Cyclocross coach falls into iced pond, drives 150 miles to safety in his underwear

Coach Eddy Ponet managed to escape his icy prison and drive home to Belgium in his underwear

Belgian cyclocross coach Eddy Ponet drove 155 miles from the Luxemburg World Championships in his underpants after falling through an iced pond last weekend. It was cold, scary and embarrassing, but he laughs about it now.

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Ponet attended the worlds in Bieles, Luxembourg, to look over some his junior riders. Great Britain’s junior team swept the podium in an emotional tribute to Charlie Craig.

Afterwards, he faced a long two and a half-hour drive north towards home in Belgium. He decided he would find a hotel and spend the night, but needed to urinate.

“After the championships, I went to the car to change into clean clothes, but I wanted to find a hotel and spend the night there before the drive home,” Ponet told Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.

“I had to pee urgently and did not know how long I had to drive so that’s why I decided to find somewhere quickly to go. In the dark, it wasn’t easy. I thought I had seen a nice spot. It seemed like a big piece of concrete, but in reality turned out to be a frozen pond.”

Before he could urinate, Ponet fell through the ice and into the cold water. His arms stayed above the broken ice and he pulled himself out “with great difficulty.”

“Of course, though, I was completely wet,” he said.

“I had to strip down to my underpants. In my underwear, finding a hotel was no longer an option. So I had to drive 250 kilometres from Luxembourg to Lummen [Belgium] with the seat heater on and heating at 25 degrees.”

Once he was warmer, still with over two hours to drive, he realised that he still needed to urinate.

“I still hadn’t peed,” he said, “and that’s how the misery began in the first place!”