Well we’ve hit September and so the final month or so of the season. Writes Dan Patten.
The good news is I’m still feeling motivated to race and race hard to finish off the year. The bad news is the last few weeks I’ve been caught out with a bit of illness that seems to be going round these parts at the moment, and which has proved hard to shake off.
Despite this, the last few weeks has seen three more top 10 results for the palmares. Battling performances for a 6th in Schellebelle and a 5th in Erpe Mere may well have seen the next win if I hadnt felt so “off”.
Before this though, no doubt came my strongest performance of the last few weeks.
A kermesse race in Wambeek–Ternat, which featured a long cobbled climb on each circuit, was to see me earn the respect of kermesse legend Mario Willems.
I rode aggressively throughout – ‘Willems style’ – and played a big part in the race. Unfortunately my last bid for freedom saw me being pulled back around 1.5km to go. I would end up 7th, so not the win I was looking for, but Mario made a point of coming up to me after to shake my hand and acknowledge the way I had ridden. OK, not the win, but it’s more respect earned from another kermesse legend, along with others such as Tony Bracke, and the way I see it that can only be a good thing.
My mechanic/soigneur said he had never seen him do this before, so its good for me to know that I am making a good impression on the guys who are winning races in the heartland week-in week-out.
It’s certainly been up against me the last few weeks but after racing yesterday, and finally getting some good sensations in the legs and my body allowing me to open up, it’s a relief to finally believe that the worst of it is over, and that my season’s not: finished. Also,: illness aside, the body is actually: feeling good, which can only bode well for the remainder of the season.
Yes, the end of the season is drawing closer but I will be continuing to race and trying to add to that win tally. As always there’s plenty of races about and so my season continues.
My Belgian ‘fanbase’ are still out there supporting me (haha) and so I’ll be on the hunt for some more wins.
Of course, less bike time over the last few weeks has meant for more café time in town. Being based in Oudenaarde we are lucky to have the Ronde van Vlaanderen museum here, which also hosts a café: it’s the perfect place to go grab a coffee, watch a bit of cycling on TV and meet some new people.
It’s become a bit of a regular hanging-out place and I’m starting to feel like part of the family there, lol.
If you’re ever in Oudenaarde be sure to check it out – especially if you would like to meet the cycling legend that is Freddy Maertens.
I’ll be hitting the kermesses hard now, so, until next time…
PS. A big thank you to Callum Gough, whose apartment I’m staying in for the remainder of the season. It’s helped me out big time. Bedankt!