Sunday, October 04, 2009

Tour of Tassie- Day 1

Tour of Tassie
Day 1.
Stage one-Davenport criterium 31km
The stage started off inside the Spirit of Tasmania. It should look good for the cameras and on T.V but for us cyclists it was a little inconvenient. It took quite a bit of stuffing around to get onto the boat and into position and the warm up track inside the security area was really small so when all 140+ riders took to it we were packed in like sardines. The warm up suffered.

When the gun went off I worked hard from the start to get up in a good position to avoid any crashes and save energy. I think I was in the top half of the field for almost the entire time so that went ok. About 10 minutes in my lungs were burning, the intensity obviously a higher to what I’ve exposed them to recently, sorry boys. The pace felt fast and the legs and lungs were telling me that I was going hard enough riding in the bunch so basically I stayed there for the rest of the race. Boring, I know! Highlights of the race came from search2retain’s (the team I’m riding for) team radios. Team manager Peter was constantly in our ears telling us to move up, how many laps to go and near the end giving us motivational comments. It was good fun!

Stage two-Spreyton to Mole Creek 54km road race
This one didn’t look too hard judging by the course profile. We were wrong. There were no really long climbs but it was just bloody hilly for almost the whole way, with some pretty nasty gradients. There were four categorised climbs and I had to really grovel to stay in contact with the leaders on the second climb. A break of 20 riders went clear and the pace eased up. This was good. At the base of climb three, one of the strongest teams, Fly V Australia decided to reel in the break. This was bad. It’s fair to say that I was in the box and JUST hanging on over the crest of the climb but not without some serious self talk to keep myself motivated. After that climb it was still hilly and I was in trouble. I was in last wheel of our group and at times started to get that dizzy feeling going over some hills. I think the fourth climb was around 8% and about 3km long and when I saw it kicking up I knew it was time to get into my own tempo and let them go. I had cracked. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one feeling the pressure so at least I had company. Going over the last 500m of the climb, Ben Mather went past. This was just what I needed to get me pumped again. We have had some good close races in the recent past so I couldn’t let him get this psychological victory. We descended pretty quickly and swapped off briefly at the bottom before Ben suggested it was time to start saving energy. I didn’t argue, but only a minute or two later, when two others caught us the pace was on again. They were apparently keen to finish as close as possible to the leaders. My legs were really, really suffering and I almost got dropped several times in the final 10km to the finish. I couldn’t have been happier to see the finish line. A hard day. Unfortunately my recent good form was absent but hopefully it’s just a day late. Fingers crossed! Otherwise this tour will be very tough. On the positive side two of our search2retain teammates finished in lead bunch so there are some good signs for the team and maybe I will be called on for domestique duties, we will have to see!


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