The rain in the night had vanished by the time we got up and it was clear and sunny for the last stage of the 2017 Tour de Kaernten. This was a 13 km mountain time trial with 1200 metres of climbing. We rode to the start line on the opposite side of the Ossiacher See from where we are camping. The race started in Bodensdorf and ascended Gerlitzen. The route was very nice with views down to the Ossiacher See. But we weren’t there to look at the views. No, no.
Unlike a normal time trial we started in blocks of around 20 people. I was suprised that my block didn’t ride hard from the start and I rode away from them at an easy pace. I started to put more effort in and not long into the race someone from my block passed me and I didn’t see him again. Another guy from our block closed in but I managed to hold him off to the top. The rest of the bunch vanished somewhere behind me. A bit strange.
I was happy with how I went but I seemed to slow down a bit in the middle until I got a bit more sugar into me. It flattened off near the top which might have accounted for the extra speed rather than the sugar. I got a nice finish sprint in to cross the line in around 1 hour 5 minutes.
The winner rode an insane 46 minutes and Leonie rode it in around 1 hour 25 minutes.
I decided to trim some weight from my bike so there’s no exciting Go Pro today.
Today was a good day.
I was back in the B block at the start. In the neutralised section at the beginning I rode up near the front close to the motor bikes. A cyclist a few riders in front went down and was trying to pick himself up in front of me. I dodged his drink bottle and amongst the confusion we joined the back of the A block. This was a good thing for getting a nice bunch and meant I was in a good position for the first hill after the race started.
I decided there would be plenty more hills and I should refrain a little but despite this got a very nice bunch that towed me until the first major climb. It was so good that my heart rate went down to 120 bpm in some parts despite a nice pace on the flat. Gooood.
My legs were fresh for the climb but I suspected that I’d get dropped anyway. But no, no no no, although I slid to the back for a while I managed to claw my way back to the front and got to the top first with two other guys. One of them was Jerome from RIG Freiburg. We had a delicious fast descent and then a bunch of maybe 6 people formed. We rotated through for a while until the rest caught us up.
The second major climb started after a while and my legs were ok to start with and I rode near the front. Eventually they gave out though and I lost the main bunch. By the drinks station I was riding with just a few other guys. We had a 1km section of gravel to navigate and we had reached the top. We had another fast descent. On one of the hairpin bends the guy in front of me misjudged the corner locked his breaks and slid into a patch of grass near the barrier.
I dropped the others on the descent. I was trying to conserve energy for the last climb which is normally leg destroying but this year we were approaching from a different direction. Suddenly I recognised the road we were joining. We were already a good way up the last climb. This was perfect. Usually I loose a lot of places on this climb. I rode as hard as I could, grunting away. The 1 km sign was suddenly there, then 500 m, then 200 m. I put in a little sprint up the last steep bit to the finish.
A very nice stage. Really nice views out to snow capped mountains in Slovenia(?), and green meadows a little closer. Perfect weather.
I sat and waited for Leonie for a while before we cruised back to the Ossiacher See.
Tour de Kaernten 2017 Stage 3 Lokalrunde Time: Dst: 98 km Avg: Max: Ascent:
It was cold and a bit drippy in the morning but the weather improved rapidly so that by the time we finished the race the sun was shining.
The route was pretty nice with some exciting descents and plenty of scenic bits. I went ok until around 70 km where my legs fell to pieces. I rode very slowly up the last major climb and then worked with three guys on the descent until we hit another hill and they rode away. I rode slowly to the finish line. At some point a guy caught me up on a hill and we took turns for a bit until his legs died. I seem to die on the hills first and still be able to zoom on the flat for a bit. Maybe fatness is the problem. Anyway, I rode leisurely to the finish line so as not to drop the other guy.
I felt much much better crossing the line compared with last year. I guess it was much hotter last time but I remember sitting there feeling awful. The stage was longer this year at 120 km.
Anyway, the most annoying about the day was that although I was in start block B on the starter list yesterday evening when I got to the start line I had mysteriously appeared on the C list.
The race started with a 10 km neutralised section. Usually the racing starts at the base of the first hill and I go zoom. This year this might have happened too but nobody told the motorcyclists at the front of block C and they held us back for a long long time. When they finally let us go we were well behind and I had to first pass the back of the B bunch and then more and more people to get a not so good bunch. Really pretty annoying but despite this my legs would have still given in at 70km. I might have had a faster time though.
Anyway, tomorrow according to the evening’s starter list I am to start in B so let’s see what happens.
This year the first stage of the Tour de Kaernten was the 40km time trial around the Ossiacher See. The conditions were pretty ideal. It was slightly overcast but warm enough that I didn’t need arm warmers. I started off fast and got slower. Despite zooming along at 41 km/h in the first few minutes I was overtaken by a couple of guys who made me look like I was riding backwards.
There seemed to be a continuous head wind and my tyres seemed to be flat but I think it was my legs. At least on the last section back from Feldkirchen I could ride a bit faster again. I had an average speed of around 36km/h. Slow… but I didn’t expect anything else so it was an ok ride.
I did the TT in about 1 hour 4 minutes and the winner blitzed it in 50 minutes. Speedy.
Above: Me crossing the finish line (photo Leonie).
Tour de Kaernten 2017 Stage 1 40 km Time Trial Time: 1:04:17 Dst: 39.75 km Avg: ?? km/h Max: ?? km/h Ascent: 150 m
Because six days of racing wasn’t going to be enough… No that’s not it… Because I’m easily persuaded… Perhaps… Because a criterium sounded like it might be fun and I haven’t ridden one for ages… Possibly…
Anyway, we are back in Kaernten for the Tour de Kaernten starting tomorrow. We are camping at our normal spot at the Ossiacher See. Yesterday we did a tiny bit of sport climbing near the Slovenian border and this morning we did a fun via ferrata route back in the same area.
Around 8 pm I rode the Feldkirchen Altstadt criterium in… yes… the old town of Feldkirchen. It was suprisingly quite fun. I got lapped at the end of the 10th lap so didn’t finish but so did a bunch of people. The course consisted of 1 km laps and there were 15 of them. At least there would have been 15 of them had I rode faster.
Still, it was quite nice flying through the old town. There was a descent from the start line, some corners, a flat bit, and then an ascent on cobble stones, a few more corners and the line again. Repeat x 15. Unless you get lapped in which case it’s game over.
Now come the excuses. I wanted to film the race so was faffing with my go pro when the race started as the nasty thing wouldn’t switch. This put me in a bad place by half way through the first lap until I got the thing started. I didn’t really get back on to a wheel from the first guys. Funny though, my mouth went completely dry and my heart went from 110 to 195ish in no time.
Another guy sat on my wheel for a while but when someone passed us he jumped on the other wheel and I rode alone until getting lapped. This didn’t really help my average speed which ended up at 35 km/h. Not bad I suppose since I didn’t have a bunch but not really comparably to the first stage of the tour de vineyards in 2005 where I had an average speed of 42.1 km/h after 60km, although with bunch support and no nasty corners where you had to brake hard. This criterium had one just before the cobblestones which required a bit of braking.
Anyway, quite fun. Perhaps I should do some more.
Above: Apparently I was working hard. Must be one of the shortest races I’ve ever done…