, they go for 70 to 100 miles.  Today was 125 kilometers (a little under 80 miles).  And it started out fast, and slowly crept up to blistering fast.  I was able to attack all day long, and also spent a lot of time up at the front pulling back break-aways.  I felt strong at last. 


I kept finding myself up front, pulling and sprinting off the front during the final six laps.  I wanted to rest because my body was going into shock from overexertion.  I would tell myself that “this is the last time I’m going to pull until I have a decent rest.”  But one minute later I’d be back up there.  For one thing, I just like to pull.  The other thing is that if you are near the front and don’t pull through, even if you just took two or three turns in a row, the other riders will yell at you and push you forward.  I had one guy jam on his breaks in front of me to try and make me crash because I wouldn’t pull while I had a teammate up the road.  Ridiculous.  And one time when I was in a break away and a teammate of mine wouldn’t help pull, some guy HIT him in the head and knocked his glasses off his face.  Other close encounters included getting my pedal jammed in somebody’s spokes again (I’m pretty used to that by now since it’s happened at least once in every race), and I also ran into a guy while I was sprinting/about to bridge, and he was swerving to get a feed.  I rammed him with my shoulder from the side into his ribs.  We were going fast, and I have no clue how he didn’t go down.


With a lap to go there were 11 guys a minute and a half off the front.  The paceline was dead and there was no hope of catching any of them.  So it was do or die time for the last ditch effort to break away.  I saw Eliad, my teammate and another couple guys attempting to break off the front.  I bridged up with a prolonged effort and yelled at Eliad to grab my wheel as I came past him.  I took off.  He followed, and shortly afterwards another guy caught on.  I did the majority of the work; Eliad did a good amount too, but the other guy hardly pulled at all.  The peloton was right on us.  The third guy was suffering, and it showed on his face.  He took a short pull and I took over again.  Four kilometers to go.  550 watts and rising.  One kilometer before the end I screamed at him to “take one more fucking pull!!!”  He did, then Eliad and I attacked and he was dropped like the useless baggage he was.  I didn’t know how fast the peloton was closing on us or if the weak guy had managed to grab onto Eliad’s wheel, so I went as hard as I could for 900 more meters.  The finish line seemed to be an infinite distance away.  I had to sit down.  Then I stood up again for the last 200 meters.  Eliad passed me right at the end (I’m not completely sure why but it doesn’t matter).  He took 12th and I took 13th.  There was only one other U23 rider in front of us in the break.  13th doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but it feels better than winning back at home.  Tomorrow the whole team is going to be tourists for a change as we take a day off and visit Holland. 


In other news, my brother, Galen, just showed up here today.  He was visiting a friend in France and has been riding his bike around from city to city for the past two weeks, and now he’s up here in Belgium for his last week in Europe.  A week that will be filled with painful bike training.  Mwahahahahahhahahah!!! 


Noris the Clydsdale

I’m sitting here with Mr. Tony Guisto, AKA Fatty McFaterson.  While the Israeli riders have been munching on green beens, potatoes, and dry pasta, Tony and I have been eating eggs (with the yolk), peanut butter, Nutella, and pasta with olive oil.  Needless to say… I won’t say it.  No just kidding: needless to say, the Israelis have become quite jealous and condescending of our diet.  They have been calling Tony fat, although he is anything but.  And they are constantly licking their lips as we eat our “heathen food.”


Today Tony and I went on a pre-race/hard interval ride.  It was the same workout as the last pre-race ride: cadance drills followed by “all out” for one minute, five times.  Then six sprints after a short rest.  Tony managed to beat me on one of the sprints.  I blame the bad potholes that were on my side of the road.


We got a compliment on one of the 1-minute intervals from a sports car.  We had just passed through the busy tourist village of Dubuy, a cobble stone lovers paradise, when we began our fourth interval.  Humidity reaching 100% and the glow of the hot sun piercing down through the overcast sky couldn’t hold us back from breaking a new land speed record today.  We started the interval with a medium level sprint (coming out of a minute of 120 cadance and a minute of 75 cadance).  I sat down; I could here Tony pedaling like a fool behind in my draft.  The pain commenced.  My quads began to tear themselves inside out as I pushed harder after looking down and not being content with the 600 watts I was producing.  I was already in my biggest gear, 53-12, and we were on level ground.  With 20 seconds to go, I gave Tony the signal to try to come around me.  I grimaced as I stood up and threw my bike into a knackered sprint, leaning wildly form one side of the bike to the other, willing myself forward with one thought: “Be the horse, Kennett.  Be the horse!”  Tony’s powertap is broken, and mine doesn’t read speed anymore, so I don’t know how fast we were going.  But I’m guessing that it was over 40mph.  30 seconds after we hung our heads down in exhaustion, the sports car passed us and gave us a honk and a thumbs up.  A lot of Belgians love cyclists and give you thumbs ups and encouraging honks, but there are others (just like in the US) that are complete idiots, passing on blind corners and awarding you only inches of space between you and their bumpers. 


