Why did I have to try so hard?
twhitby | Blog, Cycling Plus | 13/09/2013 12:28pm
Through over exuberant riding and the cruel hand of fate, I’ve ended up in the fastest group at the HotChillee Alpine Challenge, says Cycling Plus Magazine’s Richard Schofield…
This morning dawned damp bordering on torrential. The 186 riders in this year’s HotChillee Alpine Challenge
were ushered out at 8am, as ever lead by the excellent ride captains, into a gloomy wet morning in the French Alps. Our route took us on a steady 10km warm-up climb to the start of our time trial.
Riders were asked to self-seed, with the slower riders heading off first. Through a bit of messing about (toilet stop, wardrobe adjustments to suit the conditions and the anticipated gargantuan effort) I managed to find myself where I really didn’t want to be, at the back with the most competitive riders including last year’s Prologue winner and cycling prodigy Felix Barker. As we waited to be sent on our way the rain really started again, leaving me regretting my disrobing decision.
Predictably we went off quickly. I held second wheel for about the time it took for my heart rate to archive a new maximum BPM – about six seconds – but as the group sorted itself out I at least had some fast wheels to follow. Having been warned that the first 6km were tough and the last two and a bit brutal, I tried to pace myself but the lure of slower riders sucked me into ill-advised bursts of speed.
The net result was that when the groups were announced at the top of the climb I was placed firmly in with the forty riders making up group one, including cycling legends Maurizio Fondriest and Stephen Roche, not to mention a gaggle of lesser known but equally slim-hipped hard men.
The rest of the day remained wet, which meant freezing, sketchy descents, and steamy climbs. I spent the day clinging on towards the back, occasionally glimpsing the superstars over the heads of the riders in front. But the atmosphere in the group one gruppeto was great and tomorrow is promising to be dry, with a hint of sunshine and not too hot. Perfect weather for sucking the wheel of the odd ex-world champion.
Richard Schofield, Cycling Plus Magazine
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