Sep 16, 2012

Kermesse of The Year

I did my first, and only, and last, kermesse of 2012 in Belgium.  I would have liked to have done more but the season is pretty much at its end.

A kermesse is a race based around a festival with foodstands, circus rides, and lots of cycling fans.  In Belgium, there are several every week.  Most kermesse courses are around 5km long, and we race many laps, so the spectators can have a decent show. 

Often times the roads are narrow, sometimes as narrow as a bikepath, sometimes there are cobble sections and sometimes there is ''road furniture'' (they love this stuff over here) scattered around the course.
Pretty wild decor hanging from the celing at the race registration spot.  (Which is of course, a bar.  It's a kermesse, afterall)
Sign in! A kermesse costs 10 Euros to enter, and 5 Euros are given back upon return of the race plate and bib number.  A concept we don't use back in America.
Today, I raced a 16 lap, 82km race with my Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies teammate Leah Kirchmann, and fellow Québécoise, Karol-Ann Canuel as a training in prepartion for the World Championships.  We decided not to race in Team Canada kits, to stay off the radar.

Karol-Ann, Lex, and Leah. -Bruno Forrestier
I was in an early move that didn't stay away for more than a full lap.  Shortly after, Leah got away and with one other rider.  In the meantime, I covered every attack I could, in case another small group would bridge up to my teammate.  It proved to be a tough task, but I managed.  It was also good positioning practice for me, because I knew I had to stay up at the front of the hyper dynamic group at all times. 

Lex Albrecht covering moves and taking care of business while Leah Kirchmann was off the front with another rider.  -Bruno Forrestier
On the final lap I decided to take the lead through the corners to control the pace and not get gapped by other riders.  Towards the end I let a couple of other girls taste the wind a bit, and I stuck behind in their draft.  But, Karol-Ann tried to rescue me as I lost my 3rd wheel position just before the finish, because the bunch sprint for 3rd was too much for me to handle and we both finished in the swarm of other racers.
Lex going first through the corners, peloton trailing behind. -Bruno Forrestier
Leah stayed away for the entire race, and just barely lost the cat-and-mouse sprint game to her breakaway companion.  Impressive 2nd place Leah. 
Leah Kirchman in second place at today's Kermess
Our soigneurs wiped our legs, arms, and faces, fed us, (I'd better not get used to this, or I'm going to be in trouble back at home) and we rode back home to flush out our legs. 
Congrats Leah!
I'd call today a sucess!


  1. Thanks for the nice read.

  2. Thanks for the race report and all the pictures...very enjoyable!