Sunday, July 02, 2006

UCI 1.2 Willebroek

Today Brandon McKeever, John Murphy, some guys from the Cyclingcenter, and I took place in a 165k long UCI 1.2 race called Willebroek. There was one big loop of 137k and 4 local laps of 7k. It was a very flat race with only one supposedly decisive section, a 1.3k long cobbled section 78k in. It was a very hot day today. Since the course was very flat and it wasn’t a very windy day I decided to just sit in the group, make splits, and try to stay out of trouble. I also wanted to be toward the front for the cobbled sections. There was a group of ten or so that dangled off the front from early in the race. I missed my bottle feed at 60k into the race. Nothing decisive really did happen until the cobbled section. I conserved a lot of energy until the cobbled sector but couldn’t get to the front, but I was lucky enough this time to have just made the selection. I was in the back of Murphy’s group. I was running low on water and figured I would wait toward the back of our group of 50 riders for the caravan to get water for myself and Murphy. Though this was an error in my thinking. About 20 k after the cobbles the caravan still wasn’t behind our group, and Murphy got off of our group with about 15 or 20 other riders. So I was useless to Murphy. I was also feeling dehydrated, covered in salt, and starting to feel some chills coming on. I decided to put up my bottle and try to get a feed from some other team’s car. There was a neutral car that was behind our group. I gave them my bottle while I held on to the car, and they filled it up with water. They gave me my bottle and stepped on the gas, but I was still 50 meters behind my group and feeling bad. I was too dehydrated to go on. I just started pedaling easy and tried to make it to the local laps. Three groups later Brandon came up to me. We rode on with that group to the local laps. It was a bummer that I missed my feed and had to abandon my last race. I felt really good today and really wanted to help Murphy. He said he also felt really good today and thought he could have gotten a top ten if he had some help. I don’t know what place he got but he was among the thirty riders that finished. I have one more day here in Izegem and head home on Tuesday. It’s been a bit hard for me over here in Europe this year, but I learned a lot from the races and people at the house. I will be able to put this knowledge into all my races in the future. It has really been a great experience.