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Double Crossed

Fans at the race

On Monday morning when the alarm went for work it was actually a relief to see 7.30am appear. We say that because on Saturday and Sunday we were out soaking up cyclo-cross but it all began with a 5.45am start.

On Saturday we headed under the sea, through the Channel Tunnel, and popped out the other side ready for a short drive to the Belgian town of Koksijde.

The small town was hosting round three of the UCI Cyclo Cross World Cup. Koksijde is a particular favourite of ours because it's easy to get to and there is loads of sand, courtesy of the town being on the coast. The dunes on the course are steep and the sand is deep. Which makes for fantastic racing.

Frites van - Koksijde

Apart from watching supremely good bike handling and racing, we made sure with completed our checklist - 'things to do when in Belgium' - and we took pictures on our iPhones to prove it.

1. Eat frites with mayo.
2. Dress up in so many layers that it's difficult to get your hands to touch.
3. Eat a bratwurst sausage with ketchup, mustard and onion, and get it all over your hands.
4. Buy Belgian beer, usually for less than the cost of a bottle of Coke.
5. Drink Glühwein (we had cherry flavour this time).
6. Buy an unecessarily big bar of Milka chocolate.
7. Sing along in the beer tent, despite having no idea what the words are.
8. Cheer on National Champion Helen Wyman who was racing in the women's event.
9. See at least one crash that makes the crowd go 'oooooooouufff'.
10. Get a picture of Sven Nys, the golden boy of cyclo-cross and every Belgian's favourite rider.

Legend Sven Nys

Riders at Koksijde cross

Sunday was a trip to Southampton for round three of the National Trophy Series. The temperature never went above 1 degree. It could have been argued that it was colder than Belgium. Claire finished in the top five in the elite women's category. Producing a strong ride in the youth event, Emily also finished 5th for Rapha Condor.

Hats off to British rider Ian Field who raced on the tough Koksijde course on Saturday and then won on Sunday at the Trophy.

More cross?
Watch the final two laps of the World Cup race at Koksijde here.
See images of the race by master photog Kristof Ramon here.
Read the report of the National Trophy Race in Southampton here.

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