So last week saw me enter my first race of the season, The Portuguese cup in Gouveia.
In pursuit of a bit of sunny riding and those all important UCI points, there is a reason Brits head over to Spain and Portugal this time of year.. mainly because our weather is so shit to ride in! and to get up to speed for the year ahead on a fast flowing track.
On arrival I was struggling a bit with a virus, which gradually got worse over the week! Gastroenteritis, not nice! low on energy and suffering from De-hydration, things weren’t looking good for the week ahead. To make matters even worse, the weather wasn’t looking to be what it had originally promised. Grey skis with menacing clouds hung around all week, the odd bit of sunshine warmed things up but mixed with the amount of rain and riders meant the track to and unusually quick battering, which for a fresh track, just turned it into a mess as the week progressed!
In terms of food, all I could try to stomach all week was water, and dry ham sandwiches. Breakfast, Lunch and dinner, Dry ham sandwiches, all week. And some biscuits here and there!
This year saw the introduction of a new, fresh track dug into the Portuguese landscape. A lovely looking loamy track with high speed off camber section most of the way down.
Friday was sign on and track walk before an evening of practice. I signed on, then slept on the car for a couple of hours, then attempted a track walk. Half way through and energy levels were so low I had to return to the hotel and sleep. From 15:00 till 07:00 I was out like a light! Before returning to the hotel I did watch this cool train of caterpillars though! It was about all I could focus on.
Saturday and a full day of practice ahead. I was feeling slightly better after necking a handful of Imodium tablets and headed off for my first run of the weekend. A blind top section was probably not the best of ideas! although the track wasn’t incredibly technical it had the odd section to catch you out, especially the awkward turn to drop to flat to off camber corner which nearly caught me out severely!
I was feeling a little fresher however the lack of fluids and nutrients on my body meant I was unable to fully focus and my mind was way behind where my body actually was on track, which eventually caught me out and I had my first crash of the weekend, a simple error but one that wouldn’t normally happen.
4 runs in and I was done, out cold and back to the hotel for more dry ham sandwiches and sleep.
Sunday race day came around and the weather wasn’t playing ball. Rain mixed with periods of sun meant the track really was struggling, wet bog sections dried up slightly and turned to thick mud, then back to water with the rain, then mud with the sun, things were getting really tough! Not good with no energy!
1 practice run and then waiting for seeding.
As bad as I felt seeding went, I turned out a 19th position, 7 seconds off a top ten. With very little pedaling to conserve energy I was surprised to be in touching distance of a top ten.
Finals came around and big rain shower hit before more sun. This effectively ruined any chance I had of a result. The weather massively deteriorated the track and out of the gate i was done, 2 errors to which i stopped and was unable to move with bugger all leg power.
Everyone seemed to suffer, times were 20 seconds slower from quali to finals and I ended up 23rd.
Not the result I was looking for but given the circumstances there wasn’t a great deal I could do about it!
So the season is well under way now and time to focus on recovering fully before hitting the first BDS hard!
Sorry for the lack of photos! not much riding was done!
Cheers to everyone for the support for the season ahead, here’s to the next race!