Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Great Racing in the Basque Country August

Hi everyone

I’m well into my second month of racing in the Basque Country in Spain.

My best races so far have been my two most recent races last week in Elgoilbar and Guernica where I finished 8th and 5th.

During them, I finally felt the best I have been all season. When attacking on the climbs, I had good recovery and I wouldn’t blow up when keeping up with counter attacks and the strong pace from the bigger teams like Caja Rural, Seguros Bilbao and Bidelan, who have the numbers.

Working with my teammate, Adrian, in the Busturia race before bridging across to the front group

Caja Rural team then Seguros Bilbao splitting the peleton on the tough climb after Bermio in the Busturia Race
In Guernica, I broke away with 4 riders on the final climb. Our group worked well, gaining a minute on the peloton, but it was too late for bridging the gap to the four leaders that had escaped away earlier. I won the sprint for 5th beating the two Caja Rural riders in my group which was good.

In the Elgoibar race, I rode away with eleven other riders on the last climb of the day. After a few breakaways in the group came back, Caja Rural had 5 in there and formed a sprint train as the finish was just after a right hand corner. I did my best to get into corner quickly and finished 8th.

Elgoibar race - riders attacking on the 2nd last climb, 10%.

Elgoibar Race - The winning group forms on the last climb, my legs feeling really good.

Elgoibar Race - Caja Rural win, finish less than 100 metres after a corner,  I sprinted to 8th.
The racing has been fantastic, really tough with many difficult climbs, for example, in the Busturia U23 race, the finish was at the top of a 3km long, average 17% climb!

17% steep, 3km long climb at the end of the Busturia Race a few weeks ago, I finished 17th. Climbing better.
In August so far I have had plenty of Elite and U23 road races each week, 4 in the space of 8 days a couple of weeks ago. 

All this racing has gave me good fitness and toughened my legs enough so I am able to repeatedly attack to try and get in breaks early on in the races but have enough in the legs to go with the top climbers later on when the race really speeds up.

Steep uphill finish of the Muxica Race in 40 degree heat!

On one of the circuits of the Lemoiz Race.
Compared to when I first arrived here at the start of July, my form has got better and better with each race. This has really helped get me back to a level that I have lacked this season in the UK.

A big bonus is I’ve stayed healthy. The weather has helped being hot and dry,  well over 30 degrees most days, but I had a 40+ degree race three weeks ago which was just incredible! I think I went through about 10 bottles during it...

Despite missing out on a victory so far, I was pleased at how my climbing was and it bodes well for the next elite race this Wednesday and the following week, in the four day Tour of Valencia we are taking part in which will be brilliant. 

Will keep you posted how I get on.


Training - at the top of the Urkiola Climb, 700 metres high.

I spectated the Vuelta on the Arrate climb, Stage 3, which was awesome to watch.

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