Namur, Belgium – A cold, grey and windy day greeted me as I rolled down the window to ask a wrinkled and weathered faced Belgian where I can park my car. In typical Belgian fashion the first steward directed me down the hill, where another steward directed me up the hill to where I had just come from. Alas one of the stewards finally directed me to a parking place within a reasonable distance to the course. Such is the dance I seem to play at each and every cross race I attend.
Namur is a course that sends a chill of trepidation and fear down the backs of most racers; while at the same time it tends to be a favored course to many racers because of the same features that scare them. It is this contradictory stance which I believe gives Namur it’s allure, hard enough to scare even the best, but such a challenge that one can’t help but admire the course.
I started the day roaming the course, looking for the best place to film and capture the racers. I was drawn to one section of the course allowed me to film a sloppy muddy decent, a steep, power run-up and even a third bonus spot on top of the hill as the racers approached the pits. The vertical drop was not that significant, but the distance over which it dropped was! The steepness was so much the organizers anchored thick marine rope along the hillside to allow fans to go up and down the slope!
Between the rain, the wind, the chill, the mud and a convergence of the worlds best cross racers you had all the ingredients of a perfect cross race. A great battle ensued, with the Belgian Wout Van Aert dominating the course and leaving Mathieu Van Der Poel almost 1:20 back. The American racers found some good form with Logan Owen and Curtis White making the top-30.
Words and Video by: Gregg Germer