Marilyn Ruseckas' Blog

Europe, Hoeilaart-Ghent-Brussels-Geraardsbergen

 

 

 

We hit a detour en route to meet Filip. We were supposed to be there at 4:00, but didn't arrive until 4:45. We had plans to go to the Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx in Ghent that evening. As soon as we shook hands and said hello to Filip, he told us that if we wanted to go to the velodrome, we would have to leave by 5:30. We had driven all day, hadn't eaten, needed to pack up our gear, remove our pedals, and oh yeah, our shoes couldn't have a speck of dirt on them. Yikes, our shoes were covered with mud. With a thorough shoe brushing, a hasty packing job, and a quick ham sandwich, we got in Filip's car and drove to Ghent. We got to talk and get to know each other a little on the way. He said when we got there, he would introduce us to Hugo, who would show us what to do.

Track bike rental shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got dressed and headed out to the track.

Adam, Filip, MArilyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

track

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to the worlds, Bakel to Hoeilaart

We arrived in Bakel and found the course set up in progress. We drove right through the start/finish area to find a small campground 200 meters from the start. We had electricity, but all outdoor hoses were shut off for the winter. We had to get creative for clean up. We set up camp and rode to the course. By the signs and the thick program, we found it was a Dutch national race. After the paved straightaway, the course went right into the woods. It was mostly single track and all of it was ridable at the time. There were some steep climbs and a sandy area, lots of tight corners, but no get-offs. We enjoyed our inspection and looked forward to the morning.

Campsite in Bakel

Overnight, rain began to pound on the roof. As we listened, the rain sounded softer, thicker, and sure enough it was snowing. We noted about 2" of snow when we went to sleep, but it had changed back to rain and warmed up by morning. All the snow had melted and we knew we were in for a classic mud race. Our races went off at the same time so we warmed up together in the rain and registered. There was no entry fee and they held on to our licenses as a deposit for return of the cloth race numbers for later use.

Bell lap

We both had successful races, having been called up last to our respective lines, we caught and passed riders from the back. Because of the wet weather, there were a few get-offs. Adam wound up 28th out of 57 masters 35+ and I placed 10th out of 26 women open. Our bikes and our clothes were a mess, but we were happy.

Marilyn post-race

Adam post race

We left Bakel relieved, having one race complete. Now, with 6 days left until the worlds, we would drive right through Mol on our way to our next stop, Filip Sport in Hoeilaart. We left the next morning and drove south. We checked out Zilvermeer, reserved a campsite for the weekend, and even rode a lap of the course which was already being constructed on Monday.

Marilyn with shrine and windmill in background

 

 

 

 

   

Trip to the worlds, Amsterdam to Bakel

We made stop in Amsterdam since we were so close. We rode our bikes through part of the city to see some sights.

Marilyn with tiny car in Amsterdam

Then we headed east to Almere Muiderzand where a cop told us we could camp in the parking lot of this yacht club. All the yachts were frozen in the harbor; it was unusually cold. We were heading for Bakel to do a race in a couple days. On our map, we saw a vast wind farm near Almere. We chose to camp near there so we could drive though it the next morning. Though it was foggy, we counted at least 40 of them and that was only a small section.

 

 

 

Wind farm

Bike Path through town

 

 

   

Trip to Europe to race the worlds, Sassenheim to Noordwijkerhout

Adam and I traveled to Europe from Jan. 14-26, 2010 to race in the UCI Cyclocross Masters World Championships in Mol, Belgium on Jan. 23.

We rented a winterized camper that we picked up in Sassenheim, outside of Amsterdam. We spent 12 nights and 13 days driving 1,032 km through the Netherlands and Belgium. Below is a map of the area we covered. The green line is our route and the yellow is the border between the two countries. Amsterdam is at the top.

map

The first day, we got lucky and found a campground that was open in Noordwijkerhout, a seaside resort town in the tulip growing part of Holland. We saw the greenhouses and fields, but there was a layer of snow. The weather was cold and the atmosphere foggy, but still it was warmer than back home in Vermont. We set up camp, built up the bikes and went for a ride right away. There are bike paths alongside every road, so finding a quick route was easy. On our way to check out the shore of the North Sea, we noticed singletrack in the woods between the dunes and the road. It was clearly marked for bikes and we knew we could not get lost. It was a great way to mentally prepare  for the trip ahead.

camper

Singletrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued...

   

2010 UCI Cyclocross Masters World Championship

This is our favorite shot. Our friend Paul Hoskens came to support us at the race. He took this picture of us in front of our home on wheels just after the awards ceremony. Adam and I are so relieved of stress at this moment. We accomplished what we set out to do-and I mean WE. I never could have done it without Adam, his excellent ideas, his expert planning, and precision driving, too.

   

Article in Worcester Telegram and Gazette

Mark Conti from the Worcester T&G wrote a nice article when I got back from the Nationals.


 

 

   

Cyclocross season recap

I'm a little behind in keeping up my blog entries. Adding bike racing back into the daily mix makes for a busy schedule. Anyway, no time like the present to start catching up.

When Adam and I decided to start racing again in the fall of 2009, we had to get our USCF licenses renewed. It took us both by surprise that the last renewal was in 2002. Since then, we started a business (Whitney Tree Service), bought a house, got married, and got a dog. All of these life changes demanded our attention away from training and racing every weekend. We still rode bikes and for a while, some had motors. The top fitness had waned into more casual, local riding with friends. During this time, we worked very hard building up the tree service, fixing up our house, and maintaining our property to our liking. Summer was still very busy with work last year, but our interest in cycling sparked up again. By August, we found ourselves in good enough shape to enter a few races. We did two hill climbs and a mountain bike race in August/September. That was when Adam got the idea that we should also enter a couple local cyclocross races.

We set up a short course in our yard, driveway, and around the outbuildings for practice. It consisted of two sets of barriers of 2x12's on end, some switchbacks around safety cones, and a run-up complete with stakes and course tape. It wasn't until mid-October that we signed up for our first 'cross race of the season. By the end of November, we had done ten and were feeling nicely fit. With all the talk of the Nationals in Bend, Oregon, we gave the thought of going some consideration.

We were offered a place to stay near the race venue in Bend by a friend of a friend of a friend, Jake. So, we booked the flight. Adam and I had never flown to race with bikes before, so we were nervous. Once the traveling logistics were all set, we were off. As soon as we got there and rode the snow-covered course, we relaxed and knew it was going to be a blast. As everyone who follows cyclocross knows, Bend was the place to be. Adam did well in the B race, 15th out of about 100. I raced my age category in a field of 25 women, age 50-54, and came in first to capture my first National Championship.

Before we left, Adam had been sure to mention that if I won, he would take me to the Worlds in Mol, Belgium.

All those years ago, we were racing mountain bikes nearly every weekend. Twice, I had ventured north to Bromont, PQ to race the UCI Masters Mountain Bike Worlds and came home with world titles both times, once in 1999 and again in 2000. My two masters rainbow jerseys and gold medals hang in our sports room. When the talk of going to Mol, Belgium for the UCI Cyclocross Masters Worlds came up, we decided to go and I didn't rule out the possibility of winning.

Just days ago, Adam and I returned from a two week trip to Europe where we did race the Masters Worlds in Belgium and I did in fact win my race. I am very proud to have another world championship gold medal and another rainbow jersey-this one with long sleeves and a 'cross racer on it!

 

 

 

   

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