Tour de Kärnten Stage 4 – 80 km road race

The day dawned with dubious looking weather. I went for my full lycra suit including feet warmers in preparation for a rainy ride. It was still dry when we left but not long into the ride it got a little damp. The first 8 km were neutralised, this time at a much more sensible pace.

The starting gun went off on a hill and the pace lifted immediately. I spent the next 20 minutes passing people and chasing with others. I ended up in a chase group behind a bigger bunch which we almost caught at the top of the major climb. Almost wasn’t quite enough though and I ended up riding with just two others for the majority of the rest of the ride after we descended slowly, first in mist, and then on the wet road to the valley.

My legs gave out on the final climb and I was passed by a good number of people. Nice stage despite the weather.

 

Nearing the final ascent on Stage 4 (Tour de Kärnten)

Above: I rode for some time with the ‘red team’ after descending with them from the misty summit of the previous climb.

Tour de Kärnten Stage 4 – Time: 02:41:03.8 (official) 03:00:01 (neutralised) Dst: 78.0 km Avg: 26.0km/h Max: 71.3km/h Ascent: 1889 m Place: 46 (overall men) 21 (open men)


Above: Strava was watching again.

Tour de Kärnten Stage 2 – 87 km road race

My alarm went off at 7 and I got ready for the second stage of the Tour de Kärnten. Today was an 87 km road race with 1000 m of climbing (or 1259 if you believe Strava). The first 13 km were neutralised although the "neutral" pace was at times over 50 km/h. As usual, I picked my favourite place in the bunch, i.e. at the back in prime dropping position. We reached the first hill and the bunch broke in three. I was in the back third and ended up riding with around 10 people to the finish line. The route was quite nice with good views of the green hills. The pace after we were dropped was very leisurely at first, but picked up again towards the end but the overall pace was still fairly low at around 35 km/h. The front bunch finished around 12 minutes up on us. My legs started cramping a bit as I tried to sprint over the last hill to the finish line. Best not too push too hard on day two I suppose. Nice race all-in-all.

Cris at the start line Stage 2 (Tour de Kärnten 2013)Sprinting to the finish line on Stage 2 (Tour de Kärnten 2013)

Above left: Stage 2 was an 87 km road race with around 1000 m of climbing. The weather was nice and warm and the scenery nice and green. I got dropped as the bunch split into three on the first hill at 30 km and rode with the third bunch to the finish. Above right: My legs did a bit of cramping on the last hill before the sprint which didn’t help my sprint but still I zoomed across the finish line with the bunch. There’s not much point sprinting for something like 50th place anyway.

Tour de Kärnten Stage 2: Time: 02:03:28.4 (race time), 02:28:59 (including neutralised section) Dst: 87 km Avg: 35 km/h Max: 77.4 km/h Ascent: 1259 m Place: 23/36 (open men), 49/103 (total men)


Above: Strava says stuff.

Engadin Radmarathon 2012

My second try at the Engadin Radmarathon in Zernez in Switzerland. I entered the short distance course again. At 97 km and 1500 vertical metres it’s comparable to Le Race but it gets all the climbing out of the way by the 50 km mark so overall it’s easier than Le Race. On Saturday I sold an arm and a leg to DB Bahn and after missing my first connection due to being rather disorganised, no surprise there, I headed to Switzerland around 1 pm after a delicious little bite to eat at Paradies in Freiburg. I camped in a camp ground near the start like last year.

Unlike last year I haven’t had any races to prepare me so I was feeling rather slow. I was also feeling rather tired from cycle touring in the heat in Mallorca a few days ago. Is that enough excuses?

It was rather cold as I got up on Sunday. I started in the first block this year and squeezed my bike in nearish the front. The race starts straight into a climb and I puffed my way up through the hills. Once we got to the tunnel and crossed the border into Italy I didn’t work as much as last year and spent more time sitting on. After the shuffling of bunches settled down we had grouped with the second bunch and could see the first bunch up the road a bit away from us. All was going ok until the climb up to the first pass then my old age, fatness, and unfitness worked against me. From the entire bunch I was the only one to drop off the back. Sad…

The front of the third bunch was just behind me when I arrived at the pass. I tried my best to put some more distance between me and them on the descent. I reached 92 km/h last year at this spot but this year I got stuck behind slow cars and slower cyclists holding up cars. Also the road was a little damp as the weather had been doing undesirable things. At the beginning of the next climb the third bunch caught up and people started riding past me like I was stationary. Or more like I was riding backwards. Very sad.

I guess the majority of the third bunch had passed me by the top of the pass. Still there were a few people scattered in front of me on the descent and I rode hard to catch up to one slightly larger group. Why does everybody sit up on descents like this? Maybe not everybody but it wasn’t too hard to pass people. I hit 94 km/h on the descent and had a dodgy moment as my back wheel hopped on a corner at 87 km/h.

We formed a good group and rode hard catching up to a group in front when they unfortunately (for them) had to stop at a red light. From there it was a reasonably paced ride to the finish line in drizzle. I crossed in a time of 2:51:30 (strangely my speedo said 2:50:53, which is a little odd, I guess 2:51:30 is gun time and my speedo shows riding time, my Graperide tactics didn’t pay off here…) placing 64th in the senior male rankings. This just goes to show how many speedy people did the long course. In the overall short course rankings I was 96.

Oh dear, I lost so many places because I had no power in my legs. I guess I’m slightly older, 2 kg-ish heavier, and this was the first race of the season. Still it’s no fun doing worse than the previous year.

It was cold and raining as I finished and I cowered in my tent for a while. Thankfully the weather improved after a couple of hours and I went and tried my hand at the Flüelapass . I bailed near the top and rode back down before catching the train back to Freiburg.

Camping in Zernez (Switzerland) resize Getting sorted the night before the race (Zernez, Switzerland) resize View up towards Flüelapass (Switzerland) resize

Above: Camping in Zernez before the race and a view from the road up to Flüelapass.

Engadin Radmarathon 2012 (short course) Time: 2:51:30 Dst: 97.82 km Avg: 34.35 km/h Max: 94.17 km/h Avg Cad: 80 Place: 64 category, 96 men overall

Ride up Fluelapass after race: Time: 01:51:54 Dst: 33.17 km Avg: 17.78 km/h Max: 70.44 km/h Avg Cad: 57