Tour de Kaernten 2022–Stage 6

Today was the last stage of the 2022 Tour de Kärnten. It was short and steep, a 16km hill climb time trial up the alpine road to the mountain Dobratsch. I’ve done it before. I rolled to the start line with Michael and Dana. We started in groups of 30 at five minute intervals. My legs felt pretty tired but I wasn’t too displeased with my performance and managed to get away from most riders in my group. Michael came flying past about 3/4 of the way to the top having started in the faster group behind me. The temperature dropped as we climbed and the top 3rd of the course was misty and damp.

The finish line of Stage 6 (Tour de Kaernten 2022)

Above: Quite a contrast to the previous days. The hill time trial up Dobratsch ended in mist and low temperatures.

Posing at the hill TT finish line (Tour de Kaernten 2022)

Above: The cold didn’t stop me posing.

Tour de Kärnten – Stage 6 – Mountain Time Trial Dobratsch

Gun time: 01:09:53.9  Dst: 16 km Avg: 13.8 km/h Max: 53.4km/h Ascent: 1150 m

Rank: 141 Category: M40+ Category Rank: 18

Splits 0-5km: 00:20:08.1 5-11km: 00:27:16.2 11-16km: 00:22:29.6

Overall results:

Rank: 142 Category Rank: 18/28 Total time: 16:07:42.2

Tour de Kärnten – Stage 5 – Drau Runde

What could have been a miserable stage turned into a very enjoyable one. At the start line, I had the feeling I’d been carbo loading on salad. In reality, I’d been eating pasta and salad but somehow I felt like I was missing a few calories. I guess the last two days have been fast stages though so perhaps this had something to do with it.

We started in the same direction as yesterday but unlike yesterday, for reasons unknown to me, it was neutralised for the first 8km. I thought this would be a good thing given the pace off the start line yesterday. It was definitely slower, however, there was the usual stop-start as the bunch stretched and compressed behind the lead car. My head wasn’t in it to begin with and the fun factor wasn’t there. I felt like I was too tired to navigate the many wheels in front and behind me. But then I pulled myself out of my calorie deficit using the power of haribo. Surprisingly, with just a few jubes I seemed to come right.

The stage was fairly flat again with a couple of bigger climbs. My new Edge 530 tells me when climbs are coming and shows me a profile, which is very helpful. A climb was coming up and thinking I would slide off the back I decided to at least slide through the group giving myself more of a chance to hold on. The haribo had worked it’s magic though and instead of sliding back through the bunch I stuck with them and moved forward. Weird.

I found myself riding with Dana and Michael later who’d been in the next bunch up the road. Our bunch had caught them up. There wasn’t much time to chat before we hit the next climb. Again I managed to stick with the group ending up near the front over the couple of kilometres. I was at my limit and I could hear Dana working hard too. Michael was nowhere to be seen. After the climb came winding descents that were both fun and sometimes slightly sketchy.

We continued at a fast pace, which perhaps is one of the reasons it’s hard to remember the exact course. Finally, a right hand turn and we crossed a bridge close to the final climb. Suddenly Michael was there again, having somehow caught up to the group through some sort of witchcraft, probably. Michael sprinted up the road to check whether the “Tiroler” women up in front where close enough for Dana to be able to make a difference on general classification. Apparently, not.

Going into the climb it was just the three of us plus Dani who I’d ridden with on the first day and somewhat lead out in the sprint yesterday. It was decided that we weren’t in a hurry given the GC situation and we chatted as we rode up the hill. Well, mostly Dana and Dani. I concentrated on not having my legs blow out.

No finish sprint and we all rolled over the finish line pretty close together. A surprisingly enjoyable stage given the salad carbo loading feeling in the morning.

Cris at the finish of Stage 5 (Tour de Kaernten 2022)

Above: It was a good stage and my legs behaved themselves.

Cyclists finishing Stage 5 (Tour de Kaernten 2022)

Above: The stage ended with a hill climb that was more pleasant than Magdalensberg.

