Staring at the biscuit tin

foto(266)The moment my alarm clock pulls me out of my dream, I groan. No, not today. Please, leave me here in bed, under the duvet. I don’t want to go there.

The first women’s World Cup race of the season, the Ronde van Drenthe, is today. It’s a race in the north of the Netherlands, over small roads with cobbled sections through the forest and over a steep man-made hill which – only in the Netherlands – is actually a rubbish tip. This, plus the strong wind, makes almost every edition pretty epic. It’s the Hell of the North of women’s racing.

It’s also the area where I grew up. The race passes the places of my youth, the streets I know so well. For me, it’s special to race here and last year’s Drenthe World Cup was the best race of my season. My best race ever, actually. In horrible, cold and wet conditions I ended up eighth. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to doing it again.

And now I stumble out of bed with a broken collarbone. I crashed in Het Nieuwsblad and was operated on two days later. I’m healing really fast, but from the moment I felt the sharp edge of a broken bone sticking out of my skin, I knew I wouldn’t be racing just a fortnight later. I was heartbroken.

I still am. Why, oh why, did I…

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