Czech Surprises - A Blog By Ellen Van Dijk

 

The week in Czech so far has brought me many surprises. To be honest, when I think about Czech, I think about vodka, bad weather and grey houses. But I have to rectify this vision since we didn't get any vodka yet and we're getting sunburned in 30 degrees while enjoying the beautiful scenery on our bikes. I won't elaborate too much about the great weather, because it might annoy my teammates in rainy Luxembourg a bit. The residence we stay during our Czech trip is one of the most remarkable places I've ever stayed in. It's a sanatorium and this morning I witnessed a bunch of grannies decorating a Christmas Tree and then, when we came back from racing this afternoon, there was a full on Halloween party going on!

 

Ellen Van Dijk winning Fleche Wallone

Picture courtesy of CJFoto.com 

 

The courses in Czech are also pretty surprising. Today we headed to a highway in the middle of the Czech Republic. It was completely blocked because 130 girls had to ride a 26km time trial in the Gracia Orlova. The course couldn't be more simple; 7km out, U-turn, 7km back, U-turn and just to make it not too exciting, the same lap another time. So 7x4 = ... indeed, the organisers surprised us and made the course secretly 2km longer, but who cares when suffering at your very max? It was a typical TT course, where the strongest rider of the day would win, or at least, that is what you would think.

 

One kilometer into this time trial and as my teammate Katie would say: I was bored! Because what do you think of when you have 26 of exactly the same kilometers in front of you? Time trialling hurts and the trick to going fast is to try not to think about the pain while riding, but that is pretty challenging when there is literally nothing to distract you. Evie declared afterwards she closed her eyes for half of the time trial so as not to have to look at the endless highway in front of her. The most exciting thing in the race was probably seeing teammates riding on the other side of the highway because they had started some minutes behind. Or maybe it was our only supporter Beth who screamed for her life at the turning point while asking afterwards: 'Did you hear me?'

 

Ellen Van Dijk time trialling

Picture courtesy of CJFoto.com 

 

Going in the race I knew my teammates probably would be my biggest opponents, which seems to be the consequence of riding for this amazing team, but I never could have prospected todays result. To have all of us in the top 12 doesn't even surprise me that much anymore, but to finish with the smallest possible advantage in front of Evie - 0.01sec - after 28km is just unbelievable. It made me feel more awkward than happy. It's not very much fun to get to 'win' from your teammate, while you actually rode both as fast. But the good thing is that Evie is leading in GC and after our last couple of days, I think I can say we're ready to surprise some more in Czech. Let's fight for every hundredth of a second! 

 

 

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