Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Sunshine Cup Round 3 - UCI C1

Another weekend, another race – I could get used to this. Last weekend it was the third round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup and we were competing just outside Limassol around the ancient ruins of Amathous. The course was a hilly affair with almost all of it on singletrack. Tough short climbs and technical descents where the name of the game – you always had to be very careful and focused, a few inches either side of the trail and you would easily washout or crash. Although not extreme, it was probably one of the more technical courses that I have ridden in that there were very few sections for you to relax on – falling on more pointy rocks was not on my todo list.

Due to the nature of the course, the orgainizing committee decided to split the men and women elite races with Mel starting at the ungodly hour of 9am. This did mean however that I would be able to take a few snaps of her race and visa versa (600 or so in total taken). I'll leave Mel to talk about her race. About 70 minutes before my race I started preparing for my warmup. We spend the 20 minutes before the race start being gridded (not like in Ireland where you roll up to the line 2 minutes before the start).

Dust rises as we descend the first singletrack section

At 12pm, the race hammered up the start loop – a short tarmac climb that quickly turns into fireroad, followed by horribly rutted fireroad and then single track for most of the rest of the race. As usual in this series, my start was terrible – I was gridded around 30th but slipped back into the 40s by the time I was half way around the first main lap and queuing to get into singletrack. This is something I am working on!

Emil Lindgren followed by Christoph Soukup

Climbing behind an ISD rider

I rode the course pretty well having no spills and enjoyed a few battles along the way. I actually enjoyed the race a lot which in some ways tells me that I wasn't pushing hard enough, which I knew – but still, a long while ago when I decided to come here for these races I had planned on 'training' through the races and using them as high intensity workout. That was my plan, but it's still tough not to be going faster when you are in the race. Still – a season from February to October is a long long season.

I finished up the race midpack passing 4 riders on my last lap (last lap was the same time as my first – hmmm, that should not be happening) and felt that I could keep on riding at the same pace. Guess that says my endurance is good but the high end is not there yet.

Anyway, this weekend is the final round in Voroklini – Mel and I rode the course today and I'm excited.

Full results are available here.

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