The racing over here has been good, it's been hard. So far I've done three one day races in Belgium and one day in Italy. The racing in Belgium was hard, really hard. The first race we did was an all flat circuit race, that was 150k. There was no wind so it was not really a hard race sitting it, but it was very fast, we averaged 46km/hr. The next race we did was kind of crazy it was the u23 version of dwaars door vlaanderen and there were 320 guys in our field, it was insane! I felt good but ultimately wasted too much energy not being in the front and ended up not making the front selection. The next race we did was probably my best in Belgium, I was very aggressive and spent a decent amount of time solo off the front, but i ended up crashing out.
All the cliche things that people say about racing in Belgium are pretty much true. If you're not moving up you're moving back. Cobbles are really hard. It's super aggressive. The roads are really narrow, and it makes for difficult racing since they are littered with traffic islands, round abouts, etc.
The race we did in Italy was a lot of fun. It was a hard race, it was a circuit race with a 2.5km climb each lap. 170km was the distance. It was a 1.2 u23 and is one of the bigger and tougher one days in Italy. 200 guys started but it was definitely a day of attrition, only 60 finished and only 2 USA guys. I finished, but that was about all, there was a break of 20 that stayed away and then the pack behind. I felt pretty good, but honestly it was almost everything I had to just keep making the splits to stay in the bunch. I'm hoping I'll get a decent little boost from such a hard race though. Training is going well and now that I've been able to get a little consistency for the first time in months I feel like the form is starting to creep up.
This weekend they are doing 2 more one days back to back in Italy. The courses look hard. Sunday has a tough 5k climb that tops out 10k from the finish. I'm hoping to be feeling good and give it a go, I'd really like to get a top 10 or top 20 before I leave. But otherwise all is good, Italy is beautiful. Belgium is not bad though either, the u23 house definitely does not eat one's soul the way some people might make it out to. After these races I'm in Belgium the rest of the stay.
Sounds like the weather has been crazy back home. Good luck to everyone doing Battenkill this weekend, especially HPC in the juniors and Kelly in the 1/2 race.