This afternoon I raced in a local series called the Giron du Rhone. There are seven rounds with a variety of crits and long hill climb time trials. It seems to be a very inclusive series with lots of categories, including the ‘populaire’.
Today was the first round, on a short circuit around a village in the valley called Epinassey. One lap took about six minutes and consisted of a descent, a flat section into the wind then a climb back up to the finish line. Having not taken out a license this year I raced as a populaire, only having to do ten laps rather than the thirteen the licensed racers completed. About twenty or so of us signed on and loitered under an inadequate gazebo as the rain hammered down before being called to the line.
As we set off I wanted to get the measure of the field especially first time up the climb. We stayed together first time up but it was clear that there were only three or four guys likely to contest the win. Second time up I gave it some real beans, forcing a break of four riders and for one lap we worked well together. With seven laps to go the fourth rider was dropped on the climb, leaving three of us of similar ability up the road now several minutes ahead of any chasers.
About half way through I got chatting to one of my companions who spoke some English and he commented that this looked too easy for me and I was clearly “playing a game” with them. Of course I was, this was after all a bike race…
As we entered the final laps I began to feel that the two Swiss were not going to let the Englishman win their event, so attacked in an unlikely place by taking a very wet corner a little faster and driving out of it. I was brought back within a few hundred metres. Next, up the climb with two laps to go I attacked hard but was once again reeled in- the top end is missing for that crucial gap.
The three of us rolled around the last lap until the climb where I played my last card, a hard attack from the back of the three hoping to demoralise them and get the crucial few metres I needed. Alas, one of them brought me back and promptly blew, not before blocking me a little as the other chap attacked. I tried to get across but the ten metres he got were never closed and he went on to win, with me a little way behind having secured second place.
I was so desperate to get warm and dry that I missed the presentation, I think I might have got some flowers for my troubles. A nice touch was getting my ten francs back on handing in the race number: free racing! I’m looking forward to the long hill climbs perhaps with a view to taking the overall series, although work means I will miss one event that might scupper my chances.
Tale of the data- happy with the normailised power- shows FTP is perhaps a little higher than my current setting.
Work: 1010 kJ
TSS: 124.1 (intensity factor 1.103)
Norm Power: 338
Distance: 36.862 km
Power: 0 1197 275 watts
Heart Rate: 107 187 163 bpm
Cadence: 45 206 93 rpm
Speed: 11.5 57.6 36.1 kph
Pace 1:03 5:13 1:40 min/km
Hub Torque: 0 3.9 1.1 N-m
Crank Torque: 0 194.3 28.6 N-m