After the workout part of the workout, we stopped for a Coke and water in Dubuy.  The price was six euros, which is about $10.  We were shocked.  Our waitress did throw in crackers for free, but still—that’s quite a bit for a can of coke and tap water.  And she didn’t seem to mind too much when I showed her that I only had five euros.   


And then I pet a giant Clydsdale pulling a carriage.  His name was Noris (maybe) and his lips were bigger than my head.  That horse was amazing.


Race tomorrow, race on Monday, and race on Wednesday.  oh yeah.  Hammer time.

Good weather

Yesterday was a four-hour ride. But first the whole team rode out to a small village for ice cream Sundays. It was pretty cool seeing how big the team really is—with everyone in their kits and riding together. There are 27 of us. Here are some pictures, although I would like to post a video of us, and some other video too, WordPress requires that I spend money on upgrading my blog first. Maybe later.

As far as this week’s training has gone, it has been pretty easy. I expected it to be more intense, but the coaches here believe in lots of rest and recovery, with only a few hard efforts a week. Of course this completely goes against everything I stand for. Rest??? Recover??? Only 2 hard rides a week?? Gilad, I want you to make a workout for me next week. 25 hours. One 5-hour HARD ride on Monday after Sunday’s race. Rest day on Tuesday with two, one-hour easy spins. Wednesday: steep hill intervals in the morning and a recovery ride at night. Thursday is a sprinting/flat interval day with recovery in the evening. Friday, pre-race ride. And I think there are two races on Saturday and Sunday. Tell me what you think.

The weather has turned around at last. It is humid and sunny here, and this giant brick mansion we’re staying in is hot and full of flies, buzzing around the kitchen and bumping into our sweaty faces as we attempt to sleep at night. Finally some summer weather! Which means some good tan lines.

The guys here have switched to a different car racing game—“Need for Speed.” This one is worse than the last, because it only involves one player at a time. So the arguing is worse than before. The game is on all day. Nonstop. I’m planning on stealing the CD and hiding it somewhere. Or accidentally scratching the back of it.

Tony and I have been playing a lot of ping-pong lately, and have both made huge improvements on our games. We are now at the point where we can challenge some of the better players. What else is going on here? Oh, the Tour of Liege passed by a few days ago, right by our house. We were supposed to do it, and it would have been our biggest race of the year, but Poland took our spot. It was pretty cool to see it and the huge peloton of cars, motorcycles, journalists, and support vehicles that drove in front and back of the racers. There must have been two vehicles for every rider.

Never mind.  No pictures for today.  We’ve been to all four of out internet Wifi areas and they are all running extremely slow.  And we got kicked out of one of them by some old guy with a cane.  And a dog barked at Tony earlier and he got scared.  The pavement we’re sitting on in quite warm from the sun earlier in the day.  And it’s still warm and light out, even now at 10:00PM.

Cabbage soup and sauce-less pasta

This has been my second day of recovery, both of which have consisted of easy rides in the morning and easy rides in the afternoon.  After the race, yesterday, my legs were feeling a bit tuckered out.  But now they feel quite nice, and I’m ready for a hard day tomorrow and the day after as well. 


The food is beginning to drive me a bit nuts.  Gilad has Tony and I on a very high fat diet.  30% or more of our calories comes from fat—healthy fat like peanut butter, nuts, olive oil, lard, Crisco, bacon, McDonald’s and such.  But here, the coaches don’t believe in the benefits of fat.  Hence the very boring and tiring menu of plain bleached pasta, tuna, eggs, vegetables, potatoes and soup constructed of all of the above.  To compliment this diet, all of us here are constantly wolfing down bread and jam—the Costco tub of peanut butter that Tony brought (originally off limits to the Israelis because if its high fat content) has been licked clean within three days.  These guys LOVE peanut butter.


Tony and I have also been eating Snickers bars and Peanut M&M’s in our vain search for fat calories.  Our supply is running low, and they are way to expensive to buy over here.  Mom, I need a shipment of food!!!! 


Tomorrow should be fun and hard, and I am getting pumped for the next race on Sunday.  This time I’m getting top 5.  All four of these paragraphs started with and were brought to you by the letter “T.”




