Hi. Still no internet, of course, so another thrown together entry….but with photos! I'll type this up on my laptop (which has an english keyboard.....5000 wpm faster than the French one!!), then transfer over some photos and junk with the card reader i just got, and hopefully there'll be an entry up…
Allright.....i'll begin with the most pressing: i have an injury. A stupid one. I should not have crashed while training last week. These things happen, yeah, but that’s no consolation. Eh. You see, my left thigh muscle (quadriceps...the lower most area of it)...the part that bore the brunt of the impact of last week’s crash, is having some trouble putting out big wattage. I raced on it this weekend (more on that in a bit), and only felt the ill effects afterwards. Today, it was great after 90 mins of riding, then from the 91st to the 200th…agony. Frustrating, yes. The neosporin cleaned out nearly all of the scab (with a good bit of soaking and scrubbing on my part) in the week since I went down, but the stuff underneath is either healing itself real slow or getting worse with every pedal stroke. The affected area also has a nice yellow hue to it that I’ve never seen before. I just keep telling the team people while pointing to my left thigh "ici pas bien" or "here not good". I think they get it, but ah well. If anyone knows what the french equivalent of Bengay is....please! let me know! I know that'll at least help me train normally. The DS gave me some other stuff, "gel d'arnica", and an oral version of that same thing…I haven’t noticed any effect. Okok...enough complaining...
French racing! Lets preface this little ditty by saying that the weather so far has been nice. Not So-Cal nice, but nice. The kind of weather that makes you happy because you know in just a few weeks time it'll be dreamy-nice. Right? Well, someone pissed off the cycling gods (Dieu du Velo), and the kind of shite we had to race in this weekend was miserable –at best. And no, not one race. Three races in two days. Ahh...still though, somewhere way underneath my cold wet skin, there lay some excitement and a touch of apprehension at the prospect of racing outside the US for the first time.
Stage 1, Saturday afternoon, 128k point to point RR: We were reconning this stage the day I crashed...so I knew the course...particularly where it was I'd crashed. It was very difficult, as I'd mentioned, with 3 categorized climbs, and a difficult finale (2km) to cap it off. Relatively short, at 128km, but hey. The race start was great. It happened to be our town's annual stage race (Le Tour D'Ardeche), so the start was right in the middle of town, a kilometer from my door...under other (warmer) circumstances I would have been really giddy, but at this point I was just trying to stay warm and focused while trying not to be overwhelmed by the surplus of Full-Record Look 595s with Boras and the scores of billion dollar bikes all around me...I did finally laugh when I inevitably saw a team on Time Ulteams exactly like my old one. Ah well! The scene was great. People looked happy, and it wasn't raining yet. Despite the weather, lots of people were there to watch the start (depart). The race started off neutral (I think...I really have no idea what the start-guy was saying), and a kilometer or two later, we were off. 5 minutes pass, and people were blasting off the front, every two seconds. Nothing shocking here…this is bike racing. I made a couple blasts, but wow...even after full-speed wheel-flexing digs, there remained a long line of people right behind. Geez. Give the fat american sprinter some room! So I gave up the breakaway game for the time being. Legs felt okay, and no pain from the quad whatsoever. I think the cold helped numb it down. First categorized climb....I made it! So did nearly everyone else! So no real accomplishment. Next categorized climb...sh*te’s blowing up! This was the same climb I aced during reconn...but not this time. Aram is shelled. Over the GPM I was an honest 10 meters from the back of the pack, but could not close it. Rode the rest of the stage (nearly 50k) in the groupetto, and finished a good 20 minutes down. Gah! Although the entire race was really close to home, the team stayed together at a nearby hotel (resort village of some sort, with a massive dining hall in which all the riders ate and hung out…really cool). I'd write more on that, but can't afford this tangent right now...soon.
Stage 2, Sunday morning, 7kilometer TT. Didn't think it was possible, but it was colder and wetter than the previous day. who hoo! At this point, delirium hit, and I didn't care. My DS wrote a nice little warm-up routine for me, and it worked out nice. The TT was 3km dead flat, 4km straight up, about a 6-7% gradient. I aced the 3km section, and felt allright at the hill, but only finished mid-pack, a minute down on the winner. On any other day................nono. No excuses, but it really was a good course for me, and I should have done better.
Stage 3, Sunday Afternoon, 100k Circuit. Three laps. Each lap had one categorized climb. I made it over the first time, no problem. Big ring the entire way. Interestingly, the director sportifs for UC Aubenas keep telling me not to spin so much...if you know me, you know that I’m a grind-it-up kind of guy, and don't really spin...at all. Trouble is, the Time Factory guys kept telling me to "Spin More!", so I have been, and now the reverse? Eh. The diesel-ullrich-style grind works best for me, I think. Anyhow, after the climb, the wet and windy descent wasn't any fun. Gaps were opening up, people were actually attacking! And the bike’s currently got these no-name brakes that work rather unpredictably –in the dry. The descent was nearly as hard (and tons more nervous) as the climb that preceded it. Eh, total madness, and a rather emphatic introduction to the ‘scene. Second time up the hill...breakaway was up the road, and the pace was fast, but controlled, and I made it through without worry. 3rd time up, last time up. From the first 10 meters of the climb (which was 4k long), it went. I was trying to keep the yellow jersey in sight, as I figured he wouldn’t be doing any firecracker stuff. A quick move went up the right side, and the jersey followed…I dug, and followed, and when I looked back, there was a gap to the rest of the group, and I was on the Jersey’s wheel…gahh…not the way I’d wanted to do it, but better than being off the back. A couple minutes later, the peleton was back together and breathing hard, and yeah…legs started catching up with me…I made it to the GPM with the peleton! But in the 200 meter false-flat before the descent, got gapped, shelled, and spit out the back. I finished better than the previous day, and in front of the groupetto this time, but yeah…just a litttttttttle bit more juice in the climbing game, and I’ll be able to break some legs in the sprints….
Once internet comes…there’ll be a lot more pulp from me, as there isn’t a whole lot to do outside of eat and ride…so if I’m blogging, I’ll probably be eating less, and those 10 meters???? Margins…
And some random photos! Proper captions some other day!
TT Warm Up Routine...
Our Coffee Spot in Ruoms
How Ugly Is it?
Looking Down at Ruoms...Check Out the Guys Fishing
The Roundabout...Some Are Decorated Real Nice
Porcupine Roadkill is the Most Common Roadkill
After 3 Stages of Wet Filth...Check Out the Mud-Tan on the Shins
The Expression? I dunno. Leg Rolled Up 'Cause the Elastic Hurt.
Chump Tourist: Now Complete With Mismatched Clothes
My Current Background. It's a Real Peaceful Shot, No?