12 March, 2012

Deinze Ieper

Riddle me this: If a bunch of 200 riders is completely strung out in one long line, in a crosswind section, going at 55kph can the rider at the back see the rider at the front?

Answer: No. All he can see (could read ‘all I could see’) was the back wheel of the rider in front.

Yesterday was an absolute smash fest. In hindsight I think what happened was that I rode like a junior. I was determined to get in the break of the day, but as it turned out there wasn’t really one. It’s all very easy and somewhat pointless to appreciate, in hindsight, that I wasted a lot of energy. I lost count of how many hopeful breaks I was in in the first 80km, the outcome of which was that I was swinging in the last 30km. I’m certain I haven’t felt that screwed this season, and perhaps not last either, although time dims the memories of suffering. I was floundering quite badly with 40km to go when a split formed ten guys in front. No one in my ‘group’ was that strong so I ended up doing a pretty horrific few kilometres to get back to the bunch, towing about six guys with me. And that was the end of me more or less. From that point I was just hub staring and handlebar chewing. I got so thirsty at one point I was using gels as a drink source which wasn’t as funny at the time as it sounds now. When I saw the 20k to go banner I nearly cried; I would have done but I was too de-hydrated.

I clung on for grim death at the back of the remaining eighty odd riders and avoided two crashes in the last few kilometres, one of which was in the last fifty metres and looked pretty horrible, so I was happy about that. The sight of a lone rear wheel bouncing down the road and over the finish line is scary and poignant when considering how dangerous the sport is.

I’d more or less resigned myself to breaking a limb before the race as a psychological tool to enable me to ride more like a crazy bastard. It worked and I was much better at elbowing, moving up the bunch and more or less being a dick to everyone else. Unfortunately I did hit a parked car, albeit at about 5kph, which put me out the back just before a major climb. Still it’s all to be expected from the argy-bargy involved in top level amateur races. I spent so much time on and off the brakes that I started getting cramp in my hands.

Oh well, I finished a UCI race in the bunch (66th place or something) I didn’t break any bones, and it was sunny today. Wat leuk!

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