Creamer In Belgian Kermesse Action

Lauren Creamer showed good form in her recent trip to Belgium, 
Read Her Rider Race Report Below:

“I was hoping for a straight forward couple of races.. but where’s the fun in that!?

The two races I was planning to race whilst out in Belgium are what’s known as kermesses. Road race wise they consist of numerous continuous laps of a fairly short closed circuit usually totalling somewhere between 80-95km. In the hope of keeping the race active, organisers may also drop a few primes in on certain laps, which laps is not always known muhahaha. Anyway, onto the actual racing!

Wanzele 1.15
After the usual signing on, changing and quick recon of the course it was time to chat and bask (burn) a little in the sunshine on the start line waiting for the get go. Kermesses do not feature a neutralised section so often riders head off swiftly, in pursuit of the final finish line. This wasn’t my tactic so instead I sat in the wheels, warming up bit by bit for the first couple of laps. By this point attacks were becoming more useful with riders hanging off the front for considerable amounts of time. Looking after number one I made sure I kept an eye up ahead but still nothing to worry about as after all it was lap 2 of 12! Saying that, one rider from a favourable team looked like she was tiring up ahead but still maintaining a gap so I bridged across, keeping and lengthening the distance at times between us and the bunch. However riders back in the bunch must have been getting itchy feet, jumping off the front of the group eventually bringing the bunch towards us, reeling us back in! A fair distance still to race so I happily positioned myself back in bunch not knowing what was to come.
The course lap in Wanzele was full of typical Belgian concrete roads and a few hefty speed bumps each time round. Not the kindest of road surfaces and certainly not to my back tyre. I spent a couple of laps drifting at the back struggling to ride at my normal speed round the corners, questioning myself and other riders if I had the dreaded ‘P’ word PUNCTURE. Unsure for a little while it soon became apparent through the twists and turns of the town that the game was over for that day! With no follow cars and the hope of a change of bike or wheel over I very slowly made my way back to my car and got the inner tube changed for the race the next day. In my eyes there was no point thinking anymore about that race so I concentrated my efforts on preparing for the second kermesse in De Pinte the following day.
De Pinte 1.15
A different sort of course greeted me in De Pinte but the same beautiful weather was still hanging around. Traffic furniture always makes racing interesting and so do snappy, tight turns especially leading into the finish. The De Pinte circuit had it all.. even a couple of motorway bridges to lift the elevation and excitement levels a little ha! Talking of excitement I heard the mention of primes whilst waiting again on the start line thinking, who doesn’t like a little mid race sprint to get the heart pumping!? The laps of the primes were undecided so I would have to get the legs rolling and the race underway to find out. No sooner than the race started, the attacks were underway with the same rider as yesterday after a bit more punishment! I kept my powder dry this time around, watching unsuccessful and non-committal attacks go out and come back one after another. Thinking back to the mention of primes, lap 5 of 12 was approaching and I wondered when the primes were going to be. Having this little conversation in my head must have meant I was getting bored so when a lone rider put a strong attack off the front I jumped at the chance of joining. We communicated and worked well for around 30km, riding a minute or so ahead before the bunch upped their speed and caught us both with three laps remaining. A team mate from my fellow breakaway rider’s team countered our attack and stayed away for the rest of the race, winning the race fair and square. I positioned myself well for the remaining laps of race approaching the final left hander before the dash for the line somewhere in the top 10.However I was joined on that corner by far too many riders pulling on their brakes, zig zagging their way around the tight bend, just about staying upright. A sign I was too far back, finishing up in 15th place over the line. I wasn’t disappointed nor frustrated with the result, more so pleased than I stayed upright after falling victim to a nasty crash only a few weeks ago!
The support for this trip from the Cycling Ireland Women’s Commission was very much appreciated, easing the stress and helping me to focus on racing’, concentrating on being the active rider I am.