05 March, 2012

Only as good as your last race

They say that you’re only as good as your last race, which is why I had to race twice this weekend. On Saturday I raced in Vlaamse Pijl which is a UCI race with some cobbled climbs in it from Flanders. I was pretty pumped, but it turned out to be quite a disappointing race in the end. I rode the course a few days before so I knew what was coming with regards to the climbs but I forgot how insane a bunch of 200 riders can be. The first hour was pretty rapid and then the 10k before the first cobbled climb was like a race finish; guys were diving up the cobbles at the side and doing suicidal moves to get to the front. You spend more time leaning on other guy’s bars than not, which wears you down mentally. No one gives anyone any space; it’s a brawl on wheels.

When you get to the front it’s a case of smashing it for as long as you can until you got swamped, and as it turned out this happened to me just before the climb. I went from top 30 to almost dead last and from then it was pretty much game over. There were two or three stupid crashes up the climb and I had to unclip, then over the top it was balls out, obviously. The long and short of it is that I chased onto the group in front alone, but by that point they were off the back of the bunch anyway, so we rode to the finish and got pulled 30k from the end.

I was down to do 4-5 hours training on Sunday but I wasn’t really up for it, so I decided to take out some frustration and ride 55k to a little Kermis and sit in for training. I’m pretty awful at sitting in though (as anyone who knows me will agree) and I was stupidly aggressive early on in the race. Once I got in the break I did sit on at the back quite well, but with about 30k to go my legs were tying up a bit so I inhaled some gels and did no work. The break shredded in the last 15k as usual and I made the front five. I wasn’t riding for a result up until now, but I started thinking I could have it at this point. Up the final climb two guys gapped me but I caught them around a dodgy corner at 300m to go. I laid down a seriously weak sprint to try and get the early jump on them but it was lame! Still, I was happy with 3rd after a solid weekend.

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