2' Le Samyn Des Dames

Van Dijk Takes First Big Team Race for the Season at Le Samyn

By Carmen Small:

It’s cold, it’s raining, it’s grey, the mood is meh….but we are professionals so what do we do, we put on a smile, get dressed, HTFU and head out to go to sign in.  Par for the course we are the last team to sign in, so we wait in the long line of teams hoping it doesn’t start raining again.  Belgian’s are crazy about cycling so while standing in line some borderline creepers, are taking pictures and asking us for our signatures.

Things are looking up it hasn’t started to rain and we are almost at the stage.  Yes!  As we are called up, one by one we navigate the slippery stairs to the stage.  In amazing fashion Katie slips, her water bottle goes flying into the commisaires that are sitting at the table, hit a guy in the face.  I thought for sure she was down for good.  With a smile on her face and slightly embarrassed she gets up.  Not sure what to do I laugh, come one everyone likes a good fall and she was not hurt.

So we get our “official” signatures on the “official” paper and line up for the “official” pictures.  Believe it or not, I look up and the race has started.  All 170 some girls are taking off.  While the whole team is still on stage taking photos!  Yep, I think we all thought, ‘well this hasn’t happened before’!  So again we carefully navigate the slippery stage and stairs, slightly panicked, running, taking off our non race clothes, finding our bikes, and thinking WTF!  Really????  As I am catching back on and I see Katie and all I can do is laugh, this is hysterical!  Luckily, we were in neutral for another couple of kilometers which gave us a little time to regained our composure.

Race on! We had a big lap and then 4 small laps to complete.  Nothing really exciting happened until we hit the circuits, there were a string of attacks once we hit the cobbled climb and leading into to the next climb but nothing stuck.  There were continued attacks all the way up until Ellen aka “animal” made her attack going into the cobbled climb on the third lap and stayed away until the end!  She is really incredibly strong, her nickname isn’t Animal for no reason. Ellen took the win!

Sometimes things start out a little shaky, but always stick with the effort because sometimes things unfold not as you would think.  Ronny told Ellen, take a chance you never know what could happen.  Today Ellen took a chance, she was out there for over 30 kilometers by herself and it paid off.  You always have to push the limits, sometimes you don’t succeed but you will never “win” if you don’t try.