For those not in the know, there’s XC racing…and then there’s Euro XC racing. It’s kind of like, there’s pop music, and then there’s euro pop music. So yeah, lots more hair gel. Right now the euros are dominating the latest version of XC racing that the UCI has distilled from its original form. You can 29″ and riser bar and single speed all you want, but the fastest guys on the planet are still riding 26″ wheels, bar ends, silly tires, and frames made of carbonium. And a handful of those racers recently assembled in the south of Belgium to do battle. And Bronto was there.
In fact, Bronto was racing! Our local pro Ben Berden is spending the summer getting in shape by doing Belgian mtb races. If you think that Belgian mtb races are like cross races without the mud…well you’re basically right. Especially with the retarded service pit in the middle. Boy, when I used to race… But yeah, these guys go real fast. Olympic champion Julien Absalon, World Champion Jose Hermida, and a whole bunch of really speedy leg shavers from Belgium, Holland, and elsewhere lined up to do battle with Ben. Even the Kazakhstan national team was there. And the Australian champion. In short…it was going to be a tough day.
Since it was his first race of the year, Ben lined up way in the back. Between the gun and the first descent, he had clawed up to the middle of the pack. Very respectable. The descent was however plain stupid, just running straight down a very steep and loose hill. I guess it was good for the spectators. Lots of really good crashes.
Anyway, Ben continued to do battle, until a broken chain did him in. So Bronto went to the beer tent. And then for a bike ride. But it was pretty cool to see Bronto doing battle with the world’s best. Next up – Belgacom cup race in Averbode. Flat. Sandy. Euro.