31 May 2008

Here we go

We are busy crossing over into Italy as I write this. Coppa della Pace
and DeGasperi, two tough as nails 1.2 ranked races await us the next
two days. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed both events so am rather keen
to see how things pan out this year. Now that I have finally set
up my phone, updating will also be easier. More news soon, but first
let me get to Rimini and the beach.

23 May 2008

Quote of the Month

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  Theodore Roosevelt

18 May 2008

GP Cham 18 May 2008

Early this morning we headed north, under threatening clouds, to Central Switzerland for the GP Cham. A 158km race over 17 laps and a few nasty inclines along the way. I had raced in Cham in 2006, finishing at the back of the small front pack in soggy conditions, so set out with the desire to improve on my previous result.
Although that is always the plan I was not so sure about myself. It's been nearly a month since my last race, where I crashed in France and got my leg all out of joint. Something that is still bugging me now...
I had reason to be chirpy though as I had some supporters along the route. SwissVan from www.thehubsa.co.za lives in the vicinity of Cham and came over with his better half to watch the race, giving me the rare but ever so valuable opportunity to speak some English again and see some friendly faces.
As for the racing...
Typical Swiss National race, started out faster than the world champs as the first three laps were done at full tilt. I thought that I might just die along the way but started to feel better about myself when I realised that everyone was feeling the way I was (then why do they start so fast...?). Fortunately my legs warmed up nicely after a while and I moved forwards in the bunch to start following moves and going over the big climb near the front as often as possible. Somewhere around here I lost count of the laps and everything turns into a blur. I just know that Konrad, Matteo and I were doing quite a bit of work covering the moves and things were looking alright.
With around about six laps to go I followed Nazareno Rossi (pro for Diquigiovanni, team of Gilberto Simoni) as he attacked on the climb and we quickly made it across to the small break that had formed ahead. Ben was present in the front and a lap later Matteo joined us, only to see Ben disappear off the back shortly afterwards. A while later I looked back and was surprised to see that the break had split again and eventually twelve riders were left in front. Matteo and I still hanging in there as the threatening clouds finally opened up to make it a 'normal day in Switzerland'.
With two laps to go I started attacking on all the climbs but my legs were cramping in places that I didn't know could cramp (thanks to the crash in France), with even my foot curling up in my shoe every time I attacked... Obviously I didn't really get far, but at least the bunch was strung out a bit.
On the last lap and the last real incline of the day (short but it came right after a 90degree turn on a tiny road and with cross winds, so it was nasty) I gave it one last shot and went with all that I had left. I really thought that my foot was going to double over in the shoe from cramps but somehow kept going and by the time I looked back there were only two guys left. Rather dumbfounded by the sight I caught their slip as they came past and we headed for the finish.
I put in one more attack but it was a measly effort and only resulted in me having to lead out the sprint. Something that I didn't really mind as I was too knackered to really do much. Which meant that I crossed the line in third place, but still pleased with my efforts for the day. Twenty seconds later Matteo came in with the remnants of the break and took ninth. Konrad was another minute back in thirteenth. Not too shabby a result for the day.
Pics coming soon.

13 May 2008

Quiet time

Things have been rather quiet on my side as there is a big gap in our calendar right now. I have one Swiss National race coming up on the weekend then three 1.2. ranked International races in Italy on 1, 2 and 8 June. Other than that I have to wait until July before some serious racing kicks off again.
Initially I was rather irritated about this big gap, especially as I had some decent form and wanted to do something with it. After a while I have managed to turn things around though and am now pretty glad that I can take this break from racing and get ready for the second half of the year. After all, once things get serious in July I will need the energy!
Now I just have to find somewhere to escape to in order to do a little training camp. Preferably on my own or with someone who speaks English :)

01 May 2008

Back up and Riding

After seeing Peppo and getting my left leg pinched, pulled and squeezed things are suddenly looking up again.
I went out for my first ride in a week yesterday and even though it was only an easy one hour spin I was smiling from ear to ear the whole way. Just could not stop smiling!
Unfortunately I will have to admit that everything is not 100% just yet. But it was definitely a huge step in the right direction.
Now I'm busy suiting up for my first decent ride. Unlike yesterday the sun is out again and everything is pointing towards it being a fabulous day!
Bring it on!