The race….was…hard.  I am tired.

In Belgium there are 3 categories of racers.  “Cadets” are ages 15 and 16.  Juniors are 17 to 18.  And then everyone else races together.  Everyone else is very fast.  There are no cat 5’s or 4’s or 3’s.  Everyone is fast.  

We got to the race course with plenty of time to sign in and warm up.  There were 9 officials in the sign-in building.  9!!!! That’s a lot of officials!  

Our team of six guys, including Tony, Gal, Eliad, Nizan, Shapi, and myself, lined up at the very front of the field under a stormy sky.  It began to rain.  Hard.  Tony and I wanted to wear long sleeve jerseys, but the Israeli’s knew better.  Short sleeves would be fine, even though it was cold and rainy.  The race was going to be HARD.  

Without any warning whatsoever, the announcer said “go” or something in Flemish and we and the other 130 riders took off.  I didn’t even have one foot clipped in.  But it didn’t matter, there would be plenty of time to get to the front.  The race was 113 kilometers (70 miles)–made up of twenty, 5 kilometer laps situated in a village/city type setting.  The course was up hill one direction, with a couple semi steep climbs and two long low gradient climbs.  The other direction was downhill, with some flat sections.  There were 10 or 11 sharp corners.  

The pace of the race was like a very fast crit.  The contact between the other riders wasn’t too bad.  I got my pedal in a guys spokes once, got pushed into the gutter once, and bumped other riders a handful of times, so that part of the race was pretty comfortable.  My legs and the rest of my body, on the other hand, were not comfortable.  It was pain.  Unimaginable pain.  I can’t even remember what the pain was like because my brain has already blocked the memory from me.

I spent a little while near the front at the beginning, and then a lot of time in the middle, which kept on becoming the back.  130 started, and the officials pulled everyone except the top 20.  I was not in the top 20.  I was one group back, so I probably would have gotten 30th to 40th if they had let me finish.  The way that these races work is that there are a couple lead cars, and a couple follow cars.  The riders between these cars get both lanes of the road, which is sometimes equivalent to half of one American lane’s width.  Once you get dropped form the main group (a car paces you), you get pulled.  I suffered through 18 of 20 freakin laps, and they pulled my group of 15 guys with only 2 laps to go!  But I was almost too tired to care.  Almost.  So I guess I’m somewhat satisfied with how I did.  I would compare the difficulty of the race to something I could relate to, but I don’t think I’ve done a race this fast before.  It definitely didn’t suit my strengths, which are not sprinting out of corners, but if that’s my weakness, then bring it on.  Now I know what to expect, so next time I’m pretty sure I will be able to make the top 20 selection.  That’s enough for now.  Kennett tired.

Legs coming back

The weather is turning around.  Today’s morning ride was damp but warm, and the sun finally peaked out from beige Belgium clouds.  Tony and I headed out at 10:00 for intervals.  5×3’ each with 4’ rests.  120 rpm for the first minute, 75 rpm for the second—both at around 330 watts.  The third minute was all out. 


After these we had 10 minutes off, then six 15-second sprints with 45 second rests.  After a logging truck passed, we started the first interval and I managed to jump onto the truck’s draft for a good little ride at 35 mph.  I am starting to feel good about sprinting, at last.  I beat Tony on all the sprints today, which usually doesn’t happen since he’s a beastly sprinter.  Although he says I won only because of the And I maxed out at 1,424 watts for the first time.  For the past couple months, I haven’t even gotten above 1,300.  And I did 1,300 or higher eight times today.  My legs are definitely coming around now; my lungs will follow shortly I hope.  One more ride this afternoon to clear out the lactic acid, and then we have our first race tomorrow.  

First Hard Ride–Yesterday

Today I ate a lot of food.  I am still writing about today, the 17th.  Here is a list of the food I ate:


3 bowls of oats

about 6 pieces of bread with jam

1 chicken leg (I caught that rooster)

3 bowls of chicken/potato soup

1 bowl of salad

3 plates of pasta

2 plates of rice

4 pieces of birthday bread cake (one of the guy’s birthday today)

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 large baked potato

maltodextrin on the bike

odds and ends


Looks like I’ll be doing 25 hour weeks, which means a lot of food.


I did another 3 or 4 hours today.  Except this time we were supposed to go on a medium paced “tempo” ride.  Basically, if we go on an “easy” ride, it is a medium ride.  If we go on a “medium” ride, it is a hard ride.  We haven’t yet gone on a “hard” ride. 


