Life in Oostende

Life in Oostende

October 13th, 2016

Photos by Niels Musschoot

It feels like it’s been much longer than three weeks since I arrived in Belgium, but that’s a good thing.

So much has happened since I stepped off the plane in Brussels and drove to my new home in West Flanders, by the sea. But first off, I was so glad that all my equipment, bikes, wheels, and spare parts made the journey safely. I was doing ok too 🙂

Belgium must have been happy to see me, as the weather was gorgeous as Niels and I assembled the bikes in the sunshine, wearing t-shirts. Knowing it wouldn’t last made it that much sweeter.

Returning to Belgium for the 3rd season fills me with excitement and anticipation this time around. The days of unhappiness, stress, and difficulty, stories from my first season racing in Europe, seem distant and tucked comfortably away in my memory. This was a new chapter.

And this new chapter has a new race-day set-up. The van is my new home for the rest of the season. For me, it’s something unique to racing in Europe because all the races are within driving distance. When I left the US race circuit, I also left the necessity for constant plane travel, living out of a suitcase, and disassembling & reassembling bikes to fit in travel cases.

Come find me at the races to get a matching rider card. Now you won’t have any trouble finding me…

Daily life has settled into a nice routine already. I get to see the Sea all the time, and it’s pretty amazing even on the bad days.

If you need help finding Oostende on the map, see my recent Strava activity.

First thing in the morning I love to walk to the bakery for fresh bread. You can also find me cooking, foam rolling, and putting in a few hours with Strava when I’m not on the bike training.

So far, we’ve built a set of practice barriers, played on the single track trails in the sand dunes, explored the neighboring towns, and even found a velodrome for training.

October is the month when the Kermis is in Oostende. The town squares are full of games, carnival rides, and food stands. Olibollen have been consumed and are delicious.

Along with a night out on the town, it’s the perfect way to celebrate a race weekend or a hard training block.

The most surprising realization after returning to Europe this year is that it feels more like home than ever. Safe to say, I’m beyond happy that the bumps in the road these past few years have not been enough to keep me from doing what I love and chasing dreams.

Until next time…sending greetings from Oostende, Belgium.