G’DAY Suisse: What A Season!
Our Aussie Mate in Switzerland is about done – with his season that is. Chris Selden reflects on his year, and discovers what type of rider he really is…
Seldo Says: “This article first ran WAY back in 2004, shortly before I retired from racing, burnt out mentally and physically from beating myself up for years for little or no money racing around the world. My passion for bike riding never left me though and although I’ve only been a recreational rider for the last 8 years the racing bug has bitten me again and 2013 will see me make my comeback in the amateur ranks in France. As assitant editor for PEZ I’ve even been convinced to write a diary of this crazy endeavour that I’ve dubbed, ‘Project 51’ as I try to make my way from Category 5 to Category 1 in one year. Yes, I’ve more chances to see a UFO at Area 51 than achieve this 5 to 1 goal but it should at least be entertaining. Keep it tuned to PEZ when Project 51 kicks off in mid-February but until then you can read an old diary of mine from when I didn’t have that nasty word ‘master’ written on my licence.” – Seldo
My second European season is coming to an end which means it’s time for some reflections on the year. The good news is that the results have come steadily throughout the year, I’ve had a marked improvement over last year’s efforts, no DNF’s this year, and even a few podium appearances. The bad news is that I have discovered what type of rider I truly am…
Stand and deliver. Seldo goes on the attack at GP de Lausanne.
Alas, I am not the Tour De France GC rider I hoped to be, nor am I a sprinter who regularly gets to kiss the podium girls after showing his blistering speed. I am not even the climber that I thought I was (not in Europe anyway…) I am in fact, the worst possible type of rider.
Yes, I am a time triallist!
I never thought I’d utter such words, but it appears to be true. With my first and only European win coming in a time trial this season, it seems that my least favorite discipline, appears to be my strength. “The race of truth”‚ they call time trialling, but I call them “pure pain”. All the things that I love about bike racing, the tactics, the peloton, the team work are all somewhat lacking in a time trial & seem to be replaced by feelings of pure pain for the duration of the event. Where’s the fun??
Even after coming home in the best time, unless you are the last rider your pain still isn’t over. For my TT win, I had to listen to a French commentator for an hour after my effort as he was commenting on each finishing rider. Was I still in the lead? Could I finally relax? Not until the final rider was in & I had seen the official results could my heart rate finally go back down to normal levels.
So, now that I have accepted what type of rider I am – I can look back on my other races throughout the year & see where my time trialling had really helped me. From tactical breakaways in races that were designed just to get a head start on the mountains, or from efforts to get across to winning moves, I have to admit that time trialling does come in very handy. There was even the odd occasion when I was out the back door of the peloton & had to TT my way back up through the caravan – but thankfully those efforts were few & far between this year.
In the dwindling front group of the GP de Lausanne, going damn hard.
I surprised myself by even performing well at races that aren’t suited to me at all, which certainly gave me a lot of satisfaction. Most people wouldn’t list a 22nd place as their best result of the season, but for me that is the case this year. Despite one win & a few other podium efforts this was my best result personally.
The Gp de Lausanne in Switzerland was my own race from hell‚ & after a VERY bad performance there last year with a big DNF it was very rewarding to have a good race there this year. The circuit is honestly beyond my climbing abilities but I had targeted this race all year. Not many non-climbers target this race, I’d suggest – or even finish – so it was very satisfying to actually do something in the race, finish in the top 25 & take some money home. Not many people even finish this race within the time limit (120 starters this year, 35 finishers) so it was happy days for me.
After a season of good performances, maybe mixed with a bit of good luck, good form & just a touch of stupidity I will be going back to Australia with great memories of season 2004 – even if I am coming home as a time triallist. I could have sworn I left home as a climber – but what can I say, people change. I’m pretty sure I left home 1 or 2kgs heavier, certainly richer & possibly even saner as well, will friends & family recognize me on my homecoming?? Whatever the case, the good weather & the beaches beckon so it’s time to leave the approaching European winter behind and head off for another summer of endless criteriums & great training in Australia.
Meet Chris Selden!
Chris ‘Seldo’ Selden is a 27yr old Australian who’s been racing bikes since he was 12yrs old. He’s raced every discipline from track to MTB but his real love is road racing. Chris races in Switzerland riding for the amateur Team PROF/Fluckiger Electricite SA, and in Australia for Team Bruce Lynton BMW/Goldstars.
Chris can be reached @ [email protected]