Race Across Belgium 2022

Seven BBB members have been riding the Race Across Belgium this week-end.
Congrats Nicolas Brookes and Nicolas Colinet for getting first place in their category (Duo / 300km), Gabriel Perez and Gaetan Schepens for getting 3rd in their category (Duo / 500km) and Xavier de Schutter!
Special thoughts for Selim Mahdhi and Guy Marks who did not finished their 1.000km journey.

Checkout Nicolas Brookes’s RAB 300 Race-report hereafter.

RAB 300 RACE RECAP (by Nicolas Brookes)

“What a day. A day of suffering, ups and downs, pain and exhilaration at the same time. When I signed up for the ‘short’ version of the Race Across Belgium back in January, I thought to myself: 348km, well that’s long but I’ve done that distance before, and solo. It will be a piece of cake with strongman Nico Collinet. Perhaps I should have taken a closer look at the profile: 5500 meters of elevation with a gruesome 90km stretch across the Ardennes.

Perhaps I should have taken a closer look at the profile...

We started at 11.46am, towards the back of the field. Morale was high and the weather was ideal! Nico and I exchanged turns smoothly on windy sections and overtaking RAB participants regularly kept us going. We soon reached Namur and had a quick pit stop in Colruyt to refuel our bidons at km 68. Then the climbing began: the relentless Triple Mur de Monty gave us a taste of things to come. We had good fairly good and flat roads until our longest stop of the day in Durbuy, at km125. We wasted quite a lot of time finding a place to get food and… sellotape to prevent my legs from rubbing against my legs (amateur mistake n°1). The distinctly average 7 euros club sandwiches (!) was fuel we needed to tackle the Liège Bastogne Liège climbs to come.

Nico B. and Nico C. journey across Belgium (RAB Duo 300km)

Gaëtan S. and Gabriel B.  journey across Belgium (RAB Duo 500km)

Roche à Frêne, Their de Coo, Stockeu, Cote d’Amermont, Col du Rosier, Maquisard, La redoute and La Roche aux Faucons… quite a menu. Legs were pretty good at this stage, and having conquered the Ardennes climbs we knew that there was only the Mur de Huy left. One of the highlights of the day was meeting our direct competitors for first place on the way, one of them had a small mechanical and Nico tried to give them a hand. We’d meet them regularly during the day which was nice. Third pit stop in Spa at km198, more coke and more water.

The Mur itself was probably the hardest climb of the day, I’d forgotten just how steep some of the sections are.

By then it was getting real dark and cold. Some of the roads between the Ardennes and Huy were very poorly lit and it made for some ‘interesting’ descents. Soon enough we were in Huy, and we wasted more time scrambling around to find a nightshop… which we ended up passing again on the way back from the Mur de Huy. Last pit stop of the day, more water and chocolate for me. The Mur itself was probably the hardest climb of the day, I’d forgotten just how steep some of the sections are. We were soon on the home stretch with a mere 80km to go. 

How amazing to see familiar faces at the race!

About 50km from the end, we saw two RAB riders putting on additional layers. It was Gabriel and Gaëtan from the BBB, riding the 500km distance! How amazing to see familiar faces at the race!
But around km280, I realized I was slowly running out of juice. I then realized I didn’t eat enough in Huy (amateur mistake n°2)… Fortunately Nico was strong and I just drafted him for most of the way home. I managed to get a bit of energy back, but not enough to sustain long pulls at the front. Legs, necks and arms were pretty sore at that point but seeing the Waterloo lion in the distance was just an amazing moment. We had made it! 13h37 on the bike, 14h58 total, 25.6kph average, 9000 calories burnt and 220w normalized power average.
And cherry on the cake: we finished first in our category (duo 300km) and 4th overall (out of 41 starters).
THANKS for the words of support during the day, it REALLY helped (particularly the poor jokes!)
Nicolas Brookes, 29 May 2022
📸 Nicolas Brookes, Nicolas Collinet, Gabriel Perez, Gaëtan Schepens.
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