The last few weeks have been reasonably uneventful.
We had a heat wave which was wonderful, but which only lasted a week.
The team did a few races in Spain (I was resting) and won a stage in Vuelta as Asturias, which was excellent. I once did that race and it was probably the hardest I ever did. The weather seems to change from valley to valley and the place is very mountainous.
I’ve been racing a few national races (1.1.2) and I find these races hard, much harder than the international races. They are technical, hilly and the amateurs are super combative. I enjoy them all the same.
A couple of years ago I’d be back and forth to France and Spain at this time of year. I remember racing Tour du Gironde, Boucles de la Mayenne and epic classics like Rjoca and Tro Bro Leon.
I used not to think much of it and even resented the journey up (we’d go by car). But I remember those big adventures and those races and really miss doing them.
On of the races we did this weekend was “Classica do Alpendre” and I swear this classic lost nothing to Tro Bro Leon.
It was formidably difficult and passed over all sorts of roads and surfaces. I was in the lead break, for most of the race until me and my team mate Diogo Nunes were told to attack.
What ensued was a 10 and against two battle which went on for about 50km up hill and down dale. We were actually told to wait after that.
Later in the race when things were much calmer I was hit suddenly by a bout of vomiting and had to give up. Turns out I was sick with something -it took a couple of days to pass.
In terms of the future, I’m doing the Nationals, which are always great craic. Cycling in the UK has taken of in a way which is truly impressive, hopefully it keeps on growing! I’m looking forward to visiting York.
I’ve started training three under-23’s which is strange for me.
It feels like just yesterday I was in their shoes! I had a fantastic time as an amateur and hope they enjoy it too. I remember being flabbergasted when someone put a check in my hand as an under-23 after my first race here in Portugal.
I was thinking “Money? For cycling? This is fantastic!”. I’m not sure what it’s like now, but when I was in the UK one paid to go racing, one was not paid to race.
Who could blame me for wanting to stay? I had only wanted to race the bike as an aid to my training as triathlete, but that changed when I did my first proper bike race.
It’s tough being an amateur. Unfortunately a lot of what a cyclist is, or what a cyclist become is decided by other people, with no quantitative assessments of potential being made, but rather qualitative judgment, that might come down to personality, nationality, where one has gone to school etc.
The amateurs I’m helping don’t seem to see it now, but sport is a way of earning a living and earning a living takes precedence over most other factors.