31 July 2008

Fabulously sunny days!

The sun is shining,
the legs are ticking over like a swiss watch
and dopers are being caught left right and centre...
What more could I possibly ask for?
Well.. I could ask for more, but I'm not going to go into that now am I ;)
Just a big shout out to my man Carini! The news about your positive test made my day, my week and even my month! Just a pity you finished behind me on the weekend, so I can't come and claim some prize money.

27 July 2008

GP Inda 1.2 Caravate 175km 27.07.2008

I really liked the GP Inda last year, but as I had 3 team mates in the break I had to cover the bunch all day long. This year I wanted to make sure that did not happen again. After all, I love attacking, and I do well when I enjoy myself... Which means that I do well when I attack. At least that's what I tell myself!

A few kilometers into the race I went away with one rider for a while but we were brought back soon enough. After a flurry of attacks I got into another move that eventually swelled to 33 riders and included team mate Mountain Goat Matteo and two of my Aussie buddies. With the winding course the peloton would always have a hard time chasing so before long we had a gap of 3 minutes on the field.
With one and a half of the four and a half figure of eight laps to go Jaro somehow managed to get away from the peloton and crossed over to us in a moment when we had little cohesion. He came up to me in the bunch, asked how I felt and then asked if I would work for him today. I glanced over at him and told him that I was entirely at his disposal! After last week there was NO doubt about that!

Right after that I followed an attack and got away with about 8 riders and without Jaro. Oh no! But... before long he suddenly pitched up with a couple of other riders. With about 35km to go I attacked before the second last biggish climb and went away with one other rider. We immediately opened up a nice gap and were flying along nicely when a moto came up to us and said that a team mate was following us, on his own. I thought it was the other guys team mate but looked back to see... Jaro!

I could not believe it! Immediately I sat on and waited for Jaro to cross. As he got to us I put my head down and went, driving with all I had. After all, I knew that I didn't need energy for the final, I was working for Jaro today! All along I could not stop thinking how incredible this was. Merely 8 days later and here I was repaying the favour that he did for me last week!
In the last 25km I put in as much work as I possibly could and relieving Jaro of his turns as soon as possible, letting him be as fresh as possible for the end. Of course he still worked too much, but at least I tried! With 10km to go we started discussing tactics and I made sure that he only did one short pull before the final climb.

Eventually on the last climb of the day I put in an attack but was quickly caught and continued setting a steady tempo. Jaro waited nicely and then went hard within sight of the top. From there on it was a Fantastic final 5km to the line, sitting on the wheel of the Pagnoncelli rider. I put in a fake sprint just to please the crowds at the end, but with 100meters to go already sat up and celebrated like mad!

What a day! What a day!!!

26 July 2008

GP Cristal Energie 19.07.2008

Here is a little something from last weekend. Otherwise better known as proof that it actually happened.
Gooi'ing that Namlish sign, right there!


So it turns out that I am weaker than Jaro's mom and we have to fly her in for tomorrows race to take my place. 
While making our famous panini's (jam rolls for race food) I could not open the jar of very jummy Strawberry jam that Jaro's mother made.
So now that I can't open the jars that little Polish mothers close I'll have to behave myself a bit better.
Which means that if Mrs Marycz doenst get here in time and they are forced to let me start the GP Inda (1.2, 170km), that I'll have to prove my worth. Should be fun!
Just wanted to say a BIG thank you to everyone who contacted me after last weekends little excusion! I never expected to hear from so many people and really appreciated it.

20 July 2008

I did what!?

Yesterday we did a 200km 1.2 race in Central France. I headed off, always keen to race in France but without any high expectations, we were racing Agritubel and a bunch of Conti teams after all, not to mention the 9+ hour drive the previous day and the less than ideal accomodation.
What a shocker....
I went in the first break after 4km, we were caught by another break and were 30 off the front. No harmony so off I went again with 10 others. Mid race we were caught again to form 30 riders off the front. No harmony once more so off I went with 4 others, taking ALL of the KOM points along the way. 40km from the end 6 riders caught us and Jaro and I formed part of the 11 man break. Once again no harmony so I put in a silly little attack which was brought back quickly. Jaro countered it and I found myself on the wheel of a AG2R (amateur team) rider who jumped after Jaro. I followed him and was about to drop off his wheel when I noticed that no one was chasing us.
We bridged across to Jaro and off we went. 25km from the finish Jaro asked me if I wanted to win, to which I responded YESSSS (of course!). End of discussions. From there on Jaro took monster turns and I could soft wheel my turns. 15km from the end we started attacking the Frenchie and it was not long before a move of mine stuck. Now I had the small problem that I had to TT to the line on my own, into a headwind at times and over a million little rollers. My gap initially increased but then slowly started shrinking, just as my energy started hitting negative figures..
The race ends with a 1.2km climb (apparently up to 7%)and then 300meters flat to the line. It felt as if I was standing still while going up there. I could not believe that the Frenchie (with Jaro sitting comfy on his wheel) did not catch me. Once I crested the top of the hill and had the line in sight I still could not believe that I was about to win the race... But seeing several motorbikes behind me let me know that I still had a reasonable gap.
I crossed the line giving the Namlish sign, but an absolutely dead man. Nothing left to give. Just over 20 second back Jaro came in behind the Frenchie, but he was to busy celebrating my win to really sprint for second place himself.
Now that is what you call a team mate!
Pics and more coming soon.

