I have a slight love affair with Folignano because it is the only race that I have done all four year since I have been with FidiBC and the first time I did it I had my backside handed to me on a plate. So badly in fact that I was amused by it and the next year I came back and won the KOM as well as most aggressive rider. Last year I had another good race and ended up coming fourth for my second best result of the year. This meant that I lined up this year with high expectations!
The First 80km are on five flat circuits followed by 80 km over six and a half laps with two climbs on it. The first one 4km averaging 4.5% and the second one 2km and averaging 7%.
I managed to behave myself during the flat laps and remained hidden in the bunch soft pedaling most of the way, even though the average must have been close on 50km/h. The team did a decent job keeping an eye on things but Stevie B really put it all out there and stepped up a level on this trip! As soon as we hit the climbs I got nervous and moved to the front.
By the time we hit the second climb (still first lap) I was off the front and going 'bos'. Fabio Ursi (first time that I have raced with our 'crosser', 7th at the last u23 world cyclocross champs) jumped across to me with some others and we made a half respectable attempt of getting away for a while. Unfortunately that did not last long but I was off the front again and soon was going well with another buddy, Simon Clarke from SouthAustralia.com
We were going well but I was spending way to much energy and even miscounted the laps and started attacking way to early which only brought on the threatening cramps even more. From there onwards it was a uphill battle, against the cramps, the climbs, the heat and my own stupidity. Coming to the bottom of the last climb, only 4km to go to the top we were in a group of 8 riders. I was cramping and could only watch as some attacks went on a kick in the climb. After that Matteo passed me a 1500ml bottle that I used up in its entirety within 10 seconds.
I was able to recover slightly as no one wanted to chase the lone rider who had gone off the front. Coming into the final KM I put in an attack or two but got nowhere as I had long wasted the energy that I so desperately needed then. In the last 300meters Simon took the lead and was starting a perfect lead out/sprint/attack until his chain fell off and I found myself in front with 200 meters to go. I had no choice to punch it but was passed by three riders before the line so came home a really disappointing fifth. One place off last years result.
At least I know that my form is good.. Next time I'll just have to use my head a bit more!