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Stacey’s Reflections on arriving in Belgium

Some early thoughts from when I arrived. .

When I first arrived in Belgium, I had packed up my life for the next three months in order to race Cyclocross as a ‘full-time athlete’. I am by no means a professional, but having just completed my final year of university, and not yet entering full-time work, I have no real ties, and have a solid three month period which allows me to follow this dream while I have the opportunity. I have been to Belgium for Cyclocross two times before, the first, a 4 week period, and the second, a 7 week period, however, this is the first year I am in the elite category, and is the first time I am fully allowing myself to race and train to get the absolute most out of myself. I feel the experiences I had the previous years, and the countless times I have gone out of my comfort zone and challenged myself, are worth continuing – for if I don’t give it a red-hot crack again, I believe those experiences will have gone to waste.

The first week comprised of many wake-ups, and being tired (thanks jetlag!), but getting stuck into training, acclimatising to the cold, and preparing for my first race. I got myself a two month gym membership and started back with my strength and conditioning training, combined with ‘cross and road rides. The first few rides were great – we were lucky to have 12 and 13 degree days, with the sun shining, and even rode up the iconic climb of the Muur van Geraardsbergen. My coach lives in Belgium, so I was able to meet up with him, and speak about my program for the coming weeks, along with doing a ‘day before race’ training session including a combination of on-road and off-road, and some all-out sprints.

As the second week rolled around, finally some normality was restored, and I was waking up and going to sleep at ‘regular’ times. The weather, however, was much colder, including a couple of days of snow – which was pretty exciting for this Adelaide girl – but it meant multiple gym sessions and trainer rides were in order. That then led me to my second and third races – a ‘double header’ weekend, where I was excited to build upon my first race after having reflected on my preparation and performance.

Check out my previous blog about my first three races ✔

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