I Guess it’s Still about Cyclo-X this Week

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I drove from Delavan to Louisville yesterday. It was a nice day and not a long drive. I got to the course a little after 4:15 pm, but it doesn’t get dark here until after 5:30, so I had some time to ride the course.

At first I didn’t like the course much at all. The course isn’t at all like the course that is profiled in the race bible, but I don’t put any importance on that. I have no idea why they even went to the trouble of making one up. There is a pretty long sand pit that seems too be way to close to the start. That could be carnage for a bunch of master’s racers. After that, the start seems pretty good. There is another sand pit that has a hill in it. Very hard to clean.

The race is going to be decided on the hillside. It traverses up and down a little steep hill a bunch of times. It’s raining now and if it rains the inch it is supposed to today, then the hillside is going to be completely unrideable on Thursday for the qualifying races, for sure, and maybe for the whole weekend, just depending on how well the soil drains. There is a ton of sand in the soil, so maybe it will be alright. After a few laps, I started liking the course better. But, I’ll hold the final judgement until after the weekend.

Since we’re on the subject of cross, how about Bart Wellens? Nearly dying the night before the Belgian National Cyclocross Championships. I’m sorry, but I can’t go with the virus explanation. I’ve never heard of a virus someone contracts that nearly kills you in less than a 12 hour period. You lose nearly all heart, liver and kidney function in just a few hours after you felt great training that afternoon? That is just too weird. Here’s a cut from the Cyclingnew.com story.

On the eve of the Belgian national cyclo-cross championships in Hooglede-Gits outsider Wellens talked about great legs after a training ride. “Bart was riding very well this week and yesterday he said he felt super on training. Around 2pm we received an ominous text message: I’m afraid that I’m getting a bit ill, Bart told us. It started with a bit of fever but hour after hour his temperature increased,” Van Kasteren said.

“When his temperature reached about 40°C around 10pm we acknowledged how serious the situation was and transported Bart to the hospital in Geel. Around 3:30am his situation worsened and it got even more serious.

Bart’s doctor has stated, “with confidence” that it was just a viral infection, so I’m probably way off base with my assumptions. These guys have lost their minds.

I’m going to suit up around noon and go ride a couple laps in the rain to see how much effort I’m going to have to exert tomorrow. I just checked the weather and it’s supposed to rain all day today and tonight, then rain and snow tomomorrow for the qualifying events. It seems strange to race a 30 minute race and the prize is you get to line up further up front for another race. But, it’s much better than not doing it at all for sure. I guess cross is about riding circles around in the mud some.

Pre riding the course with a few of my buddies from the California Giant Strawberry Team. I guess Justin must of just gotten an important text.

About 2/3 the course is in this field behind me, the other 1/3 is on the hill I'm about to go up after the barriers.

Bart doing what he does pretty well, when he's not on his back in intensive care.

12 thoughts on “I Guess it’s Still about Cyclo-X this Week

  1. Bart

    Sound more like bacterial sepsis with the quick onset, he’s lucky to be alive in any case or prognosis.

  2. H Luce

    This was the course that the Spanish Influenza of 1918 took, it often killed people in one day: “Within hours of feeling the first symptoms of extreme fatigue, fever, and headache, victims would start turning blue. Sometimes the blue color became so pronounced that it was difficult to determine a patient’s original skin color. The patients would cough with such force that some even tore their abdominal muscles. Foamy blood exited from their mouths and noses. A few bled from their ears. Some vomited; others became incontinent.

    The Spanish flu struck so suddenly and severely that many of its victims died within hours of coming down with their first symptom. Some died a day or two after realizing they were sick.”

    Bad news if it’s a virus…

  3. Dan Fox

    Wasn’t 1918 the year Spanish cyclocross racers dominated at Worlds?

    Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    Good Luck Steve!

  4. DavidA

    Having lived and raced in Belgium for a number of years, it is not the cleanest place on earth and it is easy to pick up illness alot of differant ways. Food, all the animal poop on the roads and in the fields and just being exposed to all kinds of people it is ripe for virus and infection.

  5. tilford97 Post author

    I haven’t really heard of an adult going from coming back from a training ride and saying he’s feeling great to less than 10% heart function, with kidney and liver shut down in less than 12 hours. I don’t think a normal virus works that quickly, but what do I know.

  6. Triple Chainring

    Bart Wellens news = duh.

    Once again, Steve knows what he’s talking about. Listen, people. Listen.

  7. DavidA

    Then again steve he might have had the wrong mix or reaction to his “vitimin” injection or “hormone therapy” that his trainers and Doctors had him on…. its Belgium we’re talking about…wink wink

  8. Cyrus

    This seems very sketchy coming right on the eve of the championship event. Likely scenario is: he self-transfused with autologous blood in the morning, felt “great legs” during the day because of the elevated hematocrit, then started to go into septic shock from bad blood that had spoiled from improper storage. Very similar to Ricco.

  9. Randy

    Have a colleague whose wife had a similar viral heart infection, and it behaved exactly the same way. She was fine, then barely alive within a few hours. He won’t be racing anytime soon-that stuff kicks the crap out your heart. No, this isn’t another Ricco case, it sounds legit.


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