On Sunday, 12 September, Pauwels Consulting took part in the Corporate Cycling Challenge in Ostend. In total 31 teams competed in three disciplines, vying for the title of Company Cycling Belgian Champion. Kurt Quinot, our Marketing Manager, was among the participants and describes his experiences in the following report.
Want to know how our teams did? Then read Kurt’s report now.
Here we are at 9 a.m. on a bright September morning, and it’s time for us to participate for first time in the Corporate Cycling Challenge. We are immediately impressed by the good organisation: registration, insurance, jersey numbers, changing rooms, showers, fruit and energy bars, goodie bag … everything goes smoothly. This event is clearly well planned, allowing us to focus fully on our sports performance.
And that’s a good thing, because we are all feeling a healthy tension. It’s the first time that almost all of us have ever participated in a real race. Finally, we can be real racing cyclists!
The team time trial
Once all the company teams have arrived and gotten ready, it’s time for the action. The first discipline of the day is the team time trial. What counts here is the time when the third rider crosses the finish line. So the idea is to ride fast as a group and, above all, communicate well in order to make the most of each other’s strengths. Just like what we do every day at Pauwels Consulting!
Pauwels Consulting’s first team start at 10:35 a.m. Koen De Borle, Frederik Coppens, Pieter Willekens, Björn Nachtegaele and Tijs Billemon fly through the sharp bends at an average speed of 39 km/h and end up as 17th. That is a great start!
Ten minutes later it’s time for Thomas Bertin, Pascal Verbaere, Jens Vriendt and myself. We also ride relentlessly over the 9 km at an average speed of 36 km/h, putting us in 28th place.
After that initial effort, we have already learned a lot. Racing is more than just about pedalling hard; good steering is also essential. Taking a corner at 42 km/h requires daring and skill. Racers who are not afraid to dive into corners don’t have to sprint afterwards to catch up. And on a course with seven corners, that is an important advantage.
Soon it’s time for the second discipline of the day: the sprint. In this discipline, each team starts as a group and the first four riders take turns at the front, keeping the last rider out of the wind. This way the last rider can save their energy and give everything during the final sprint, because the first to cross the finish line wins the race.
Pauwels Consulting 1 achieved a magnificent 5th place here, with Tijs Billemon being launched to cover the 750 m at a speed of 50 km/h! Team 2 also pulled out all the stops, but was unable to match team 1. With a speed of 46 km/h, Jens Vriendt finished in 27th place.
With the first two disciplines completed, the interim ranking determines which teams will participate in the first ‘slower’ criterium and which will participate in the faster second one. Pauwels Consulting 1 is eligible for the fast criterium, while team 2 has qualified for the slow criterium.
In both criteriums, Pauwels Consulting gives it all they’ve got, and that can be seen in the results! In the slower criterium, Jens Vriendt achieves a great 6th place after 9 rounds with an average speed of 39.9 km/h. In the faster criterium, Tijs Billemon explodes to claim 12th place. He finishes the 32 km at an average speed of 43.1 km/h. A wonderful achievement by both!
The end of a beautiful day
Once all the disciplines have been completed, we can finally join our supporters. Our colleagues, friends, spouses and children have encouraged us, and that certainly gave us extra strength. Between the competitions, they were able to stroll around the square and admire bicycle stands from Wahoo, Van Eyck and Campagnolo, or feed body and soul at the food and drinks stands. The children could test their skills on the cycling obstacle course from Cycling Flanders. But now we can finally enjoy all the good things on offer at the food and drinks stands too!
In the end, the winner of the Corporate Cycling Challenge is CNH. As a team, they were the best over the three disciplines and can donate €500 to a charity. Pauwels Consulting Team 1 finished in a respectable 8th place. For their part, Team 2 has another challenge: handing over the red lantern to another team next year.
After the final ceremony with all the teams, we can conclude that this year’s participation in the Corporate Cycling Challenge was an absolute success. Every rider and supporter enjoyed the day, and we went home tired but happy. Preparations for our participation in the 2022 edition can begin!
That’s what we like to hear, Kurt. Once again, congratulations to all the participants on your achievements, and many thanks to all the supporters for the atmosphere around the course!
Would you like to participate in the 2022 edition as an internal employee or consultant? Then send an email to [email protected] and book your place now. Here’s to the next edition!