Monday, April 21, 2014

Amstel Not so Gold

Well guys, let's just be honest about it and say that yesterday's Amstel Gold race didn't go so great for us. We had several goals going into the race and despite what was a pretty good team effort, we came up short. First of all, we wanted to get someone in the break if it was bigger. I actually hoped it might be me, but I never even had the opportunity. I lined up in the front on the line, but there was a major influx of riders from a side road as we rolled out, which forced me way back. I was unable to get to the front before the end of the neutral, and then the narrow roads made it impossible to get through the crowd before the break was established.

Our second major goal of the day came 210 kilometers into the race, a pivotal lefthand turn before the Kruisberg. It's a key moment in the race because it really starts to heat up there and with the increase in speed combined with the narrow roads, being in the front in crucial. If you're not in the front, the effort required to stay in the front pack is immensely greater. The team made a good effort to execute this part of the plan, but we got stuck on the left side of the peloton and had no chance to change plans. We went into the corner mid-peloton and some of us (myself in particular) paid for those efforts by wasting energy to make up ground as the field exploded under the increase in pace.

The third/primary goal of the race is pretty obvious, and that was to get a result. Our primary weapon was Frank. Unfortunately we weren't able to help Frank conserve enough energy or place him well heading into the final climb up Cauberg, so he was unable to match the pace of the front guys. He was still our best finisher, but we came away with nothing really.

As for my race, I realize now that I made a big mistake! By my own fault, I didn't eat nearly enough to fuel me for 251km. If I'm remembering correctly, I ate two "cakes"(small pastries), one large bar, and one small bar. I also had a few gels, a coke, and one sleeve of Clif shot bloks, but I needed a lot more. A seemingly inconsequential but large problem for me was that the speed on my computer stopped working, so I lost track of how far into the race we were, which meant I wasn't really able to meter how often/much I was eating. Then I missed my first mussette bag, which resulted in running out of both food and water! I eventually got bottles, but it was too late. All in all this was a learning lesson I think.

Despite what seems like all the horror written above, I feel personally pretty positive about the race. I think that I fought well for position in the field, which is not very easy in this race because of the narrow roads. The second positive is that I felt strong, notwithstanding the ending explosion. I think that means I will be ready for the next two races, which will suit our team a little better. Wish us luck!


Anonymous said...

Matthew, once again these are great write ups and I thank you for doing them. After every race I check results to see where you finished and this helps explain a lot.

Sounds like your attitude is still really good and that will pay off in the future.

One of my goals this year is to personally wish you good luck before a TdF stage in the UK. I think I will be able to complete that goal.

Anonymous said...

Good luck at Fleche and LBL! And thanks for the description of Amstel. It's hard to imagine racing on those narrow roads with so many riders for so many miles.

Jono said...

Matt you should throw up your ride data! Love to see the power numbers. An Aussie by the name of Cameron Wurf does this and is very cool to see. Great posts!