Monday, April 22, 2013

Philippines and back to Indonesia

We are back from the Philippines and resting up before our next block of racing. The Singapore Criterium, Tour of Azerbaijan, possibly an Irish race and then the AnPost Ras.

The Philippines was great, the people were friendly, helpful and the scenery stunning - I would definitely come back with or without a bike. The weather is hot from 9am on but not too much of a problem once you adapt.

The race itself - I cover most things in my videos. I was very unfortunate to puncture when I did on Stage 1 - the race had broken to bits and the neutral support had not caught up. That basically killed my GC goals.

As the stages went by, my legs felt better and better. Stage 4, the massive mountain stage was going well - 2hrs in, TPT (the Iranian team) where lighting it up on the second major climb (8km at close to 9%) and Eddie and I were in the front 9 (4 TPT riders!). It was tough, actually really hard, but I it was one of those days when the pain/suffering was enjoyable. The final Philippine rider popped and a gap opened, I bridged, but Eddie was in trouble - my team duties were to stay with Eddie, so I did. The rest of the day was pretty amazing, very hot, steep long climbs and super fast descents. I finished 10th (18th GC) on the stage and helped Eddie to 8th overall (importantly, in the UCI points). 

I was a little apprehensive of how my climbing form was going into the stage, I had never raced a stage like this on the road bike (close to 4,000m of climb across 95km), but afterwards, I was happy with how it felt. Team TPT are basically like the Team Sky of the Asian Circuit - they had possibly their strongest team there (and the final GC shows that) - but I was happy with how I could ride against them. Over the last few weeks, I have slowly adapted to riding in close to 40 celsius each day, got a little leaner and kept the same power - it all adds up.

Tour of Azerbaijan is also going to include a lot of climbing, a really strong lineup and live on Eurosport as far as I know. I can't wait. It is going to be a really really tough test. The team will be Mark, Stephen, Daniel and myself as the Irish riders as well as Kazakh Sergey and Eddie. Our staff is Irish for this one.

Here are a few photos from the last week.

Out for a spin the day before Stage 1

Accommodation for the first few days was very basic, but the view made up for it

Noodles - sometimes there is very very little choice, but this was tasty (not paleo!)

Some traditional huts before one of our evening dinners

Back in Tumpang, Indonesia with Sergey (Singapore will be our first race together)

Lunch and dinner, you are SURE to find, rice, chicken and veg soup

Something different today - Urap - spicy salad with coconut - YUM

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013 Tour de Philippines Stage 4

A big mountain stage today - almost 4,000m of climb packed into 90km! Very hot on the early climbs too.

 And for the Strava Folk (power data not right)


2013 Tour de Philippines Stage 3

Much shorter today

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More training and photos from Indonesia

We spent a little over two weeks training in Indonesia on the climbs and behind the motorbike. We are back on our travels again with an epic 28hrs of travel for only 3 short flights - on Saturday, we start the Tour de Philippines. I'll put the usual video blogs up after each stage.

Above, checking out a location for a possible MTB stage race later in the year 

Another view - it is closed at the moment and they are making repairs - looked cool though 

One of the few quiet moments around Malang

Christopher picked me up so local high quality coffee beans so I can continue with my addiction

A few years ago, there was only horse and cart here - now mopeds are the transport of choice for the locals.

Imagine motor pacing through the above... I don't have to imagine.

Stopping off to buy more water at a market

Every day, some version of rice with chicken and vegetable 

Drying out the coffee beans - pity it is along the street though - hate to think what all the moped/truck pollution is doing to the fine harvest