Editor’s Note: Peter Horn is an American racing with the Geox-Fuji Test Team, the amateur development team of Geox-TMC. As Geox-Fuji Test Team’s captain, he’s looking to lead the team to victories in Belgium and around Europe, and help break the team’s riders into the Professional ranks.
This year I got into the heart of Flanders right away. I arrived in Belgium on Thursday evening, rode easy Friday and Saturday, and today – Sunday – was my first training with the team. We did 4.5 hours, from Oostkamp to the Flemish Ardennes and back. We rode a few hills in the neighborhood of the Kwaremont, with some good efforts and fast rotations on the way there. And it was pretty dry for us, too – we started in 3 degrees (C), wet roads and mist in the air, and ended in 5 degrees, dry roads, and mist in the air. Beautiful day in Belgium.
Team training really started when my new roommate arrived. Arne Casier is one of the best young Belgians on the team and a good friend from last season. He just stayed in the house overnight; he lives with his family in Hooglede, which isn’t too far away but it’s easier for him to be at the team house the night before we have team training or a race. We laugh constantly and I make a lot of jokes at his expense. The problem is that his English is getting so good these days that he never misses one of my comments and he’s able to come back hard and fast. My Flemish is good enough to hold a conversation but not quite good enough to catch every all of his West Flemish expressions.
My other teammate at the house right now is Paavo Paajanen. He’s from Finland (multiple-time U23 National Champion) but at the moment lives right down the hall. I tried to find out exactly how many championships he’s won, but he replied “Too many”. He’s also a good friend and, clearly, a very strong rider. And every time he goes home
he comes back with one of my favorite things in the world – black licorice. Apparently licorice is everywhere in Finland and it also comes in every variety – sweet, smoky, salty, fruity, soft, hard – and I’m sure many other types. I wouldn’t be able to publish most of the Finnish I learned from him and my other Finnish teammates last season.
I have a rest day tomorrow, good training on Tuesday and Wednesday and then preparation for next weekend’s race, Beverbeek Classic. Besides the racing and training, I go to our bike-fitter on Wednesday to have him set up my new bikes – a couple Altamiras and a D-6. The bike-fitter, Frans Vanmarcke, has been a mechanic and bike-fitter for a long, long time. He’s worked on the bikes of every famous Belgian racer – including Merckx – and when it comes to anything about my position or parts, I do whatever he says and don’t think twice about it. He’s such a character that I could write several blogs about just one visit to him, but I’ll try to keep it to a couple paragraphs and a few photos when I write next week.
I have one more thing for this week. I want to start a little installment that I’ll call my Song of the Week. I like music; I never listen to it during training, but I do like it when I’m in my room, or preparing for a race, or stretching, for example. I find that certain songs put me in the right state of mind, remind me of my goals and what’s important to me, and give me a certain rhythm in training and racing. The right music calms me down, helps me focus and puts me in the present moment. Oftentimes I get hooked on one or a few songs for a few days or even a few weeks. I hope that by sharing one particular song each week, it will give you an idea of the music I like – but more importantly, an idea of
the sounds and rhythms and words that I find useful for training and competition. And it’ll remind me of the song and let me listen to it once more while I write the blog! With all that said, my Song of the Week is: “White Gutz” by Dungeon Family. Check it out Until next week,
Captain, Geox-Fuji Test Team