Monday, July 4, 2011

Fast Start, Hard Finish: Hard Day at Work

Today was a very tough stage in Austria. The race started really fast. We averaged 51kmh for the first hour and then it still took another 30 minutes to get the break gone. It was a little crazy to be honest. I actually felt quite good and patrolled the front for much of the start watching for big moves or to mark a couple different teams. If a move went or a certain couple teams were represented, we had to be in the break. After all the chaos, it turned out that a dozen guys got away, but we had no problems. Plus we weren't going to control the race even though we had yellow because Robbie is not a climber.

After the break finally went my priority was trying to put some fuel in the engine to recover from the long beginning effort and to prepare for the hard finish up the Kitb├╝hler Horn (8km @ 12+%, max @ 22.3%). I was really struggling to feel good, but I finally forced enough water and food down my throat to begin to recover. I started to feel like I might be able to have a decent go at the finish. I don't have pressure this race because I am only starting to train again after a small break, but I was hoping I might be able to test myself just a little. I was fighting for good position coming into the climb. I had good position, especially compared to last year where I was last 10 wheel going into the climb! Everything was derailled though when there was total chaos in the road with parked cars, medians and everyone fighting for position. I ended up skidding, bike sideways, then straight, then up on the front wheel, maybe back down on two wheels, but finally over the top and into a freshly filled dirt median. I came out basically unscated, but my day was finished. I got up and resorted, but I was consigned to just ride my own tempo to the finish because there was no way I would see the front of the race again.

After getting back on, I had to wait for a new rear wheel from the second team car. Then my derailleur was messed up and I was not able to use my easiest gear, which was not so nice for the hard finishing climb! I began the climb DEAD last. I couldn't see anyone. I started my own tempo and began to catch a few guys pretty quickly. It was interesting to see the destruction at the back of the race. I caught one of my teammates eventually, and he rode onto my wheel and said, "I have to stay on your wheel because I don't want to buy the ice cream tonight." it was quite funny. We said before the race that last guy today had to buy the ice cream. Unfortunately I am not seeing any ice cream places near where we are staying. Maybe tomorrow! By the end, I had caught a few groups and finished 10ish minutes down. I haven't seen results, so I am not certain, just what I heard/was told.

Today was not ideal for me, but it is ok because now I have other opportunities. I hope to get into the breakaway in one of the next two days and see what happens. If I get in and am having a good day, I could have a shot at getting close to the finish. Tomorrow would be the best day I think. One day at a time though. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Happy 4th of July!

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