Thursday, April 1, 2010

News from afar...

Ok, so it has been a bit since I updated and I apologize for that. I returned back to Spain, had to try and get settled before heading to Criterium International where I had no time and since I have returned to Girona, I have occupied myself otherwise: so no writing!
I believe my last post was prior to Criterium International, so I should give you some incite to that race. Saturday was a tough day. It began incredibly, painfully slow, but about half way through the stage, at the base of the first real climb, Euskatel Euskadi went to the front and it immediately got difficult. Not going to lie, I was in the pain cave feeling like quitting instantly. Thankfully however, my body came around and I was feeling alright at the top. Descended and immediately hit the base of the second big climb. Didn't have a lot of trouble making it over that, however I did put myself into a spot of bother because I started at the back (after descent, losing position unnecessarily) and had to make up ground to be near the front. It is the unnecessary expenditure of this energy that when repeated separates the experienced from the inexperienced and can ultimately determine where you finish at the end of the day.
At the top of the second big ascent, I failed to eat/drink and as we descended into the valley before the final ascent to the finish, I was on the back of the field and getting throttled. It was windy and we were ripping through these tight, twisty roads and at the rear of the field, I was experiencing the slinky/whiplash effect. Essentially, being in the back I experience the most dramatic fluctuations in pace and have to constantly expend energy to stay with the field. In the front of the peleton, it is smoother and much easier to ride along, avoiding that unnecessary energy expenditure. By the time we got near the base of the final ascent, I was trashed because I had not been able to eat/drink and that means I ran out of energy. Sure I was incredibly disappointed to be unhitched at this point, but it is another one of those lessons I am learning about how to ride at this level.
Sunday began with a short road race on some of the twisty-est, up/down/around roads I have ever ridden. Thankfully a small break went clear early and we simply kept them close and rode tempo most of the day. Nothing of real note on this stage.
Sunday afternoon brought the TT. It was another lesson for me! I had not ever ridden my TT bike, so that was problem number one. I did not pre-ride the course either = problem #2. I suppose there were maybe only 2 problems, but they certainly hurt my chances of going faster than I did. The course began with a violent uphill effort of about 1.5km, followed by a descent of about equal length and a bit of technicality (pre-ride would be helpful at this point!) After this it was a relatively straightforward drive to the finish through 4 or 5 roundabouts, which some practice for me on the TT bike would help. Long story short, my inexperience on the TT bike and lack of course knowledge slowed me for sure. Made it to the line though and completed a successful weekend.
Following the race was a long travel night home. Flew the 50 minutes flight to Nice, France, laid over for 3 hours, then took the 1 hour flight to Barcelona, arriving at 12:55AM only to have them somehow not have gotten my luggage onto the plane. Unbelievable! I was staying the night in Barcelona, so I went back in the morning and waited a long time, but finally did get my luggage and returned to Girona with it in hand, rather than try to have them deliver it to me because we all know that didn't go so well last time.
Since then, I have had a nice week getting settled back into the routine. Got the scooter running and have had a few nice rides. Yesterday I had a beautiful long ride. Started with Sam Bewley and Greg Henderson, but we ran into a big group out on the road. The picture is from after the group split up a bit, but the guys here are CJ Sutton and Michael Barry from Team Sky, Steven Cozza and Matt Wilson from Garmin, George Hincapie from BMC and Dennis van Whitten (I think) from Rabobank. I hoped to explore some new roads yesterday and these gentleman helped me do that. It was wonderful. A ways through the ride, everyone except Matt Wilson and I returned to town. Wilson and I were going to do a longer ride and we ventured on. We headed up a climb in the direction of the well know "Els Angels" loop, but neither of us had been on this road before. Due to my extensive studies of the map on my dining room table, I thought I knew of a connecting road between the two. Inevitably I think we were going to end up on dirt, but we decided at the top of the ridge to take this dirt road across and hook into Els Angels. It was a very nice dirt road actually. A little rough in spots, but certainly better than many dirt roads I have been on. All in all, the ride was very nice and successful in helping me discover some new roads!

This morning I had a nice spin to help get opened up to do some intervals this afternoon. I kept the exploration theme alive and went just out behind my house and rode some area(s) I was curious about. I had some pavement and some dirt, but it was very nice. It is amazing the little towns you run into in the hills. Beautiful really.
Alright, that is all for now. Take care!

1 comment:

Hip said...

Ah the Slinky effect....story of my life....and that's just in GROUP rides around here! Congrats on your first big U.S. TV appearance too....good old #22. Good luck next week. Readers can watch live on-line at universalsports.com

--Hip in Tosa
(p.s. When Matthew ends up hiring me some day as his personal PR guy those race updates will come much quicker!)