17 July 2008


So while racing is ticking along (it's improving, really! even though the last post might not sound like it) so is the training.
Yesterday Davide escorted 9 of us to go and do the 3 passes loop. Let's just say that they are slightly bigger than the 4 passes that we used to ride around Stellenbosch. The day started off by driving the 30km to Biasca before jumping on our bikes and riding up the valley towards San Gottardo, Furka and eventually Nuffenen Pass. The passes are all over 10km but it also takes a lot of climbing just to get to the base of the first one. And just cause that is not hard enough, the gradient gets steeper per pass. So by the time you get to Nuffenen you are not only buggered, but you have the steepest climb in front of you.
No wonder it took me just over an hour to do the 13km climb.. A cadence of 50 was a rather normal sight, even though I was in my 39*25 most of the time. And I was the second guy up the climb, so not as if I was the only person crawling up there..
Muuuuch further back down the hill Daniele Colombo was fighting gravity and a bet he had made with Matteo the Mountain Goat in the morning. A pizza and a beer for everyone in the team was online after all, all Colo had to do was ride all three passes under his own steam and without ever stopping. Rumour has it that Matteo will be slightly out of pocket soon ;)
In the end the ride ended up being 6h30 and about 170km for one fun day in the saddle.

Medio Brenta

So the race went as expected. I suffered. Problem was that I suffered a bit much AND I was in the break of the day when we hit the 12km climb and I faded like a gelato in the sun...
I kept on going, eventually even being passed by the broom wagon, but I was not bothered. Got in a great training ride with a lot of climbing and eventually rolled into the finish to find the rest of the team all changed and waiting for me so that we could leave for home.
Matteo, Jaro and Konrad came home in the second bunch so the day was not too great for us, but not a failure either.
Towards the end of my training ride I noticed that my lower back started hurting and my left legs seemed to be working at less than 100% which is slightly concerning. Now I have to figure out what has brought this about.. hmmm..

11 July 2008

GP Jura

So last weekend we had the 180km GP Jura and I was not all that keen on lining up for the suffer fest that was lying ahead of me. Legs felt like lead in the week before so I was not to positive.
In the end things actually went a lot better than expected. I was active and going down the road way more than expected helping out Matteo and Konrad who were obviously feeling better than I was. I was shelled on the second last BIG climb but managed to sneak my way back to the front and into a few more moves before we headed up the last big climb (big implying long, about 8km, there were short and steep ones left on the finishing circuit). As we started it my legs became solid with cramps and I nearly came to a complete stop. So that was it for me for the day. A nice 150km training ride as I just cruised to the circuit and climbed off, happier than I had expected to be.
Now we have had another weird week of training. Big plans, not really coming together, and really tired all the time. And Sunday is the next big appointment. The 1.2 Medio Brenta in Italy, only my fourth Italian race of the season. Should be better than Jura, so now rest up and let's see.

04 July 2008

Coffee rides!

As today was a easy day before a race we just went out and did a nice coffee ride.
Here's a look at Matteo's sunglasses with Marco, myself and Konrad in the reflection.
I am betting on the little mountain goat (Matteo) and Konrad on doing something tomorrow. Let's see...

Am I alive?

Well, of course I am alive. Just doesn't mean that I have been updating my blog of late.
See what happened is that I suddenly hit a HUGE hole in the middle of my season and was left without any races. Now sitting in Europe, in the back of a junkyard (I should post some pics) is hard at the best of times. But when you suddenly find that you can not do what you came here to do... then all motivation kind of drifts away.. And with that any desire to write Ride Mag Diary's (got it in at the last minute, later than ever before...) or update a blog.
Now things are back on track though! I have my first race in over a month coming up within 13 hours and although the form is not top notch, it should be a fun venture in the Jura mountains in Western Switzerland.
After that I plan on updating things a bit more regularly. Keep your fingers crossed ;)