An Up and Down Couple of Weeks

Craig Wallace | Tuesday 18th March, 2014

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After the good opening weekends to the racing here in the Basque Country I unfortunately succumbed to a cold and cough the days following my last diary entry and had to take 10 days off of serious training to try and recover in time to race again. This meant on missing out on a weekends racing but I know from past experience that racing in that way only makes things worse and delays the time until I am fully fit again.

This past weekend I returned to racing, albeit still coughing and spluttering but not nearly so much as the previous weekend. Saturdays race was very fast right from the off and in the first hour we averaged nearly 45km/h along the flat, twisty town roads before we hit the hills, a nice lung opener for me after taking it easy for the past week! Once we hit the hills it was matter of survival and I somehow managed to get into the front group of 20 or so riders coming into the finish and finished mid group, getting boxed in on the final corner. An average result but I have to be happy given the fact that I was still suffering from a chesty cough!

Sundays race looked more suited to me with several long climbs to contend with. Again the first hour was flat and fast with strong winds splintering the 100 man peleton into several smaller groups under the impetuous of my team and the Lizarte racing team keen to make the racing difficult . My time in Belgium definitely paid off here as I always found myself in the good side of the splits and ended up in the lead group of 40 riders heading to the hills. 

On the longest climb I attacked a few times and lead the race but Caja Rural had 4 guys in the now lead group of 10 so it was always going to be hard to stay away with 4 guys working together on the front. Over the top of the final long climb of the day 2 guys jumped clear and quickly built an advantage of around 30 seconds or so. Myself and a team-mate who was also in the lead group discussed with the DS in the cars behind what we should do and it was decided that I would chase and try and keep it together for a sprint up the short steep 400m finishing hill for my team-mate who excels on the short punchy hills. So for the final 20km I rode as hard as I could trying to keep everything together while also trying to catch the two leaders out front. After a lung bursting chase I eventually caught them with the help of one Caja Rural rider who was still left to help his team leader, and then the attacks from the other riders in the group started but somehow I managed to peg them back before they got too much of a gap. Coming into the final I made sure my team-mate was in good position and peeled over at the bottom of the hill. Legs spent I had to make my way very slowly up the hill straining my ears to try and hear what the announcer was saying over the loudspeakers. My team-mate had won and as I crossed the line it was hugs all round as we celebrated the teams first victory of the season. It definitely was an fantastic feeling to know that the work I did in the final helped towards the win something that I was more than happy to do given the fact that the finish suited my team-mate and I still struggling and coughing away! I rolled along in 10th so I'm content to have another top 10 result in the bag.

Hopefully I can get over this cold properly and get into some serious training again this week ahead of next weekends racing. Sundays race looks very mountainous so I will will be aiming for a result there.

Thanks for reading



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