Friday, July 19, 2013

2013 Tour de Singkarak - Part 2

For the first time in a stage race, I had a rest day. For the team, it was a day of resting bodies, a short bike ride (via the beach for a time) and an afternoon releasing turtles into the ocean!

Quick rest day beach trip
Some of the turtles

Stage 6

An aggressive start - for Oscar and I this stage was marked by crashes. Having not had an incident in over a year, I came down twice during the stage - the final crash, at about 50kmph tore my right rotator cuff in my shoulder - I was able to continue and other than out of the saddle has not interfered with my road biking. Unfortunately, five weeks later, it still means I can't ride a mountain bike so for the first time since I started cycling, I'm missing the MTB XC National Championships this weekend.

The legs were great in the final stages of the race though and I was aggressive over the final climbs of the stage getting off the front.

Stage 7

The final day - after a very fast first hour a small break moved off the front with the familiar sight of TPT coming to the front and riding tempo for the remains of the stage protecting their yellow jersey. A frantic finale in Panang saw TPT also win the stage. Oscar finished 5th overall with two podiums while Sergey had a bunch of Top 10 finishes and a 10th overall in GC.
Backdrop for a stage finish (Stage 3) 
Post stage meal! (Stage 3)
Other than coffee, I had not known much about Sumatra before the race. The race organisation brought us through some spectacular scenery providing a safe, challenging race and giving us a great insight into this spectacular area of the world.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 Tour de Singkarak - Part 1

It has been a while - but hey, better late then never.

Stage 1

Roller coaster of a day with Oscar taking second on the stage

Stage 2

Damn my luck and "Stage 2s"- diarrhoea or gastroenteritis means sufferage, no energy and losing time on GC - domestique duty it is for the rest of the week.

Stage 3

The first of the big mountain stages - basically 210km, first 100km flat/downhill and then lots of big mountains. My job was to be in any break of consequence - there was none and TPT rode on the front to the start of the climbing. Into the first major climb, Oscar (GC guy and defending champion) missed a break (having gone off about 15km before the big climb on a shorter climb - we had Sergey up there in the break though) so I was tasked to the front to keep the gap manageable for Oscar to bridge across once we hit the big one. After that, we hit the climb, my lights were blown and I went into energy saving mode for the following days. The country is quite simply spectacular and I was glad to be enjoying the scenery (but would much rather to have been fighting for GC).

Stage 4

Legs and body were good and I was determined to be in the breakaway - from the gun it was full gas. Up and down super steep short climbs we fought to get into the move. With about 40 minutes of riding at an average close to 400W (in 36C with humidity), ten of us were gone including teammate Eddie. No GC threats in the move - happy days and 160km of open road left in front of us. Surprisingly, the yellow jersey team, Differdange-Losch pulled us back and immediately a counter that ended up containing 15 riders and 3 GC threats rode away. The yellow jersey team rode themselves into the ground over the rest of the stage but lost their overall lead.

On the attack - photo from Cycling News

Stage 5

Another big mountain day that started straight into a two kilometer climb at 7% (KM 0 was at the base). Oscar was in a fighting move and attacked from the gun. He was gone for the day and eventually finished third behind two TPT motorbikes (they finished eight minutes ahead of him!). Oscar, being Oscar, there was a good chance that our team would be riding on the front in the following days (if he achieved the goal of yellow jersey), so for me, it was mostly a day of riding tempo. The long stretches of 18% climbing and no compact chainset (despite a 28 on the rear) makes it tricky for me at 74kg to stay with the front wippets!

Stage results, photos and stories are available on Cycling News.