Saturday, February 16, 2013

6th Stage in Oman

Today's stage began in interesting fashion. First, our car got separated from the caravan on the transfer to the start because we hit an unexpected split in the road that sent us in the opposite direction of the rest. After we corrected ourselves, the "race" was on to the start. We rejoined the caravan, but the entirety of the caravan/race was late due to the transfer taking longer than expected. With that, the race start was delayed 20 minutes. Once the race was started, it was a rather "gentlemanly" start for what should've been war. Three guys rolled off immediately, and the field slowly pedaled the lethargy out of it's legs over the first 10km, which included what could've been a brutal starting climb. I was shocked but also a little relieved! From there, we had to turn on the gas though. The speed ramped up for after the first hour for the remainder of the stage. It was almost unpleasant actually! The field was pretty much single file for about 2 hours.

Once we hit the local circuits, things bunched up a bit. The profile of the local circuit showed a small bump, but it was far worse than I expected, especially after receiving the reconnaissance that it wasn't so tough from Popo who had snuck out from the nearby start to see it the day before. I was taken a little by surprise the first time we hit this "bump". The next two times, I tried to make sure I was a little better positioned, especially the last because I knew there could be splits. I wasn't really protecting an important gc position, but it was more a matter of self-pride that I keep my spot. The circuit was a little dodgey, too, with elevated lane markers and raised paint markings all over the road that could cause your bike to jump all over the place at any moment. I managed to avoid all trouble and finish in the front group, successfully completing my first Tour of Oman. I'm happy with my performance here, especially that it is my first race and I seem to have good fitness. Also, I look at the competition here, and I see a Tour de France podium, so I realize that my performance is not so bad. I see room for improvement, too, and I will take motivation from here to continue on a good track as the season progresses. Thanks again for reading. I hope you've enjoyed the updates!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving us a peek into the race world.

Christopher said...

Good job on your first race of the year, Matthew!