So its been a few months since my last blog posting but now a week into my off-season its time to put some words together and sign off on this 2013 season. Having stepped on the plane to the USA way back on February 4th and now already in November its been a busy nine months; five months in the USA to start with and four months between USA/Belgium/UK is a lot of km's covered... by plane, car, boat and of course by bike!
Once again its been a hectic month or two and so too much to write about in a single blog post. I really should start writing a book! So I am going to keep this fairly short and sweet focusing on another victory (in the Winston Criterium) added to season 2013 and a return to Europe after five months away!
So its been a long time since my last blog posting way back at the end of February. Though I was looking to keep the posts coming frequent, the simple fact of the matter is I've been in a pretty uninspired writing mood over the past months.
So this is my first blog post from across the pond aka stateside aka the USA writes Dan Patten. Despite everything tending to be bigger here in the US, I intend to keep my blog postings shorter and more frequent this year (well this is the plan!). It's been a little over 3 weeks now since I took off from London Heathrow. A smooth flight to Philadelphia was followed by some airport time before another flight onto Greensboro, North Carolina...
The racing season rapidly approaches and for the Dan Patten Blog in 2013 that will mean the USA! Those that know me and those that have followed my progression in the cycling world here on my blog will know how much that has involved Belgium.The Belgium chapter will continue I can assure you of that.
Dan Patten's 2012 season began way back on the 19/02 and with my final race on the 14/10, it is finally time to relax, reflect and look ahead to the rest of 2012, 2013 and beyond!
Time again for a Dan Patten Blogupdate as this 2012 season in Belgium continues. Yet again the consistency has continued but also now I can happily say that consistency has been rewarded with some wins.
Dan Patten. So its been way too long since my last posting. Since that mid-April time post, my race schedule has increased, my condition also (always a satisfier) whilst the weather like much of europe has continued to be mixed. However with nice spells of nice, sunny belgium days, the good weather has outweighed those bad days....just! We'll get the real low point of these past months out the way first and that came on my return to the UK for the National Championships, which certainly did not go to plan.
So last time I was posting here on the Dan Patten Blog about the great weather we were experiencing in Belgium at that time. Unfortunately the sun has gone and the rain has returned. Clearly 20 degrees+ in March was a treat. I'm hoping a treat that returns soon.
So it's been a fairly quiet start of the season for me, but I can say now on the Dan Patten Blog that things are underway. A blood test here in Belgium revealed lower iron levels, which most likely explains my lethargic start to the new year.
The season is here and so I thought it was about time that I posted my first Dan Patten Blog entry of 2012, to fill you in on whats been happening over the winter months and what I am up to in this coming season.
So it's been coming and I'm happy to say I have my first win of the 2011 season in Belgium! And oh, what a fine day it was. Everything fell into place and to finish it off with the win was extra special. After a lot of bad luck before and in the earlier part of the season with injuries, crashes and what-not, it's a nice feeling now that things are going my way. Patience has paid off! Dan Patten's Blog.
So I've been meaning to put together a blog post of my latest experiences of life here in Flanders. This season has certainly had its ups and downs, but all this seems rather irrelevant after the events of this week. Cycling indeed has its fair share of tragedies and the death of Wouter Weylandt in Stage 3 of the Giro this year is another one added to that list.
Back in the heartland and my season is officially underway. It's great to be back racing and despite a disrupted winter the body is feeling surprisingly sprightly. I have defied the norm these past few months. From having much of the winter off the bike with an achilles injury, to starting the season (albeit a little later than originally planned) with testing figures that are higher than could have imagined six weeks previous.
So I thought it was about time I posted another Dan Patton Blog update, I've been rather quiet of late and the reason being quite simply there's not been much to talk about. I've been plagued by misfortune after misfortune this winter which ironically gave me lots more time to update the blog, yet I was short of anything really interesting to say - until now that is...
It's Christmas time, which means the first half of the off-season is coming to an end. Time has flown by since finishing up my season in Belgium mid-October. The body was certainly in need of recovery, after hitting the ground too many times in the second half of the season. Not least because on two occassions I was hit by cars, with the last time coming just a week before the end of the season...
the end of the season has arrived on the Dan Patten Blog. All in all it's been a good year - I've learned a lot, showed my strength (although sometimes a little too much) and certainly had some success along the way.
Well we've hit September and so the final month or so of the season for the Dan Patten Blog. 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.
So my latest update on the Dan Patten Blog tells about the run of bad luck which continued through July and into August, including a collision with a car and less than a week later getting taken down by a bidon during the third stage of the Ronde van de Provincie Antwerpen.
So it's been a few weeks since my last Dan Patten Blog post. This is because I was waiting until something went my way again... I'm still waiting! The last few weeks of racing has been filled with bad luck, with mechanical problems at the wrong times and a few crashes to go with, not to mention a national championships that was reduced to a training ride.