Tour de Kärnten – Stage 5 – Drau Runde

Gun time: 02:51:34.8  Dst: 89 km Avg: 31.0 km/h Max: 83.1 km/h Ascent: 1516 m

Rank: 129 Category: M40+ Category Rank: 15

Splits 0-28km: 00:50:07.9 28-59km: 01:04:21.0 59-89km: 00:57:05.9

Tour de Kärnten 2022 – Stage 4 – Gailtal Runde

Stage 4 and I was hoping it wouldn’t be as intense as yesterday. Instead of turning left we took a right. The trick was that the race wasn’t neutralised to begin with. Straight from bed time to race tempo. I think this is the first time in the history of the tour that the start hasn’t been neutralised, aside from the time trials, of course.

There were no motorbikes in between the start blocks, it was just one big mass start. The race starts, the pace increases immediately, heart rate goes up. The usual pass as many people as possible to stay with the bunch. It was more intense than yesterday. I had an average of 43km/h into the race. I stayed with the first bunch to begin with getting across gaps that formed.

The group was huge and was strung out in single file being driven by a more compact bunch at the front. I remember the course from the past, or at least a variation of it. A right hand turn and the bunch was strung out again on a descent going into a sharp left and a climb up a ramp onto one of the main roads. Last time I rode this I thought we’d gone the wrong way and ended up on a road we shouldn’t have. A gap ahead was forming but Michael (who I met during the tour) slowly closed it with Dana (his partner) close behind.

The road continued with sweeping turns and the occasional much sharper narrower one causing the bunch to come almost to a halt and required silly amounts of leg work to get back to race speed. We headed up a gentle climb. Another gap formed and I could see it wasn’t going to be closed so I tried to bridge it but got stuck out in the middle as the bunch rode away. Half a minute later, Michael and Dana and another came past. Dana shouted at me to jump on and Michael worked hard to catch the group ahead. We came to another rise and I took a turn at the front. At absolute maximum effort, we slowly inched our way back onto the bunch. I used a race motorbike as a stepping stone to in the final metres, hoping for a draft before leaping to the back of the bunch. Clearly, this was not sustainable racing.

We stuck with the group for a bit and I moved up a little which was helpful for the next climb. I survived that one too but then was ejected out the back on the following one. I rode alone for perhaps five minutes before a group with Thomas, Dana and Michael caught me up. It wasn’t long until we were climbing again. A big group of perhaps 30 or 40 caught us up. I had already cooked my legs and could only hang on just at the back as the group split on the hill. It was a steep climb with much ouch and sweat. I crawled up it with a few others including Dani who I’d ridden in a group with on the first stage. The descent was long. I ended up in a good group of about 8 people for the long ride down the valley. We worked well together, all taking turns at the front and it wasn’t long before the right hand turn and our last long 7 km climb to Bad Bleiberg.

I remember a previous Tour de Kärnten where I’d felt good and ridden away from the bunch. The opposite happened this time. Instead I rode my own pace and shortly before the top was caught by three others, Dani, another women, and a guy. I pulled at the front for a bit and then the guy had a go followed by Dani. The other woman was not keen to work, unsurprisingly, as we were only a few km from the finish. At about 300 m we sprinted, I had been out on the left but accelerated forward and moved right, which wasn’t great form. In any case, Dani caught my wheel and drafted me across the finish line.

Another good, leg destroyingly fun stage. After some food I rolled back to the Faaker See very slowly.

Another day of racing (Tour de Kaernten 2022)

Above: Another day of racing coming up.

Cris at the finish of Stage 4 in Bad Bleiberg (Tour de Kaernten 2022)

Above: The usual posing at the finish line.

Tour de Kärnten – Stage 4 – Gailtal Runde

Gun time: 02:54:59.7  Dst: 88 km Avg: 29.8 km/h Max: 77.7 km/h Ascent: 1533 m

Rank: 151 Category: M40+ Category Rank: 19

Splits 0-50km: 01:38:38.6 50-76km: 00:38:58.8 76-86km: 00:37:22.3