22 August, 2013

If your eyes aren't bloodshot you didn't try hard enough

This is a little joke between Sam and I which speaks volumes for both my black sense of humour and the nature of bike racing. Monday was one hell of a rodeo for me but I more or less clung on for dear life and got round. Me being me, I decided to get in the break of the day on my first race back after being off colour last week. Luckily the riders I had for company weren’t up to much – amateur champion of France, two from a feeder team to Europcar, three from division one teams and the local tank with five wins to his name – so I didn’t suffer at all.

Attacking the Amateur Champ of France... Hahaha kidding!

It felt like I was stuck in second gear all day and the other boys were definitely foot-to-the-floor in fifth. We pulled out a minute on a 170 strong bunch in less than 10km, which gives you racers out there an idea of the tempo.

Take that dehydration!

We were in front for 110km and I was swinging for approximately 109km, but some of the other riders who know me quite well now thought I might be sandbagging to save energy. I think they got the point when I hurled that the grimace was real.

My (pain) face for the day.

With 25km to go the bunch was snapping at our heels and on the climb I went out the back door as attacks shot off the front. From there it was a case of sitting in the strung out peloton and enjoying the view from 100 riders back. By the time I crossed the line I was half asleep on the bike.

I'm not certain, but I think I was crying a bit at this point.

Although 115th place is hardly going to get the Directors knocking on my door I’m happy with what I achieved. Firstly, I showed that I’m tactically astute enough to get in the right move, and strong enough to stay there even on a bad day. Secondly, it’s proof that I can still suffer like a hound-dawg at this point in the season when a lot of riders are winding-down, cracking-up and generally just hating life. I’m looking forward to feeling at one with the bike again this weekend at Agglo Tour!

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