Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Belgium Finished

I skipped the review of stage 3 because it was nothing more than the same of 1 and 2 where I narrowly avoided yet another crash on the run into the finish. I suppose you want to hear the part where we were going somewhere around 65km/h and then the "crash" noise came and it was "oh boy, how do I avoid this one..." as I stared at guys piling up in front of me, tires smoking (not lying) and heard tires blowing, bikes breaking and the chaos ensuing. I managed to slow enough to only gently ram into the back of another cyclist already caught up in the mess. At that point, my handlebar drop got caught on his rear wheel I think and all of the sudden I was standing on the road as my bike was taken straight out from under me and was leaving the scene of the crime. Thankfully, I managed to grab the saddle or something, get my bar unhooked and carry on having suffered only a minor cut and bruise on my hand.
Stage 4 was the TT. It was something I was hoping to do well in, move up in the GC and then try to ride into a high overall on Sunday in the Ardennes. Well, my TT was less than spectacular, or should I say the first half of my TT was less than spectacular. Through the TT I lost 48 seconds on my teammate who placed 8th on the day, but 43 of those seconds were lost in the first half; aka, I was not going well until the second half even though I felt like I was in the pain cave. Oh well, I tried.
Sunday's stage 5 was in the Ardennes and traversed a few of the same climbs and roads that Liege rode over back in April. This time around the weather was not as nice as it was raining and fairly cold with a good amount of wind. My legs were feeling pretty good and I was giving it all I had to try and move up on the GC and hoping for a good stage result. A few times the race experienced a serious acceleration and I was really on the rivet, but I dug into the tank and stayed on the front group. The race was basically all together as we entered the local circuit for the first time that included 3 short, steep, hard climbs and unfortunately I was not close enough to the front to make the lead group. I think I had the legs, but my positioning was bad. In my group that came unhitched was Tomas, who was 5th on GC coming into the day. Markel, Tomas and I drove the pace with everything we had to try and make it back to the front group. We came really close, but it was not to be and the familiar "gruppetto" was back in the mix for me. Oh well, I was tired and couldn't have gone harder, just need to find better position.
I'm back in Girona now and recovering. I flew into Barcelona at 1030pm on Sunday night and was met by Lisa who had taken the train to meet me. It was nice. I rented a car as there was no way to get back to Girona that night besides a taxi. The rental car was cheaper, more convenient and then on Monday, Lisa and I got to take a trip to the coast! We drove over and down the coast road. We enjoyed a nice lunch of the local Paella (a rice dish). It was very good and the first time I had really taken on serious seafood. I did way better than I thought I might have eating oysters. As any good day on the beach would be, ours was capped off with some ice cream. Now it is back to the training life and the continued settling of the apartment. Adios.

Picture 1: Having a fight with a small lobster
Picture 2: The huge plate of Paella
Picture 3: Seafood finished
Picture 4: Ice Cream!


Hip said...

Congrats on staying in one piece in Belgium! Good race reports. Thanks for keeping up with the blog. What does Johan have in mind for you next? And when will they turn you loose into a break! I bet it sure was nice to get back to your home away from home with a greeting from your wife! While I was at the Giverola camp near you I myself discovered the joys of Sangria (spelling?) after a ride...a little something to wash down that seafood Matt.

--Hip in Tosa

Joha said...

Matt, What a joy to see a former Norse runner succeeding and dreaming big. Keep believing, living, and loving! Johanna Olson, johannaolson.blogspot.com

Carson said...

Really enjoy the posts about each stage and life in Girona! Keep living the life man!

Experienced my first Cat 1,2 Burlington RR and Snake Alley Crit this weekend. Ukrainian National Champ from the Amore Vita squad destroyed the field. Such a step up from Cat 3.

Keep on keeping on in the racing!

Bill Rucker said...

Yeah, smelling tire smoke in a bike race for the first time is a WTF? moment. Oddest thing I ever encountered was smelling burning tire glue on a climb. Guy had a dragging break and blew the tire going uphill. He must have been working so hard.