05 December, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words

Or in this case two pictures.

I’m not sure why I’m recounting this experience for public consumption, but it feels like something I must do. Maybe it will give me some ‘closure’ as they say; but I doubt it. Let's travel back to probably my most painful experience on a bike, emotionally not physically.

It started off so well, as I suppose most bad days do. I was mid-way through the Tour De Loiret, a three day, four stage, French stage race. It’s a race that suits me, on rolling terrain with typically aggressive continental riding, and I was feeling stronger and stronger. The final day was two stages of around 90km each, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. My story relates to the morning stage.

I felt incredible - one of those rare occasions you get when you’re racing well, the legs are good, the head is good, the weather is good. I saved my legs for the end of the stage because it became apparent early on that the sprinters had their eyes on this stage. It finished with three laps of a Kermis style circuit. On the final lap I attacked twice, escaped twice, but no-one was willing or able to work with me.

So I waited.

With the lead out teams amassing at the front I bullied my way forward in the last 5km. Seeing a chance before the final sharp left hander I attacked hard up the left hand side. Ten seconds of full gas, a look behind. A gap! Perfection. I nailed the last corner like my life depended on it, with the French Army lead-out breathing down my neck. Now it was straight and slightly uphill for the last 800m. I had a fair distance on the bunch but they were bearing down.

500m – Still going good.

400m – Legs tearing apart.

300m – Can’t get enough air in. Starting to swoon.

200m – Grinding teeth away.

100m – Surely. Got. This?

50m   – It’s in the bag!!!!!

I’ll let the following pictures tell the rest of the story.

Don't do it kids! I can confirm that it's the worst feeling I've ever had after a bike race. Just look at my face!

No comments :

Post a Comment