Euro Photo Journal
In lieu of writing a reflection or story from my most recent travels to Europe for the Koksijde and Milton Keynes World Cup races, I've decided to compile a photo journal of sorts. First of all, Europe is full of lovely things to look at, and if there were such a thing as architecture porn, it would certainly come from Europe. However, the other reason is that so far this year feels more like a series of photos than a story; there have been many rich moments but not a discernable plot. As I sort through a number of changes this year, I am savoring these moments as they come.
The first order of business upon landing in Brussels was to procure coffee, and to procure a suitable vehicle. As you can see, by suitable I mean the largest thing that Enterprise rents in Europe because we had 4 bike boxes, a large suitcase, 3 roller bags, and 3 backpacks.
We drove straight to my friends Glenn and Tatjana's bike shop, Bike and Cycle Oudenaarde, to build bikes and head for a spin around the lovely town of Oudenaarde, home to many of the famous cobbled climbs as well as the finish of the Tour of Flanders. After 5 trips to Belgium for racing, I felt like a seasoned 'crosser being able to navigate a little tour of the area for Maghalie. Here we are at the top of the Koppenburg.
Tatjana and Glenn have been my adoptive family in Belgium for the last couple of years. This year, Tatjana's grandmother was generous enough to let us stay with her in Bredene, a town a bit north from Koksijde also on the coast. Friday we went to pre-ride at the course. Above is a view from the pits to the longest sand section, a double sided stretch of several hundred yards.
Glenn and Tatjana set us up with a tent and trainers for the warm-up!
Thanks to Kris Claeyé, Willem Beerland, Kevin Buyssens, Kevin Remmerie, and Patricia Cristens for the great pics!
Koksijde is the hardest, most epic of the World Cups. The streches of sand guarantee that you are racing at your absolute limit at all times, whether you're pedaling through it, running through it, or scrambling up a sand climb. The Europeans are sand ninjas!
The above are views from watching the men's race.
On the way back from Koksijde, we encountered a terrible traffic jam. In an attempt to skirt around it, we got all clever and took this side road...which turned into a cow path. #tourists
3 Belgians, 2 Canadians, and an American walket into a friteur... That night it was time to indulge in lasagne and ice cream sundaes!
Sunday, we decided to ride bikes into Brugge, the Venice of Belgium, for breakfast. Per usual, I searched Strava for segments between the two areas then plotted a route on Google Maps.
Somehow, we missed that route entirely on the way there, but stumbled upon the proper canal path on the way back!
The canal path between Bredene and Brugge.
Waffles and cappuccino. For me this wasn't just falling off the wagon, it was crashing off of it! With my obsessive nature in regards to health food, it was the best possible thing in the world that could have happened! For a control freak, sometimes the healthiest thing is to savor something rich, delicious, and indulgent.
Brugge Center already prepped for Christmas with it's outdoor market.