Today was good. Today was fun.
The race started neutralised and had the same problems as usual on the first hill but unlike last year on this ascent I wasn’t feeling super frisky and didn’t overtake multiples bunches. My legs felt a bit sluggish but as the climb went on they felt a bit better, so that I thought I’d ride to the front of the bunch, and then I thought I’d ride a bit off the bunch, and then I thought I’d ride away. I caught up with a few stragglers at the end of the climb and we rode together. This was a bit silly as with a bigger bunch I could have conserved energy. It was silly but also quite fun, and it’s supposed to be fun.
After a bit I turned around and Veit from Casa Ciclista had bridged across. The bunch worked well with us all taking turns until I pushed a bit hard and we dropped half of the group. Ooops. We kept working just three of us until we caught another guy and the four of us worked well until the next big climb. We kept the bunch behind us away and the climb also went pretty well. I guess I could have ridden faster at the start of it but by the top I was going all out, which was nice. Still, Strava tells me I was 3 minutes faster on this climb in 2013 but I suppose the conditions were different and I think I had a motivational bunch that year.
It was another grey day and cold . The road was damp on the climb to Hochhindrl. I reached the summit with some stragglers from the bunch ahead and could see the big bunch that I had escaped from not far behind. I decided against stopping to put on my jacket and descended into mist. Visibility was extremely low, maybe 50m. I descended cautiously behind a few other guys slowing before the wet corners. We passed a guy who probably didn’t slow enough standing by the side of the road. The descent this year was on a smaller side road than the usual one we take with thick woods on each side. After a while we got out below the mist and a bit later the gradient flattened off.
I regrouped with a few and we had a slight downhill still so that we could power along. This was really really fun and reminded me why I like cycle racing. I took a couple of turns at the front but then looked behind and saw I’d dropped the rest of the group through the winding bends.
We headed back towards Feldkirchen, however, on the way the large bunch that we had got away from at the beginning of the race caught up.
The race was originally planned to finish in Ossiach but somehow the local authorities decided not to allow it and instead at the roundabout in Feldkirchen we headed off along another main road before taking smaller roads.
As we were cycling along a small road in the forest again I saw the 1000m-until-the-finish sign up ahead. A number of guys moved forward in the bunch including me as we began to climb a small hill.
I sat at the front of the bunch with a few people. Not ideal for sprinting as I was towing the bunch. Shortly before the finish three of us started sprinting. I couldn’t keep up with the others and another guy passed me too but I kept in front of the main bunch to cross the line.
A nice stage. I cruised back to the Ossiachersee for some lazing.
Tour de Kärnten 2019 Stage 3 Dach der Tour
Time: 02:59:02.3 Place: 180 Cat Place: 85