After a lovely mild evening sunset and an epic 10 hour sleep, I woke to a bleak, grey, menacing sky, mizzle & what looked like a strong wind. However thankfully by race time, it had cleared up a lot.
I’m still not hungry & worse yet, can’t even face coffee! Those that know me will know both are unlike me, especially the coffee. So the day was spent force feeding myself, not something I particularly enjoy at the best of times, never mind when it’s because I’m off my food because I’m not right. I have no energy and im shattered along with a few other symptoms but no full on cold symptoms. Training is the last thing I want to do, never mind racing!
However, race nerves & caffeine gel helped get me in the mood. I was second row back in the neutralised start, behind the lead car. The first 45mins of the race was chaos with the worst standard of riding I’ve ever seen. My top priority was staying safe. I rode in contact through a roundabout with a girl, our elbows & hips touching, thankfully my bars were ahead of hers, I was on the drops & not fussed by the contact.
A massive crash in the 2nd QOM sprint split the bunch, and although I had to swerve & brake, I was safely passed it & with the lead group of around 20. The standard of riding was much better & I relaxed enough to sort out my nutrition, enjoying the fast descent & moving up. On being told we had a gap of 20secs, the pace dropped for some reason & in time we were caught by a chasing group of maybe 16. The standard of riding dropped again & approaching the sprint finish, I decided safety was my top priority. I knew if I wasn’t one of the first out of the corner, it would be a sprint for minor places so played it safe, rolling in middle of the bunch. I think we may all get the same time gap but not sure. This seemed the right call at the time, now I’m a little frustrated by it. I’m happy with how I rode other than that and I enjoyed the last half of the race too (which is good considering how much it is costing me to race here!!)
A quick cool down & it was back home to fuel & recover for tomorrow. I’ve heard tomorrows stage described as savage, I think it’s around 95km & over 1,200m of climbing finishing with a 7km climb, although I need to double check the race manual! It’ll split the GC massively. Despite not being right, my form is there so I hope I’ll be okay.
Thanks to everyone for your texts, tweets & comments, it helps a lot Thanks also to Colin for top coaching this year, helping me with my race craft, skills, nutrition & training.