Josh took some time out to tell me his story, and his sincere thanks to his guest parents Sabien (seen above in the white jacket) and her husband Rik in Beitem (near Roeselare West Flanders) Also in the photo Joseph Mullen and his mum Marie Louise (photos in this report of Martine Verfaillie our other guest mum, or otherwise indicated)

I left for Belgium on the 24th of July. Rik kindly drove nearly 2 hours to collect me at the airport. I met Sabien back at the house and Joseph who arrived the day before me.
Myself and Joseph explored the famous roads nearby, such as the famous Kemmelberg climb, over the first few days. In my first 2 races things didn’t go my way, as I was caught up in a crash in the first and I punctured in the 2nd. This was frustrating, but it also made it more satisfying when the races started to go better for me. I was on the attack in the final few laps of my 3rd race but was caught close to the finish. The next race the following day was very windy and it was the hardest yet. I was in the chasing group just 30 seconds behind the leaders for most of the race but blew up in the final 10km. In my next race I was on the attack from the start and got in a breakaway with a few others. We were joined by another small group, which made roughly 12 in the lead group. I aggressively attacked on the last lap and was ahead with 3 others until the last 1km when we were caught and passed by the others. I finished up 9th.

Rik drove myself, Joseph and Darragh Doherty (who arrived over shortly after myself) to Oudenaarde. This is where the Tour of Flanders finishes and all the famous climbs are close by. We climbed the Koppenberg, the Paterberg and the Oude Kwaremont to name just a few. I had a mechanical in my next race early on which put an end to my race. The following day myself and Joseph decided to explore the French roads, as the border was just 25km away. The French roads were very quiet and very enjoyable to explore. Before we knew it we were just 30km from Dunkirk at the coast, so we kept going until then. We knew that the way back would be tough and long. We ended up cycling 200km in total. It was a tough day but very enjoyable. My last race a few days later was extremely hot and tough. I managed to finish 12th winning the sprint of my group not too far behind the leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belgium, and I loved the different style of racing. Rik and Sabien were very kind, and the made me feel very welcome. I would like to thank them for everything they did for me, and thank Dany for organising it, Yours in sport Josh

From left to right: Joseph Mullen, Rik Masil, Darragh Doherty, Josh Callaly and his dad Patrick at the Flanders Museum in Oudenaerde (Photo Olwyn Callaly)