Helen Wyman's blog

 

Helen Wyman has been the undefeated Cyclo Cross National Champion since 2006 and she lives in Belgium where she has carved out a life for herself as a cyclo-cross pro and a successful one at that.  She has medalled at the European Cyclo-Cross Championships and has finished as high as fifth in the World Championships.  Helen will be sending us regular blogs during her season, which has just kicked off.

 

Helen Wyman Cyclo Cross Blog

 

 

This weekend saw the start of the first Gazette Van Antwerp series race in the Citadel in Namen, Belgium. Last year the ‘big boys’ complained about how hard the course was, so this year they changed it to make it easier. I think they failed – it was by far the hardest cross course I have ever ridden, with practically no recovery and hills so steep that even the top pro-men couldn’t ride them more than once during the race!  Having said that, it really was a fun course and despite the constant lack of oxygen, I genuinely loved every minute of it.

 

For me, the race was good, although not entirely without incident. There was a little section on the course with a really steep run up, followed by an immediate steep short descent.  On the first lap over this section, I didn’t get my feet clipped in in time and rode down the hill floundering like bambi but fortunately stayed upright. Having only lost a few metres, I was straight back to the group and into the off camber section which quickly followed. Unfortunately, I slipped just at the end of it and lost the wheel, leaving me in no-man’s land for the rest of the race. My friend and house mate, Ian later reminded me that “just because you’re a bit puffed out, doesn’t mean you can have a lie down during the race’. He is full of useful advice!”

 

It was great to catch up with old friends and housemates, who I hadn’t seen in a few months like Britt and Gabby (Day), although it’s always a bit short lived before races. Unfortunately poor Gabby crashed out of the race half way through and had to be taken to the hospital for a check up, so I didn’t get to see her afterwards but we are all thinking of her and wishing her a speedy recovery.

 

Here in Oudenaarde we are like a little family, a slightly strange family, but one all the same. Stef and I are mum and dad, and Ian is our 24 year old son, we have had other “children” during the last few years but currently they have all flown the nest. So as Ian is our surrogate son and we do everything together (even my parents ask how he is!) including the races. For me this is a good thing, as you can learn so much by watching the top guys ride the course you have just raced to see how things change and how their lines differ to yours. Plus, by going to get Ian’s jersey at the line, I get to have a little perv on the top pros (did I say that out loud?). Normally this just involves the riders, but this weekend I was seriously impressed with the Rabobank boys brakes. They had anodised orange brake arms, with anodised deep blue brake pad holders and looked particularly shiny.

 

This week Stef and I are back in England for the Cycle Show and to ride the first round of the National Trophy series in Abergavenny. So if you're at the Cycle Show on Saturday  I will be hanging around somewhere near the Kona guys, on the Paligap stand, and thenon the interview stage to talk about women’s cycling from lunch time. So 'til then!

 

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