Homeboy: Cobbles Are Evil
Cobbles suck. No really, they do! The problem with cobbles is that when you are fit they hurt, but for the out of shape person the cobbles present an exponentially increasing march to extreme pain. It’s kinda like that point when you crack on a really steep 20 percent grade and almost fall over, except on cobbles you are bouncing around and dodging people all while trying to maintain some semblance of balance.
As you can tell this is leading to my wonderful experience in France this weekend. The team had a hard 1.6 UCI race with a cobble section of 1.5 kilometers. This wouldn’t have been a problem in a regular race where you just go across it once, no we were scheduled for 13 times across this large dirt path laden with large melon sized objects. If you want a better idea of the sections pull out your Paris-Roubaix video from this year and find section number 11 of the cobbles, it’s the same one.
Back to the race, well attempt at a race. I went into the race feeling a bit roasty toasty from the previous week and didn’t know how I was going for fair. Warming up my legs were tight and stayed tight. I was in for a hard day. Only the second time across the cobbles and I find myself gapped off the back group and I’m in the caravan. I find my team directors car and pace back on with another rider who has had a flat. Eventually (read 500 meters before the cobble section) I make contact with the group.
Would this be my salvation, nope. I start following wheels and even make up some ground on riders all while pedaling one legged for half the cobbles! I had to unclip and plant a foot to avoid a rider who decided to do a bit of a dirt nap on the side of the road. When I reached the end the gaps were formed in the field and I wasn’t in a position to close them. The race was over.
The rest of the weeks racing was pretty much the same, the exception being a local kermesse race where I ended up off the front of the 2nd main group, about 23rd place or so, but I flatted with less than 20 kilometers to go. Some days despite feeling like your legs can’t go you find yourself riding the right wheels and placing higher than normal. Just goes to show exactly how much a bit of luck and smarts can make up for lack of form.
Despite the feeling of being overcooked from the past two weeks I am swallowing the load of racing fairly well. I have a planned rest week of very light riding and a little crit along with a girlfriends birthday party I have a nice week to get my mind back into the racing spirit. The days are numbered and in 21 days my European campaign will be over.
That’s all for this week,
Team Site: www.cyclingcenter.com
Personal Site: CyclingLinks.com
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