I am not sure how I came up with this figure, perhaps it is the way I felt at the time in terms of fitness. Also, gauging by my Rest HR which was 54+ bpm, when low to mid 40s is my norm.
The Battle has been raced and lost. Not really, because I didn't go there to win, I went there to help the team and to become a better rider.
I don't think I could have done a much better ITT. Well, I could've gone harder of course as I didn't vomit as I went over the timing mat. My average HR was 164 which I think is fairly high. I just wish the timing system used was a reliable piece of equipment... (+42 sec).
Four hours later, we were off for the 123 km stage one. One hundred plus riders fighting for position on the narrow country roads leading to the first climb of the Burringbar Range (2.5 km). Very exciting but a little dangerous at times.
The pace for this race was incredibly fast, 36+ km/h in the first two hours with 1,000 m of climbing. I managed to hang on (just) with the bunch, already reduced to sixty riders, until I dropped a chain half way up a 1 km / 8.5 % climb... A lonely 52 km/1h 43min ride came next (+18 min).
With an early finish on Sunday, we finally had time to relax and enjoy a bit of the weekend. A bit of time at the beach with the Biker Chic...
... and a nice dinner with good (funny) friends.
The last day of racing was the one I didn't think I was going to enjoy. Thirty minutes in a very technical criterium circuit was never going to be an easy ride for me. Although the field was reduced by half, the narrow roads and slippery corners needed some very careful bike handling.
It also asked for good positioning at the start and that I managed to get. I glued myself to the fastest guy in the field and planned to be dragged by him for as long as I could. One big mistake: I was on my small chain ring! That cost me five places before the first corner and another five or six on a downhill stretch.
I ended up at the back of a second group after three or four laps. Interesting enough, I felt very comfortable on the bike and had some energy left to get to the front and help to bridge the gap. The hard effort sent me to the back for a rest and that was the end of my race, I pulled out at the 25 min mark, very happy with the way I raced.. (+ 10 min).
Great racing, great company and a few hard kilometers in the legs... Unfortunately, the people in charge of the results decided not to finish their work and I was left out of the GC... but I do feel I am a better rider after the Battle (around 36:42).
Time to recover and start building for the next event.
And thanks, Groover for the support and photos.