So! What happened in Europe? What am I up to? What’s next?
Well let me fill you in!
Europe started off on the wrong foot with me snapping my bike into pieces on the 1st Stage of the Tour of Ulster in Belfast. Unlike my crash 4 weeks prior in Adelaide I couldn’t do much about this one as I was taken out from behind. I came out of the crash with just bruising and swelling to my lower legs from being run over but my bike was worse for wear.
That stage got abandoned and I was able to complete the rest of the tour on a borrowed bike. I jumped on another borrowed bike until the backup arrived and brought over a slick looking 2014 team issue Trek Madone. I tested it out with the rest of the team at the Shay Elliot Memorial cruising in for 16th after three of my teammates were in the break, Jesus finishing 7th!
The time had come for the UCI 2.2 An Post Ras and I felt like I had okay form but I lacked legs early in the first 2 stages losing time. Heading into stage 3 I was sitting 27th GC over 6 minutes down. The chance came to jump across to the move of the day around the 60km mark and I took it. The day planned out well, I didn’t have the best legs but I rode the smartest stage of my life, I thought. I saved energy where I could and coming into the last 30kms with the peloton beginning to chase I dropped back to the car to talk with Frank. The 6 of us in the break started working well together like we had most of the day. I saw who was strongest on the long roads into a headwind and with 45-50sec at the 10km to go mark it was looking unlikely that the bunch would let us survive. We were down to 5 men and I covered the Team 3M rider. He attacked and so did I straight over the top of him inside the last 4kms. For a minute they all looked at each other and gave me a bit of space, but it didn’t last and they came across to me and at the 3km mark the peloton had arrived and it was over. I rolled in on the back of the bunch dreaming of what could of been but I wouldn’t say I was disappointed as I rode smart and left it out there. Of course I had ‘what ifs’ that night but it was over, time for the next stage.
Subaru once again looking after us in another country.
The next two stages hurt. Mentally more than anything. I didn’t put myself in the best position and paid the price getting caught out in the crosswinds both days. I wasn’t riding how I wanted. Both legs were attached, but they weren’t working how I was telling them to!
The last two stages were chalk and cheese from the previous two. Finishing in the pack, something I came a long way not to do. I was on the up and my legs were feeling better on the bike day by day although a little tight in places, on to Belgium it was.
After a day of travelling Daniel and I arrived at ‘The Farm’. A well known home stay for cyclists owned by Staf Boone. The home of Kingsnorth International Wheelers a cycling team with a prestigious pedigree I later found out.
The stairs of death at ‘The Farm’
I was excited for our first race coming off the Ras, sadly it wasn’t what I had hoped for having to pull out half way through thanks to a swollen lower leg. Also making the trip from the Ras to Belgium was the NZ track team
. In good kiwi spirit they helped me out and made their resources available to me. Rest was on the cards for several days to try get through the problem but stepping out again the result was the same.
Catching up with Mudgway at the NZ headquarters in Belguim, was cool to see Agostino’s bike up on the wall.
I was lame! Not happy. I rested a week trying to get one last race in to no avail. While this was happening Daniel crashed out snapping his bike, while Darcy was flying!
Belgium was everything they say; windy, narrow roads, full gas. If you’re not in the break your nowhere, simple as that.
Another kiwi, Cory Cannings!
I arrived home and after sleeping for a day I was straight into the Dr and then on for an ultrasound. The news wasn’t good, an inflamed plantaris saw me on the sidelines for 5 weeks.
Frustration was an understatement! I wanted to ride. Wind, rain, cold I didn’t care I just wanted to be on my bike getting ready for the next assault. Reflection just made me realise two things. One, it confirmed where I want to go with my cycling career. And two, I had unfinished business! The news was also bad on the Australian front. With races being cancelled the calendar has thinned out.
In my break I have turned to other ways to drive my motivation along and get ready for the second half of the season. One thing is for sure I’ll be on the hunt for more racing to get me up to speed for the big goals I have highlighted.
Massive thanks goes out to my team Subaru Albion and our sponsors for giving me my first taste of European racing as well my personal supporters who without I don’t think I would be in this position.