Don't dream it's over


It is incredible how quickly two months can go, especially given the amount of down time we had in Belgium. To say our DS watched over us like a hawk, watching our every move, would be an understatement. To be fair though, his justification of “you’re here to be professional bike riders, not tourist” was not far wrong.

 

As such, we filled the hours watching TV shows (The Wire, I high recommend), Facebook videos, Kevin Hart stand up and even slipped in one brazen escape to watch an epic fifth stage of the Tour de France. For the record, visiting the Carrefour de l’arbe sector of pave with the boys will certainly be one of those ‘lifetime’ memories. Otherwise, all the ‘feet up’ time didn’t produce another blog – for reasons outlined further on.
 
As for a quick update from what has changed (and in some cases, what hasn’t) since the last blog.
  • French Alps trip did not happen. A French rail strike took care of that. They even charged me for the pleasure of refunding a ticket I could not use. Shifty or incredibly smart businessmen, depends on how you look at it. But having your complaints page and phone line in French only put paid to getting too upset about it.
  • I got to spend 26 hours stranded and sleeping in Dubai airport. Don’t ask…
  • Raced in Flanders. Another ‘tick’ in both the ‘cycling bucket list’ and a little tribute to visiting the place where myself (like many others) lost a family member during World War I.
  • Fell in love with the Ardennes. We all did. Just not so much in love with training rides where Bob told us to ‘pack enough food for six hours’ but no more information than that…certainly was character building.
  • Jayden rounded out the trip finishing like a house on fire. All the boys rode like rock stars, with Jay especially showing Belg racing is perfectly suited to him.

  • Three months in and my fracture (just recently confirmed to be a double fracture of the radius and ulna) still hasn’t healed. Returning to racing five weeks after a double break apparently is not best for bone healing. Who knew.
  • My love of Speculoos did not waver. Only how snug my jeans fitted did. So back to reality, life without Speculoos and a lot more salad for dinner.
 
All of which brings me to the topic of this blog – and clarification of a question I’ve been asked by more than a few.
 
This afternoon all of the Bianchi-DCM-Arbitrage riders were emailed confirmation that the team has officially folded due to ‘financial and personal matters’. We were all aware, while in Belgium, that everything was not ideal back home. For fans of The Smiths, I Know It’s Over kept playing in my head as it was all playing out - not ideal. Though somewhat fortunately the cliché ‘ignorance is bliss’ held true. I do not know what exactly the personal or financial matters are – nor do I have any right to ask. The only concern for me was the outcome. And while not as emo as The Smiths offering - the worst was confirmed. It was over. 
 
However this is not a finger pointing exercise. I am sure that Tony and Lucy Anderson, Glenn Harris, Matt Poyner and the rest of the management did not come to this decision easily. There is no doubt they exhausted every other avenue before making this decision. The fact Arbitrage Racing was salavged (and provided a team for some of the boys already) is testament to that. As such, I would like to thank all of them for the opportunity to be a part of what was a terrific bunch of boys and let me ‘live the dream’ of racing in Europe.
 
Additionally a huge thanks must go out to our aforementioned Belgium DS Bob De Cnodder – who taught me more about racing in three months than I ever thought possible. Some life-long lessons were learned and I really do believe most aspiring racers would do well to have a mentor like Bob in their career at some point.
 
Finally to my team mates, we had some great times.

A lot of which aren’t fit to be published online but will definitely be memories (and stories out riding) I’ll be laughing at for years to come. I wish you all the best and am sure going to hate racing against you. But we’ll always have Lock, Stock… And an unnatural avoidance of steel cut oats.