Belg update

My cold is finally coming to an end and just in time too; the talk of all these amazing races, some just 10 kilometers from where I’m staying, is driving me nuts. Today I went on a ride with New Zealander Geoff and UK’er Justin. Justin’s been racing here off and on for a number of years and showed Geoff and I around a bunch of the cobbled climbs of Flanders, including the infamous Koppenburg, which was much rougher than I imagined. The cobbles were more like riding on boulders uncarefully poured over a concrete slab than actual cobble stones.

This just in: Michael Phelps plans on retiring after the 2012 Olympics. After an unimaginably successfully career of winning the most amount of Olympic medals, Phelps will dedicate the next chapter of his life to impregnating 500 women in a quest to produce the fastest free-stylists ever born. Each of Phelps’ 500 mating partners will go through a rigorous physical test, including a 45-hour session of treading water. Upon completion of the testing and seeding processes, Phelps’ 500 newborn babies will undergo a rigorous testing process of their own. While 497 of the babies will be shipped off to the nearest orphanage, the top three specimens will be raised under a strict training regime designed to produce a super-human 4-man relay team, for the final fourth child will reared purposefully to be a fat slob as the anchor in the relay. For this child’s creation, Phelps will impregnate an obese, diabetic, anemic, dwarf, albino woman to produce him, in hopes that this unfortunate baby inherits the majority of its mother’s genes. While the four athletic prodigies are trained to be the fastest swimmers imaginable, the fifth child will be trained only in the doggy paddle and will be fed an artery-richening diet of chili dogs, carnitas burritos, General Tsoa’s chicken, shrimp fried rice, dark chocolate Haggen Dazs bars, and root beer ice cream floats. After 26 years of training, “The Phelps Four and a Half” (as they’ll be affectionately called) will embark on their Olympic debut. This entire process will be in design to give the American public a truly epic Olympics to remember, with the goal of creating a dramatic finish worthy of viewers at home jumping out of their seats and screaming at the television in encouragement as the five-lap advantage that the three fast prodigies created shrinks to less than a quarter second by the time the fat slob reaches the finish in first winning Olympic gold, and then immediately dying of a massive heart attack and bobbing dead, face-down in the water as the three other brothers’ celebration slowly turns to confusion, then panic, then devastation as they realize what’s happened to the fat brother. The whole world will tear up during the many months of news show recaps, 60-Minutes documentaries, the thousands of interviews, the best selling books, the autobiographies of the three surviving brothers, the movies, the made for TV movie, the aftermath reality TV shows, and the McDonalds Happy Meal toys made to celebrate and remember the tragic victory of the Phelps Five and a Half. Michael Phelps is a cruel man, but knows what the American public wants to see and what advertisers want to sell.

Anyways, the ride went well. I didn’t cough too much and I’m planning on doing my first race this Wednesday. The apartment I’m staying in is owned by a guy who owns a bike shop and bike team called Farse Flanders Cycling or something like that. Most of the guys here ride for the team, which allows them to do more than just the standard kermesses. I might ride for it as well so I can get into some of the bigger races such as the ‘Interclub’ single-day races and stage races, as well as the bigger pro and invite-only races. Though the regular kermesses might be enough by themselves. Basically the reason I’m here is to get my ass kicked in enough to help me reach a new level for next year.

Here’s some photos of the day:

My half of the room.

The kitchen sink. Minus the most important part, meaning there are many trips to the bathroom sink for water.

Jake from England on a movie day since he raced yesterday.

Geoff and Justin

Steroid Cow

Net on the side of the road for Belgians to throw their beer cans without littering.

Lots of cobbles today

The tuber sponsor near our house really wanted us to have this giant turnip for our turnip mash.

Turnip mash with turnip, carrots, and some frozen fish. They have a huge variety of frozen fish at the stores here.

This is smoked kippered herring. As you know, I’m a huge fan of kippered herring.

No joke, this stuff is amazing.