A few days of racing

04May08

Here are my reports from the past fews days of racing:

81st Groote Mei Prijs Hoboken:

The plan for Hoboken was to be aggressive right from the start and try and get into the break that would shape the race. I was jumping off the front however, after a few failed attempts I had to recover. I wasn’t able to stay near the front while recovering and slipped back into the middle of the pack. After I had recovered I returned to the front and tried my luck again. Still nothing was sticking and after a few more failed attempts I had to recover again and ended up slipping back again. Unfortunately this is when the break of the day went. Even worse it was big, 15 riders. The break went after about an hour. Our team reacted very early to it and were on the way to the front to organise a chase. I was on the right of the peloton moving up when another rider swung out and knocked me. Not much but it was enough to push me into the gutter. I couldn’t hold it up and down I went sliding along the ground doing 45km/hr.

The bike was okay and I had nothing broken so I jumped back on and continued to race. My right ring finger, right elbow and right hip were all hurting but the biggest problem I had was my cleat. It had twisted in during the crash meaning I couldn’t get all my power down and my back began hurting because of the twisting action. I tried to get to the front to help my team mates who were still chasing but they were doing a good job and it took awhile for me to move up. By the time I got there they had stopped chasing.

To add insult to injury the heavens opened. There was standing water all over the rain which meant tight corners were made even more dangerous and just seeing the rider in front of you became hard. If I can take a positive out of the crash it is that the adrenaline was flowing through me and I wasn’t feeling the cold. Mind you after racing through a snow storm nothing seems cold anymore.

Many times after the crash I thought of pulling out. Somehow I kept on convincing myself that I could keep going for a little longer and when it was 30km to go there was no way I was stopping. So after 180km of racing (130 of done after the crash) I pealed myself off the bike. Not much skin was left on my right knee, elbow, shoulder, wrist, hip and my right ring finger barely still had a finger nail. I was just happy I had finished and nothing was too serious.

Ronde van Overijssel – 1.2

Two days after Hoboken and still feeling sore after my crash I lined up for 200 odd km’s of racing in Holland. Me and Holland haven’t had the best relationship of late I was hoping to improve it. However, the roads were reported to be bad, really bad, like Paris-Roubaix bad and I was very nervous about how my finger would hold up. Luckily the people who make the wind in Holland had taken advantage of the long weekend meaning we would race on a beautiful still day.

The race started with a very nervous neutral zone. I was in a good position sitting two wheels back from the car when around a right corner I was involved in a crash. My back wheel was broken so after a wheel change I chased back on. It didn’t take long because it was still neutral and I got back on just as the race started. The race was on a mixture of small and big roads. The race was really nervous and meant that everyone was trying to be up the front. I was trying my hardest to move forward but it felt like for every 5 places I moved up I moved back 4. Some of the roads were so tight that it meant coming to a complete stop, unclipping and putting a foot on the ground.

It ended up taking me 105km to get to the front. And with most of the bad roads behind us and my finger feeling good I was feeling confident about what I could do. After finally getting there I was able to stay in the top 20 easily and the effort required to race was greatly reduced compared to near the back. I was even in a position to go with a couple of moves towards the end of the race. None of them worked and the effort of going with them had come at a high price for me. My biggest problem at the moment is that I don’t have the endurance to finish off races over 140km long. The legs are getting better and given a couple of months I won’t just be hanging on at the end of these races but up the front making the race.

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