Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 Jelajah Malaysia Report

You are about to start your first big race of the year – what's the perfect preparation? Get used to the conditions, be well rested, scrape yourself across Malaysian pavement? The day before I started the 2011 edition of Jelajah Malaysia, I had the worst crash in training I've had. Many bruises and lots of lost skin was the unfortunate result. It would be a tough few days recovering from it let alone racing 160-220km each day. I went to the medic and got sorted out, a week or two of wounds, and bandages and disinfecting myself lay ahead. This all on my brand few race bike...

Stage 1 – 162km

A fast start – I was in a few moves but felt terrible on the bike – my heart rate was through the roof. A break went and our team did a major chunk of the work bringing it back with 30km to go. A torrential storm hit when we were on the front – probably the best place to be.

Stage 2 – 204km

With the yellow jersey in a teams hands, the peleton attacked and attacked until 50km when a break went. Unfortunately, 30 minutes in, with the peloton in one long snake, I punctured. I got my wheel quickly but unfortunately the commissar didn't allow me even close to any cars for a little shelter – I rode as hard as I could for almost 20 minutes to get back on – I almost had resigned to not being able to get back on when I got close to the end of the cavalcade. Fortunately, the break escaped and the peleton sat up. 48kmph I averaged for those very painful 20 minutes. Main task of the day for me was bottle duty. You wouldn't believe how much we drink in the heat.

Stage 3 – 158km

Of the 3 hours 30 minutes racing, 3 hours where pouring rain. Very very heavy, but the peloton actually felt safe enough. Starting to feel a little better and was in a few moves over the first hour and a half – not the one that got away though.

Stage 4 – 89km

A shorty today. With the yellow in Malaysian hands, it seemed the every part of the Malaysian peleton was used to chase down break attempts. 48Kmph we averaged for the stage in driving rain. (it didn't stop for the whole stage!). My task for the day was to help pull back a small group towards the end – another bunch sprint.

Stage 5 – 221km

Really hot all day and got a little burnt despite having Factor 50 on – I'll need to start putting on sunscreen during the stage. I was in a few breaks over the first 35km and though I was in the one that got away. The green jersey bridged (and teammate, David McCann) – which was followed by the peleton after a few minutes. Most of the middle of the stage was controlled – I spent it grabbing bottles and feeling crap. A group of 35 (in a few parts) got away with 3 of my teammates in it. Happy days, free ride to the finish.

Easy to see when I was in the break
Stage 6 – 175km

Rode on the front over the first 20km following attacks – then we hit the climb, which was actually a climb (unlike anything else in this race which was basically pan flat) – it was rode full gas with the peleton splitting into many sections. I suddenly wished I hadn't ridden as hard over the first 20km. I got to the top in the second group, which after a few km of driving by the German and Iranian teams recreated the peleton. 20Km in, a gruppeto also formed. The rest of the very hot day had very aggressive riding – the day was easy for no one. Getting to the team car for bottles was tough as we were lined out for a chunk of the day. I didn't drink enough and was feeling the effects for the final 50km. My teammate, David, showed his form and attacked with 70km to go with 3 other GC contenders. With 17km to go, he kicked again shedding all but yellow jersey winner Mehdi Sohrabi. With David's ride, and our teams solid performance we finished with 2nd in GC and 2nd in the team classification.

Final stage - I wish I didn't make those efforts before the climb - see the temperature!

In a hurt locker!

The race was hot and fast. When it was easy, it was easy, when it was hard, it was hard – not much middle ground. I didn't sleep well all week with with my wounds and recovery has been slow. I didn't feel like I was “firing on all cylinders”. I know I put in a great winter of training and the form will come – off to Taiwan now for another 10 days of fun, with a few days of recovery first. Hopefully, no more crashes!

1 comment:

Peter said...

Love the blog, Ryan. Keep 'em coming.