Raid des Sources, Chimay, 100km: Big crash, win and game over for some weeks

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Ram Bikes

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Well, after the transalp, I didn’t feel the energy to do a lot and with the transchwarzwald coming up, I had to make a race to jumpstart my tired body. So, I decided to go with my friends to an old Belgian classic that I hadn’t attended in the last 10years, the “Raid des sources” in Chimay. It’s a 100km long track in the local woods with a lot of nice single tracks and even some short steep descents resulting in 1750hm.

So, after riding to the south of Belgium with my ex-teammie and great friend Mario, I meet with Bram at the start at 10.30. He tells me we can do the race in duo and as we both need a good wake-up training, we decide to do it. But, after only 10minutes, I realize Bram is good, very good and I am suffering to keep up. It’s not exactly what I had in mind and I try to tell him, but… it becomes a nice xco…. of 100kms… The track is great, singletracks, roots, nice turning through the forest till… rain comes! What??!! We had hot dry weather all week and now they give us rain? Oh no, it’s even worse, it’s a tropical intense rain at 16 degrees, pfft, I get soakingwet and cold. Also, the terrain changes drastically, With a muddy toplayer and wet roots, it’s becoming a real test for our technique and for the poor machines. 35kms into the race and I feel tired! Tired, cold, and I really think about just taking a shortcut back to the finish, but, as we are in duo, I don’t want to let down Bram and so I hang on. He is a lot stronger in the climbs, but on the technical parts he loses enough to let me get back time after time and so we find a funny balance. Kms are going and although I am counting every one of them, somehow I can still enjoy the typical Belgian ride. Balancing, keeping the bike and the brakes alive, cold, mud in the eyes, the real shit that I left behind 6y ago. Hmmm, in 2y I will return to this??!! Aiaiaiai!! But ok, 2 years are still long enough to explore the Hungarian area some more… Around km 60, we get in a fast descent on a rocky jeeptrack. Ahead are 2 bikers and so I have to make a fast pass jumping from the center of the road into the left gully and just when I want to get back to the middle, I lose control of the bike and I go down. Speed at impact: 40km/h and the landing zone is rocks, smaller and bigger rocks. No place and no way to get a nice crash here! I hit my full left side and sliding 10meters on the rocks I feel pain on a lot of places. My clothes are torn, helmet is alive. I can’t move my left knee and also my left wrist hurts bad. I see a lot of blood, but there is only 1 thing to do, to try to get up. I manage and now I have to fix the bike, where the handle bar went over the toptube. After adjusting, with a lot of pain I jump on and try to continu the descent. Bram is already coming back and I explain him it’s game over… Now I also feel I have serious issues with my right thumb, cant shift anymore or to use the x-lock for the fork-damper. SHIT!!! What do you want to do? Asks Bram.. What can we do? We have to continu, 35-40kms to go and as we don’t know where we are in these woods, the track will be to easiest way back. But, easy isn’t easy, I can use my right hand and so I stop drinking, stop eating, I die slowly and being already in huge pain, those last 2hrs were the longest hours of 2015! But, we made it and yes, we won the duo classification rewarding us with a big bottle of Chimay strong Belgian beer, just what I need J .

So, a couple of days later, I now know that my already shitty 2015 season just became worse! I have missed the transschwarzwald stage race waiting in hospitals and the verdict is a broken ligament in my thumb (we call it ski-thumb) + some damage on left knee, possible small or bigger cut in meniscus. 4weeks resting and hoping the meniscus doesn’t need operations… So, I am now in my 4th day of hell, pain is everywhere every day, but to keep it positive, it changes everyday. I can choose from pain in shoulder, ribs, hip, thigh, knee, ankle, wrist, thumb, teeth,… and so it stays interesting. Today, i couldn’t resist and I even did a small loop on the road as moving should be good for recovering stimulating bloodcirculation getting all the dirt, blood and water out of my damaged parts…

Hmm, hope to see you in 2015 on the trails,

A sad Wouter