The ride consisted of Gal (the head coach who is still a racer), Niazan, and Iliad-both on the national team.  We started with two more guys, but they got dropped about 20 minutes into it.  I was also there.


We were to do 1 hour easy/warm up, 30 minutes of temp, break, 30 minutes of tempo, then finish off with an extra hour or so.  After Niazan attacked on a climb 15 minutes into the ride, it was hammer time.  I countered, and drilled it the rest of the way up.  10 minutes later we got to the next climb, which was much less steep, but a lot longer.  About 20 minutes to the very top.  I set a hard tempo up it, and later got scolded by Gal after he caught back on at the top.  “If that’s your tempo speed, then you should join the guys on the TV!”  But he basically went against his own words about 30 minutes later when we started the first tempo interval.  Before that though, we climbed up a long 4% grade section.  “This is tempo speed,” he said.  My power tap read 330 watts.  “You should be able to hold your tempo speed for all day.”  He means3 hours, not a 7-hour ride.  That pace felt fine, definitely like tempo and within reason of holding “all day.”  But after a fast descent, Gal began to hammer on the flats/rollers.  Niazan and Iliad and I pulled through, all four of us slowly but surely increasing the “tempo.”  450 watts didn’t seem like tempo, but of course I wasn’t going to complain!


With 10 minutes to go, Niazan and Iliad stopped pulling through, which left most of the work to me.  I could tell they were cracking.  Eeeeeexcelent.


We finished on the top of a small climb, took 6 minutes of rest, and started the next interval.  The rain had completely soaked the road by now, so spray was flying everywhere on the descent into a small village.  But it isn’t cold here, just wet.  The rain and spray felt good.


Oh, and by the way—even in these small villages, the drivers race down the roads like orangutans high on bananas injected with banana extract.  We entered the village and zoomed in and out of traffic, bumping bumping bumping over the cobbles and dodging oncoming cars and potholes.  We exited the dangers of the village, but there were still 25 minutes of pain left to be dealt out. 


There is one instance in which one word can be understood in all languages.  That instance is riding, hard.  And that one word is “slow.”  It is gasped, not said, by a pleading rider in the back of the paceline.  The gasp and groan of the word are the same in every language.  The desperation of how it’s said is unmistakable.  And of course, the more desperate it sounds, the harder you will pull.  We were only half way through the interval, and Gal was beginning to tire.  The other two guys grimaced in the back, sucking our wheels.  There was only one option for me to do when I heard the word for “slow,” stuttered in Hebrew from behind.  I slowed down and sat up for a second or two, making it look like I had the intention of slowing down.  Then I steadily ramped up the pace again, only this time harder.


Don’t get me wrong, the ride was NOT easy for me.  I was suffering just as much as everyone else.  I was just suffering at the front, which is always a better place to suffer.  My legs were full of acid after the first 30 minutes, plus all the ego climbing during our 1 hour warm up.  But God damn it!! I didn’t travel all the way to Belgium to take a stroll through the daisy fields!  *note,* there are no daisy fields.  I was just making a point.


We finished the interval in a pool of acid, and began the easy part of the ride.  Not.

We rode into a village and immediately headed for another Belgian Wall.  These Belgian Walls are everywhere here.  It’s as if Belgian construction crews roamed the country looking for places to build roads.  And they would come upon a cliff and say to each other, “hey, that looks like a swell spot for a road.”  “Wait wait wait, Hold on now, let’s not be rash,” one of them would say.  “Lets first make sure it’s steep enough so that a bicyclist might tip over backwards if they attempted ride up it.”  “Ahh, good point.  I almost forgot the bike tip test.  Release the hounds!!!”  The hounds have nothing to do with what I was just talking about.  Nor do they have anything to do with anything.  I just wanted to write it.  So I’ll do it again.  Release the hounds!!! That was satisfying.


Anyways, the Belgian Walls: they aren’t as pleasant as Belgian Waffles, which I assume are just “waffles” here.


They’re all 3 to 6 minute climbs (going hard) and they always have a gradient of 20% or more at one point or another.  And we always race up them.  We may start out nice and slow at the bottom section, but 1 minute up and the talking stops, and the pain begins.  Each time up one of these, I secretly thank Gilad for finding Nectar Way.  We did a couple wall climbs during the ride today, including that Liege-Bastogne-Liege climb again.  There is bold white writing covering the climb, with names of famous riders.  Someone named “Phil” has a giant fan club because his name is slathered all the way up the wall.  And I stand corrected; the climb maxes out at 21% not 18%.  


After the wall climbs, we each got a mini Belgian Coke back in a village and rode home.  Then feasted.