Friday, 2 August 2013

July Spanish Racing

Hi everyone

I returned to Spain after the British Champs and Beaumont GP (my blog here), to rejoin my team mates in Opel Ibaigane.

The weather here has been scorching all month, a 44 degree training ride the other day was an extreme. But the humidity in my races has been the biggest challenge, With the hot air from the south, the rivers and forests, the mixture can be an absolute killer, racing in it at times. Although now I feel I am acclimatising better.

Village roll out in the Antzuola U23 race

My first weeks were dodgy as a certain family member passed me on a stomach and kidney virus which meant I could barely eat for a whole week. I lost a bad few kilos and when I did feel better to race the next week end, it was a waste of time. The legs were so depleted I could barely ride 20 mins of the race. Difference a week makes when I felt strong doing the 90 mile Premier Calendar.

However, by mid July my appetite came back and I regained strength and my results picked up.

I was able to attack in the Soplana race which is a race I have done the past two years, and get 16th. I didn't quite have the strength for the steep uphill finish but it was a confidence booster that I could attack and climb into the lead groups.

On the attack in the Soplana RR

At the front of pack as the pace steps up in one of the many climbs in the Beasain Classic

Nearing the top of the last mountain climb of the Antzuola RR

High pace in the Soplana RR
My most recent race in Cos, Cantabria, the Trofeo Santiago, a Spanish federation elite race, proved that I am now reaching my best from of the season. I was 10th in a strong field of many top ex pros and strong teams.

I made it into a small select lead group as we climbed the second big mountain of the day reaching 700 metres (2,300ft). Team Lizarte were pressing on to get their man Dayer Quintana, younger brother of Movistar's Nairo, the win. The climbing was hot and long but the descents were just as challenging. Some of the most technical we have come across, sharp corners with plenty of mud and gravel thrown in. I got down them safely but a few of my team mates behind came off nasty down them.

On the first climb mid way through the Cos Elite race in Cantabria

The final big climb, Quintana and the leaders full gas

Flat out trying to get bridge back up to them, really warm!

On the final climb of the day, our small group disintegrated and everyone had to go their own pace.

The race started at 4pm in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day, but it got cooler as race and the terrain got tougher so you were still needing lots of bottles. The team cars were miles back behind groups of riders but luckily the commisaires gave us a few small bottles of water to keep us going. Over the top and on the descent I was with three other riders and the leading few were just up the road.

We had a short run in back into the finish in Cos however it felt like it had kept dragging on and on. There was a big chase group gathering behind so I had to press on.

Two of the elite riders broke clear and I beat the other rider in the sprint to claim a top ten. Much better result and shows good progression. Looking forward to the next race!

More pics of the Cos race here.

I will be racing here for the next two months. There is a lot of good races on at this time of year, sometimes three in a week. I also have the four day Vuelta Valencia in early September which will be good.

Thanks for reading


More pictures:

On the attack in Soplana

Flat circuits before hitting the mountains in the Cos race

Start in Soplana

Waiting to Start in Soplana


Hurting in a Hill time trial in Altzo

Training, highest mountain in the Basque Country in the distance

Back living in the village of Zeanuri

Traveling back from a race

Unpacking at team HQ in Igorre

British Championships and June

Hi everyone

My big races for over the past two months have been the British Elite & U23 Road Championships in Glasgow, the Beaumont GP Premier and then I rejoined my Spanish team mates of Opel Ibaigane to contest the mountain races of northern Spain. (Next blog for that here)

Setting off at the start

 After completing the 8 day Ras at the end of May (my blog here) I stayed in Scotland to recover and focus my training on my next goal, the British Champs in Glasgow.

Entering this years champs was a bit of unknown for me form wise. Also since the city centre circuit was very much different to what I had been used to racing in Spain, I tried to suit my training towards its short sharp accelerating nature. Having a chest infection and my allergies killing me at the time meant I felt terrible in a couple of Scottish races before it. It was good catching up and seeing friendly faces in them though. Luckily it rained over the weekend which helped me big time.

At the start line in Glasgow Green

It was great that such an important event was only 15 miles from my house and I was able to ride a traffic dodging recon of it...

A front line start made it a bit easier when the race went full pelt half a lap later. As expected, the world tour men turned the gas on and it didn't take long for riders to lose the wheel and gaps to appear.

Short but steep incline of Montrose Street

The world tour men ride away
When Cavendish, Millar and Team Sky rode away, the peleton slowed and more attacks started to get clear.

On the fourth time round through Glasgow Green, I felt strong and I attacked and rode half a lap myself till a group of 6 or 7 joined me. I wished I had gone earlier but my confidence in my ability was low and I didn't want to blow up by attacking earlier like I did the previous two years I have done the British.

But I was feeling good and pressed on with my group for most of the remainder of the race.

I attacked the peleton and rode in one of the chase groups for the rest of the race

I was still fighting it out for an U23 medal. However in the latter part of the race, my legs were cramping prematurely, a sign I hadn't fully got over my allergies and the medal slipped away.

I managed 25th, one of the last few to get a place as the world tour guys blitzed the race. Proper inspirational seeing their power and ability.

David Millar 

I really liked the course on day. Surprisingly it suited me well. It’s tough, the corners and hills meant there was not much time to recover and was a wearing down process. The support through out the circuit was immense and hearing the home crowd each lap was amazing.

A week later I did the Beaumont GP, I felt stronger and fitter. I attacked many times and made the front split over the Ryals, the main climb of the day, but the UCI teams’ control over the race meant it eventually stayed together to finish in a downhill bunch gallop where I finished 19th.

Two days later I left for Spain, here's blog for that... 

Thanks for reading