Sunday, May 10, 2009

Race #1 & 2

My kits are coming (apparently). These are old and size L.

Two down, with the second most certainly better than the first. #1 found ourselves at the base of Mont Ventoux, for a surprisingly less than hilly parcours. Two climbs of about 1.5-2 km each and other wise rolling terrain, narrow farm roads (Belgie type) and plenty of wind. First of all, the French are awful starters apparently. I assumed late, but no one lined up close to the line. I got there early to be close to the front for the start, and eneded up about 100 people from the front. Merde! Even after pushing through for a bit. I had been told by some teamtes of the narrow roads, a bridge wide enough to pass only single file, and about the 150 man peloton. Got a good start and moved up quickly on the right side out of the wind as the pace wound up. 1:34 in, chute. Big crash clogging the whole road. I tried to thread the needle through 2 riders but my bars caught and I went down. Hard to brake at 50-50km/h. My foot got caught in a wheel, someone else landed on me.... Took a while to get my foot free, (the owner of the wheel was later taken away by ambulance so was of no help) straighten out the bike, and then begin the solo chase. Got soooo close to the pack after 1.5 laps of chasing (11km laps) before blowing sky high on the final climb. After that I rode for a bit before catching a few more dropped riders and then rolling in a little gruppetto to the finish. Like I say, hard day chasing. Stopped en route home for a nice big meal at the DS's aunt's house and got home around 12. Ouch.

#2. 8:30am race. Luckily, the race was running late as so were we. 2 cols, I was told. Ouch. My first forray into the mountans. A beautiful start through a windy valley with rock cliffs so tall they blocked the sun, and rock tunnels to ride through meant one thing... time to go up. I was a little to far back in retrospect for a man with iron legs but rode well. I did all I could to make the lead group riding past many riders only to fall just short over the top. A few more caught, and passed me on the descent. Apparently, I am rusty at switch back descents on tiny mountain roads. I did find my groove again on the later descents. The lead group apparently blew again into 2 groups so I eneded my day in group 3, somewhere around top 20-30. Not bad. But I had to suffer hard a few times to hold on. 3 cols later (liars), and a finishing climb (a little longer than Fortune) and I was done. Also, quite the incredible course to race on for my first alpine race. Happy with my ride all considered and ready to improve further next weekend. One race Sunday, then 2 weekends of stage racing. Including one with 3 mountain stages. Basically, this week I train in the mountains.

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