Sunday, April 25, 2010
The race was a bit smother in the beginning than the other race. Groupo compacto at the front. I am finding it very difficult to stay at the front after I get there. For me that is the biggest shock for racing over here is how aggressive everyone is with positioning. And when your aggressive your putting your wheel into some tight spots which can be quite unerving.
I made my way to the front and saw there was a break up the road and I had a team mate in it as well. They were still close so I tried to bridge once I saw the field was content to let me go. I chased and chased but just couldn't get there. Dangling right in front of me but I blew before I ,ade contact which was when the field swallowed us back up. By the time I recovered in the field we were heading into the hills and directly to the kemmelberg. There was a paved climb before the kemmel so by the time you get to the kemmel you're already hurting, or at least I was. Knowing you have to move up before the climb but not being able to is pretty frustrating. Was it bad legs? Already riding in the red zone with all I got? Or was I content to sit in the pack until we hit the climb....
Every time I hit the cobblestones I try as best I can to mximize damage control in positioning. I have yet to master how to float up the stones like the belgies can. As I'm climbing the stones I can hear my front end ratteling. I realize that it's my front quick release and it has come loose. With the lawyer tabs filed off i try as best I can to keep my front end on the cobblestones to keep from loosing my front wheel, but I can't stop 'cause there would bo no starting again on a 20 percent cobble climb. I get to the top and quickly tighten it back down and get a push from a spectator. When things come back together the pack is shattered with small groups all over the place.
I try to get up the road to the next group and I make it, but the riders have already thrown in the towel. After I recovered from the climbI was feeling really good so I kept driving it hoping that I could somehow get back to some sort of a groupetto. A Topsport rider was with us and I saw he was feeling the same way I was so we kept taking pulls with some occasional help from the riders in our little group. The second time over the kemmelberg I lost the topsport guy and went up by myself. At this point I knew my race was over and the worst part was I was feeling stronger then than in the whole race.
A moto rode up to us and said that we have either pull off the road or get in the bus, which is tcalled the broom wagon for dropped riders who get pulled.
Now that I have had the experience in riding in an actual broomwagon, I'm determined to make it my only experience.
Not the best race but no one said this was going to be easy, then everyone would be doing it.
Already looking forward to next weekend's race.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
This sunday is a 1.1 race that starts and ends in Roselare. A lot of the races include the kemmelberg which is the pictured cobbled climb. The route tat we will be taking is in the top left of the picture. It may not look steep in the picture but it will be taking its toll.
Here is a link to the itinerary of the race as it unfolds and you can see how many times we climb the kemmelberg and some of the other smaller climbs.
The first week I was back on the bike from my broken jaw I rode down to the kemmelberg to see what it's all about. To ride from here in Oostkamp it's at least a 4 hour day, most times 5. There are many other smaller climbs in that area that are challenging as well, not to mention to beautiful scenery if you can catch it on a nice day.
I finally got my lactate test in the other day and the results were good. They put you on a computrainer and increase the resistance by 50watts every 3 min until exhaustion. At every increment they take your lactate level by piercing your ear with a tiny needle. You actually can't feel the needle. I had never done a test like this but I have spent some time on the computrainer so that part felt the same, painful!
This test is to get a baseline, the next test is later in the season to see how much you have improved.
It's Kemmelberg time!
Monday, April 19, 2010
So no, I did not crash this time....although I did have a close call when both my bottles popped out due toa massive pothole through the neutral zone in the beginning just before a bit of concrete barriers to which I locked up my rear wheel barely avoiding castostrophe and for those wondering yes I am going to continue this run on sentence.......
The race was very tough. Rabbobank had they're continental guys there as well as Topsport and a couple other strong teams who I don't know the names yet......but I'm sure they're really good!
My job for the day was to get in an early break to take the pressure off our team leaders Peter and Paavo before all the climbs and other mayhem started. The break went early....and I was not in it. By the time I got to the front 20 guys had already slipped away....not good.
Lots of bridge attempts were happening so I did my best to get into one of those but they kept coming back. With Rabbobank represented in the break, there was a lot of horsepower at the front.
The courses here are a bit different than I am used to, its not quite a point to point nor is it a giant loop like the road races back home. Here it starts in one town, then goes in a direction (usually into the hills) but then it turns into a large loop, and after that there are local loops within that large loop. So imagine a course like a P with an O in the middle of the P.....eeyea....good explanation.
Wel, I made it twice up the Muur, but the second time up the Bossberg I cracked and fell into the grupetto, which got pulled.
Peter and Paavo finished in the group, the break was brought back right at the end but Rabbobank still took the sprint.
Not the best race I've had but it could have been worse.... it also could have been better as well.
My buddies did get some god pics of the race going crazy up the muur so I will post some when I get a chance.
ps...sorry for any bad spelling but when the spell check is for Dutch, every english word is wrong....which means im lazy.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
So I blame the Belgian keyboards that are difficult to type on, and the fact I have moved rooms over the past week. I have been pretty busy in getting things back to normal. My jaw is mostly healed! It's really nice to be able to chew again and it makes you appreciate how nice it is to be back to good health...again.
Tomorrow is a a big race in the hilly areas of Belgium. We are going up a couple of well known climbs, the most famous is the Muur. It won't quite look like this when we are climbing it but I am sure I will be a little preoccupied to notice. 160k of lung busting pain.
I will keep this one short so you can expect a detailed report this time tomorrow.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The start of the tour of Flanders was in Brugge so of course I had to go see em off before I sat in front of the tv. The race started in true Belgian fashion with steady rain but cleared up just as they were rolling out. It's hard to tell from my crappy camera but you can see Cancellera go by right on front of me, followed by Lance, and then I saw Mcquewen tail gunning. Earlier I got to a good spot to see them all roll up to the start line. Boonen got the most cheers of course! Followed by Cancellera. No one cheered for Big George tho.
the center of Brugge was a mad house...totally packed shoulder to shoulder. Quite an experience!
PS:video is too large to upload here..I'll keep trying to put it on tho...