One of the highlights of the localcycling news team's recent trip to Belgium was visiting our friend Jos Daems. Mr. Daems treated our group to an amazing training ride around the city of Mol. Jos and several of his riding buddies met us for an early morning continental breakfast featuring fresh baked local pastry. While Jos and his regular Thursday group rode mountain bikes, the five in our party were astride cyclocross bikes. Over the next three and a half hours we sampled a fantastic network of singletrack, connnecting lanes and tiny bits of pavement. The trails were very similar to the Lawrence, Kansas River Levee trails, with maybe a slight bit more of elevation change. There was storm debris from the recent high winds in some sections, being quickly attended to by crews with saws. Another amazing thing: the trails were all private property, but with free access to all. And while our guide had fat tires, we found them just right for a 'cross bike. What we couldn't do however, were the nose wheelies and handlebar seated tricks that Jos demonstrated during a regroup. (Keep reading!)
At the approximate halfway point of the ride we pulled up to a nice gated house set back in the woods. This was the refuel point. The beverage offered us? Champagne. After a few minutes we set off for more kilometers along some very scenic canal paths.
When we arrived back at Jos' house, we were treated to Pizza and "the man from Mol's" extensive cycling scrapbooks. Jos told some wonderful stories about the many World Championship events he has attended. One of our favorites was when he was in Japan. Greg LeMond had been crowned champ in Switzerland after a stay with Jos. They had become good friends. During the trip, Ruthie Matthes saw LeMond and Jos hanging out. She asked if Mr. Daems could get her an autograph of Greg. He quickly introduced them, and she got her autograph. The fun part was when Greg quipped to the effect, "Now you know Jos Daems, you'll be a World Champion." Ruthie won Mountain Bike World's the next year.
We presented Mr. Daems with a localcycling.com team jersey in appreciation of his tremendous hospitality. We hope his luck works as well on future Masters World Championships. Here are some post ride photos with our pal.