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Maison Poulain stands for high quality, Belgian made and timeless design; clothes that are made to make you (everybody!) feel good on the bike.
But most of all, Maison Poulain strives to be as sustainable and durable as possible. Because, what is cycling without the beautiful surroundings we ride in.
Address

Graaf van landaststraat 121
9700 Oudenaarde
Belgium

Email

info@maisonpoulain.com

The plan was wild: qualifying for the Gran Fondo World Championships. A challenge, to say the least. Covid mixing up the calendar appeared to be an extra hurdle: I had to shots to qualify, both at the end of the season: the Schleck and Les Vosges. My results in Les Vosges made me realise I would most likely not attain my goal. You can image my disbelief receiving the message I qualified for the Worlds, after crossing the Schleck finish line. 

Time to prepare for Bosnia: 10 days!

What should have been a sunny bike holiday, turned out a little different. The predicted – very pleasant –  temperatures dropped and kept on dropping. In one week, Sarajevo went from an amazing 25°C to 5°C.

 

The day we left for Bosnia, news from the organisation came in: the weather was unusually wet and cold, and with the finish at 1590m, this could become an issue. Upon arrival the predicted temperatures had dropped another 7°C, the predicted rain became snow and the course was shortened.

At this point all riders were aware that this would not be your average race.

Knowing there was a 17km descent with less than 20m of visibility, staying safe was priority one. A good position was less important, and finishing became the goal.

We stayed in Jahorina. The ski resort located on the slopes of Jahorina mountain not only hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. It was also used as a military base during the Bosnian war a few years later. The traces of these fights are still extremely visible: abandoned and delipidated grand hotels, bullet holes everywhere and general poverty made our journey extra memorable. 

But, Jahorina is in full rebuild. New hotels are rising on the slopes and give hope the vibrant ski resort it once was will return.

THE RACE

A little glimpse of what went through my mind:

Cold. Wet. Incredibly foggy. Challenging. And most of all, a battle against my own mind. Keep on pedaling, staying warm. Trying to eat and drink until the frozen hands made it impossible. Running out of energy. Hoping to reach the finish line before bonking. Panic because of the hissing sound of my front tyre running out of air. Hearing the voice of my girlfriend yelling. The rim hitting the asphalt crossing the finish line. Finished.

The full experience

Replacing an inner tube post race to get back to the hotel. 

Time to unwind and do some tourism

A big thank you to team Belgium from Granfondoteam.be for the support and advice.

Bosnia, you were horribly fantastic.