With most good runners now competing in the Karrim'Hoc in the Ardennes, the time seemed right to score some easy Wintercriterium points at today's event in Ham.
We've got some interesting theories on why they are so important coming in a minute, but let's first talk about the event itself, organized by hamok at the appropriately titled map of Ham.
The map is not really hard, with quite some brambles around and we heard Serge Baert, 5-th place in the A-race saying that "everywhere he seemed to be leaving the paths people somehow decided to place some fallen trees in his way". The smart thing to do in such a situation is, of course, to not leave the paths, which brings us to the most challenging part of the map and our area in general, the dense path networks, easy as ever to lose track of them while running at high speed.
In the A-class, it was your reporter who went home with the 1000 points, quite unexpectedly as our immediate reaction after the race was pretty bad, as usual, some might argue, but let's not say that and point the finger at some stomach problems as yesterday's mussels where not an ideal preparation for such a tough race and most off all quite a few bad route choices, as can be seen on the map. In second position, we found Yves Briers, 1'28 behind, clearly regaining shape after his marriage. Trol's Swedish runner Tomas Henriksson took the third place, right in front of current WC leader and last year's winner Wannes Hendrickx.
In the women's classes, it's not quite clear which course we should talk about, but we've somehow decided that we're going to say that Kim Steegen won there. She was some five minutes faster than Lieke Van Opstal (both KOL).
The current leader in the WC is Wannes Hendrickx, roughly 1600 points ahead of myself and 1800 points better than Jan Oeyen, to whom De Laatste Post has given some media attention lately. Today's event brought me closer to Hendrickx. This is very important, since one of the lessons we've learned is that people value more top rankings in regional events higher than good rankings in the events that really matter. That's at least one of the things an analysis of hamok's new years whishes taught us.
This follows from a simple comparison of the number of times people appointed your reporter or his training- and clubmate Thomas van der Kleij as the o-man of the year. Let's look at the big events of last year. I was exactly nowhere to be found at any of them, except perhaps the fourth national event on my home map and the sprint champs that don't count towards the ranking there. Van der Kleij was always better than me, except the second national event in Betâne, yet he only gets 3 votes (we refrain from further commenting on either "bias" or "joke"), while I get 7 honorable mentions, despite my inability to see the summer as anything more than a resting period. This pretty much proves our thesis. Someone even commented as "Jeroen Hoekx, for his nice results", while Thomas's reasons don't go further than "Thomas vdK since he writes beautiful articles for De Laatste Post", rather anonymously said by E.M., 1103, a number we've quickly checked in the runners database during our resultservice duty today (what's it with all this anonymous commenting these days, sheesh). This discovery of identity, leads us to another observation, but we digress.
Anyway, with only three more WC races to go, we'd like to believe that anything is still possible, except that it's not. In the D21 class, it seems like Kim Steegen is going to win, as she's currently more than 2000 points ahead of Lieke Van Opstal and some 3000 points better than Greet Oeyen.