Yes today marked the second of four stages in the Circuit Franco Belge race and my race is all but finished. The conditions were pretty good with partly sunny skies greeting us, but the day was marked by nervousness and stress due to the wind. This is the racing that I do not enjoy too much, but I kept myself in good position the whole day, until the important moment... the end.
Nothing was special about the race. Typical Belgian race with a lot of road furniture, turns, roundabouts, small roads, etc. As we neared the end of the race, I thought the clouds were beginning to look funny and my thoughts were correct. Perhaps I should take up meteorology! Anyway, on the third and final local circuit (22km in length) it began to drizzle just a little. It was making the roads wet and it only added to the nervousness that is the wind, the end of the race, and Belgium! Having done the circuit 2 times already, I was fairly familiar with it and in the last 10km was when the pace really upped because the breakaway was caught and people wanted to make a run for the finish.
With the pace going up and the roads becoming wetter, I knew it was only a matter of time because of the twisty run in. Well, about 8k from the finish we went through a town on a twisty section cobblestones. I knew this would be the test spot for sure and as I thought, guys were going way too hot and caused a big pile up in the front of the peleton. Most of the field was held up by this wreck and it was a slow process to get the race going again, but it was a race to the finish, so everyone was full gas. Uh oh! I was caught up and near the end of the group, so it was going to be luck for me to make the finish with the group. Sure enough, gaps began to open and my day was finished. I chased hard for awhile and thought I was maybe going to make it, but then the speed of the field versus me spelled doom. I continued to just ride hard for the work and crossed the line 2:30ish down.
I am disappointed in the loss of time, but am remembering that my main goal for this racing is to gain fitness for Paris Tours and Lombardie. For me, it is mostly disappointing because it is basically a lack of effort to have good positioning when it mattered, so it is no fault but my own. At least I recognize this though and hopefully it will give me motivation to do better next time. It has been a struggle of mine all year with the positioning; although, I have felt in this race for some reason that I am doing a little better... all evidence to the contrary! Really though, it is all learning and I am going to take this experience and put it in the bank for next time.
Umm, yesterday's stage one was nothing special. I went to the front at the end during the local circuits to help bring the break back with the hopes of a result from our sprinter, but things didn't pan out, so no luck. Oh well, I want the training and the work, so it was good. Oh, one thing we did do was a climb of probably 500m that was cobbles and let me tell you it was brutal. I hope I don't have to do a spring classic on the cobbles because my body would fall apart by the end. Ah well, it would be an experience!
For tomorrow, I believe the weather will be a little more junk with a better probability of rain, at least on/off. We'll see what the skies throw at us though.