From January 2001 till July 2003, we lived in a nice town, Midland, Michigan, in the USA. On this site, I will share some pictures and stories of that very special period of my life. This page is written in English because our American friends who will look at this page will understand the comments. I will tell on this page about the different sports I did in the USA and how I started to bike.
Before we moved to the US, I played soccer with the Preminiemen team of SK Bellem. In Michigan, there is no soccer in Winter because it is too cold and there is often snow on the ground. So when we arrived, I could not play, but I could practice in Saginaw in an indoor soccer hall on artificial grass one time a week. During the weekend there were games. The trainer was from Kroatie. His real name was Dragutonovic, but everybody called him Drago. He had played with the Detroit team.
In May, outside soccer started but I could not play with the Select team from Midland because the selections were already made, and they do not change these anymore. However, I played with a recreational. In Midland, there are more than 10 schools and the schools form in Spring teams that play each other. I went to Plymouth Elementary school. A coach of the select team saw me playing and told me I could come to his practises. His name is Phil Beljanski. He also invited me to play a Tournament with his Select team in Ann Arbor in Michigan. Therefore we needed to travel 2 hours and stay in a hotel with the team during the weekend. It rained almost the entire weekend but we had a lot of fun. The field was full with mud as you can see on the pictures. I got in contact there with Jonathan Thomas, who became a very good friend. Also his brother Oscar became a very good friend of my brother Sam and their parents became good friends of my parents. We did a lot of things together in Midland.
The team with coach Beljanski, Jonathan (4th from left) and myself (8th from left).
A nice thing about Midland is that you can do a lot of different sports. At the end of the school season in June, there is a track meet between the schools. I participated in the 800 m. The first year I ended 3th (still 4th positionon the picture below) but the second year I won.
At the beginning of the School in September there is a Paddleton tournament. This is like badminton but with a wooden racket. There are around 100 players and there is direct elimination. The first year I got to the semi-finals. Then I was beaten by a boy called Ryan. I won then for the 3th place. Two other boys which I learned to know when I got selected for the Select soccer Team were second and fourth. The seond year, I participated too but was eliminated already in the 3th round. Later, I found out that the boy who eliminated me won the tournament.
Playing Paddleton for place 3
The nrs 1-4 with our trophees :
On the right side Ryan who won, right of me Ryan (2nd)
In September there is also the 1 Mile Cross. Also there, all the schools participate and there are around 100 runners. The race is around a small lake in Michigan. I run most of the distance in front but the last 200 m, I got very tired and there was 1 boy that could come back and sprint fast. So, I ended second. I beat the same boy the next year on the 800 m track.
Then in Fall of 2001, I also got selected for the Midland Wizard Team. I played for the team also in 2002, both in Spring and Fall but stopped playing the last half year (first half of 2003) that we stayed in Midland
Some Pictures in the Wizard shirt and with the team
In Winter 0f 2001, after the soccer season was finished, I started to play basketball with the Blessed Sacarament Elementary School Team, In the Winter of 2002, I also played basketball, with the Northeast Middle School Team.
Some pictures in Basket Ball Shirt and of the Blessed Sacrament team
Then after winter I got interested in biking. There was a youth criterium in Midland in May of 2002 and I wanted to participate but had no bike. My father bougth me a second hand steel bike. He know the seller from Mick who wanted to buy the bike for Jonathan but it was to large for Jonathan. I joined the Midland TriCity club. The week before the race I came to Europe with my brother and mother to visit our family. We landed on Friday night and the criterium was on Saturday morning. So I started with jet lag and also, my father did not put extra pressure on my tubes. I think there was only 4 kg on it. All year categories (from 11 till 18) rided together, so there were a lot of older boys. There were 5 boys of my age... and I won ! We then found out that this was the Michigan Criterium Championship. Now that I won my first race, I wanted to go to more races.
Some pictures of my first bike reace in Midland. You can recognize me with my black helmet and yellow shirt.
Sometimes I joined my father on rides. One ride we did was a ride sponsored by Greg Lemond. Also my friend Jonathan and his father were doing the ride. Greg Lemond recognized my Belgain Shirt and came riding next to me. He said : "Hey, are you Belgian ? I lived for 10 years in Kortrijk. We were riding next to each other for a long time and talked a lot. Afterwards, we took some pictures".
With Greg Lemond
My friend Jonathan and Mick with Greg Lemond
In Summer of 2002, I participated in 3 other races. One in Western Michigan, one in London, just across the border in Canada and one in Detroit that was organized by Belgians. There was a "Belgian Cafe". Below some pictures from these races. Everytime, there were also older boys participating.
Then Fall came and I started to play soccer again. With Halloween, everybody puts on a crazy outfit to go to school. Below you see me in my "Halloween outfit".
In winter we went snowmobiling with my friends Ryan and Rob. You see me here together with Ryan.
I also tried, like my brother Sam, to speedskate with the Midland speedskating club in the season 2002-03 but I did not continu this in Belgian.
Then in spring of 2003 I started to practise with the Midland TriCity racing club. A very nice gentlemen named Jay Romick learned me a lot of things, like not overlapping, hiding from the wind, choose low enough gears, etc. In June of 2003, I participated in 1 race in Ann Arbor with my new Trek Bike. My father bought the frame, the wheels and the different parts on Ebay and put the bike together. So I was well prepared to start racing in Belgian. My first race was the PK in Ertvelde in July where I ended 5th.
Before we moved back to Belgium in July 2003, I did one more fantastic thing. We visited Cedar Point, the largest roller coaster park in the world, located in Ohio. Below with Jonathan and with Jonathan, Oscar and Sam.