Came close to another win at the weekend, this time in Grandglise. I was second to an ex-pro called Jurgen Guns, who used to ride for Vlaanderen 2002 - Eddy Merckx around 1999/2000.
Well It's been on the cards all season and last weekend in the town of Ghoy I took my first win in Belgium. Like always the attacks came from km 1 and I managed to get away midway through the first lap - and this was to be the move that stuck.
Dan Patten's Blog - So, I'm recovering well - so well in fact that I came my closest to date to winning here in Belgium last Sunday, finally ending up in 3rd place, but so close to taking the win.
Dan Patten's Blog - As the season rolls on the races are coming thick and fast. May was always going to be an important month with the Belgium Cup (Beker Van Belgie/Coupe de Belgique) series taking center stage.
Another example today of how things can seemingly go from being all rosey to disastrous in an instant, writes Dan Patten.
For the first time in two months I'm back in the UK. Back to Essex. I'm back for this Sundays East Midlands Cicle Classic/Rutland Melton and with the form I've built over the last couple of months in Belgium I am going into the race with great optimism.
The things that can happen in the space of a week when you're living in the heart of Flanders. As mentioned in the last blog post I happened to meet Kurt Asle Arvesen on a ride and had a nice spin and chat with him. A couple of days later I was in the Asfra bike shop when fellow Norwegian and Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen walked in on his way out training.
On the 28th March my Asfra Racing Team (and support club) headed to Montreuil sur Mer in France. The race had the mixed characteristics of a race in France, a Belgium kermesse and almost like a criterium in the UK. 23 laps of a 3.8km circuit was the order for the day... oh, and I met Kurt Asle Arvesen...
Best part of 200 riders, good crowds, the music playing, the beer flowing and the kermesse burgers cooking... all the elements of a typical kermesse here in Merelbeke, Belgium. I made the point of being on the front from the start here, knowing like usual it would explode from the off and not wanting to be caught too far back when it did. Not long into the frist lap and I found myself in the first move off the front but this was to be pulled back only a few kms later. After a few laps in the bunch I thought it was time to try again...
172 starters on a Wednesday afternoon... only in Kermis Belgium. This was a hard race from the off, again typical of Belgium. With only one amateur race taking place on this day it meant this race was full-on. A couple of crashes in the peloton on the same corner on consecutive laps didn't help matters...
Gathering Momentum... The result in Lierde was backed up with an 8th in Geluwe (13/03/10). A chase of the lead group over the last 30km led to an exciting finish. Unfortunately the chase group I was in just run out of road to make the junction with the leaders... another km maybe would of done it! Even though some of the riders were pulled back six remained just in front and would fight it out for the win.
Abandon Vehicle ... Three days after Lierde there was a race in Wallonie, a race I intended to do, well that was until the team vehicle almost went up in flames. A Belgian team manager lets us use the team vehicles to get about to races... so I can't really complain too much. They are rather old though, and this one in partcluar apparenty had 450,000km on the clock - maybe time to get a new one?!
Kermis Kings... Perhaps a combination of Mallorca, having a hectic time before getting out to Belgium, and a bit of illness and settling down in Belgium, but for the first few weeks certainly I have been feeling rather lethargic.
Dan Patten has joined the ASFRA - Flanders team for this season, and being based in Belgium he's getting into the kermis scene with enthusiasm - and with some success too. He'll be keeping us all up-to-date through his new regular VeloVeritas blog, sharing how his season is going, what it's like living in Belgium, and inside stories and tips about racing in "the Heartland". Read on!...
Craig Grieve is the man at the helm of Spokes Cycles, with branches in St. Andrews and Dundee, and manager of the successful junior Spokes Racing Team through which so much talent has passed. Craig raced ‘back in the day’, paying his dues in Belgium and The Netherlands in those 240 rider, warp-speed criteriums.
Felix English gets embarrassed by the memory but he is one of the few men to beat Chris Hoy in a match sprint -back in 2010, in the 1/16th finals of the European Track Championships and now he’s popped back up as a World Cup winner again; in Glasgow he beat some very tasty opposition to take the scratch race.
If you check the palmares websites, Neah Evans' name first pops up in 2015 – just four years later and she’s performing at world level in ladies track cycling as part of the GB ladies team pursuit squad; with her most recent successes coming in the European Team Pursuit Championships and Glasgow World Cup where her squad took gold on both occasions.
It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...
We took a trip to watch the Dunfermline Cyclo-Cross. It’s a wee while since we’ve been to a Scottish cyclo-cross race and the sport has changed beyond all recognition from the early 70’s when your ‘cross bike was your winter bike with the muddies removed.
Adding his name to the u23 Gent Six Day roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George; the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix.