Thursday, 15 March 2012

A birthday, 2 crashes and the form is coming.

Not just racing this week, it was my team-mate Gregg’s birthday! We couldn’t go crazy or all night partying sadly, trying to live like saints to gain the best results means you have to make some sacrifices! However there was cake… and 1 beer. Absolutely off the rails!

Birthday Cake, comedy candles.
At St Pourcain the opening kilometres were frantic, and marred by not 1 but 2 big crashes. Unusually they were at the front of the peloton rather than near the back. This meant that despite mine and Gregg’s good position we were both caught up in the aftermath, but worse for Gregg as a broken wheel was the outcome. By the time he’d returned to the car for a new one, the marshals deemed it illegal for the convoy to return him to the peloton on the back of the car. Showing true grit he rode for 70km trying get back in the race but it wasn’t to be.

For me it meant I had to chase on for 15km in the convoy, which with the wind made for a big big effort. By the time I got back on I knew it meant I had burnt a little too much into the red, but decided that I would make the very best of the race. Moving up the front of the peloton AG2R-Chambery and St Etienne were driving the pace and trying to form a break that would stick. After numerous efforts of going with everything that looked dangerous a 15 man break including riders from the big teams –and myself- began to put time into the peloton. Very positive for my 3rd race in France, where I wanted to be. The group rolled along well, with few not taking their turns (although there are always a couple of riders who only come through every now and then!), with the wind taking it’s toll I just made sure I wasn’t overdoing it, giving myself a chance in case the group was pulled back.

Unfortunately with about 20km to go everything rejoined, disappointing but you have to accept that’s just racing. I just didn’t have the legs once we rejoined, and found myself out the back – along with a sizable group – of the fast moving peloton over one of the climbs. Without enough in the tank to rejoin I had to settle that today wasn’t my day and I came in somewhere in the 60’s, not bad considering the 180 that started, but not exactly good either!

Gregg and Team President, Frederic Champion
This weekend is the double; Durtorcha on Saturday which is an Elite National consisting of 5 laps that include a 7 kilometre climb, ouch! On Sunday a circuit race, 25 laps of about 4km, apparently it’s quite hilly but we will see.

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