September 4, 2019 at 7:02 pm #2024072
Very informative write up Paul – a seriously respectable achievement , and good luck with the Revolve….
September 3, 2019 at 9:04 pm #2024069
Well done Paul, what a great effort and write-up! Enjoy some rest now.
September 3, 2019 at 8:02 pm #2024068
Tony Le VeyParticipant
Massive chapeau Paul!!
September 3, 2019 at 10:14 am #2024066
Having unexpectedly qualified for the 2019 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Poznan, Poland, I found myself on a plan to Berlin at 8:40 am on Friday 30th August. I know, Berlin is in Germany, not Poland. I then took a train from Berlin to Poznan, arriving at my hotel at around 17:40. Little did I know that the hotel was literally 50 metres from the Event Village and 200 metres from the start line. Good result I thought.
Anyway, I picked up my bike from the courier company that I used (also in the same hotel I was staying in). Another result 🙂
Saturday I just relaxed. The weather was hot and sunny, so decided to go to the Event village to register. I also ended up watching some very scary looking women compete in a Roller Derby. Not sure I understand the rules. Just a loot of jostling, pushing, pulling and falling over. There appeared to be more referees than competitors! No course reccy for me. I like to be surprised in these events. also I am a bit superstitious to the point of not wanting to jinx the bike. It was working perfectly when I picked it up. I didn’t want to take it out and have something happen on the reccy that I would not be able to fix. Much rather that happened during the race.
Saturday evening was a nice relaxing occasion. Nice simple dinner in the hotel (menu only had 5 mains on it). The food was extremely good. Then I went back to my room read a book for a while, fuelled up on Galaxy Minstrels. Just a small bag 🙂
Sunday morning and I’ve had breakfast and am all ready for the race. 2.5 litres of fluids and lots of gels and flapjack. I made my way to the starting pen for my age group which wasn’t supposed be open until about 30 mins before we were due to go off. I thought I’d get there a bit earlier, only to find that I was still at the back of the group, along with about 30 other GB guys. Looking at the results, there were 220 entries in my age group, 77 from GB.
9:28 and we’re off. It starts at a very quick pace. The road is long straight and wide and I am slowly moving up the field, although it is a bit strung out! Someone goes down with no one around them. Very strange I thought, especially as it was on a straight, smooth surfaced stretch of road.
The first 10 miles took 21:23 minutes (avg 28.3 mph), The next 10 miles took 23:07 minutes, making them my two fastest 10 mile TT efforts (although assisted). Avg speed for the 20 miles was 27 mph. It was around this point that the group at the front broke away. Not sure how many there were in that group. However, the group I was in was a very good and well controlled one. We were fast and not expending all of our energy trying to get back onto the main group. Typically, not many people wanted to contribute on the front. There were maybe 30 in the group and only 8 of us were prepared to work on the front (5 GB, 1 ESP, 1 ITL, 1 FIN) the rest were along for the ride. Bastards!
We gradually caught up with small and medium groups that had been shed out of the back of the their groups. Some from earlier age groups, others from my age group. Some of them joined our group, the others drifted back.
At times it seemed like a Sunday club run, however, due to the size of the groupo we were still averaging good speeds overall. There were a number of sections where the road surface felt you you were riding the cobbles in Paris Roubaix. Shockingly bad. Bottles where jumping off bikes which only added to the excitement. I actually ran over one with my back wheel!
This was pretty much how the majority of the race went. Staying with the group, picking off smaller groups that we cam across, doing a turn on the front. I did have two moments that concerned me. the first was at the second drinks station. I managed to get a bottle of blue energy drink, but lost touch with the group I was with. I had to work really hard to get back onto the back, only to find that it was actually the back, it was a couple of others who had been dropped. So I dug in again until I finally caught the back of the group. Phew!
After taking about 5 minutes to recover I could see that the group was getting a bit strung out so I started to move up the outside to the front. Just as well, as about 1 to 2 miles later there was an almighty crack, bang and crash. About twenty bikes involved a pile up just behind me. That was close.
The second concerning point for me was at 83 miles. we had just come around a tightish right hand corner and everyone was accelerating hard. I jumped out of my saddle to tays with them and cramped in my right hamstring. Shit. I went straight to the back of the group and started to lose touch. After all the work I had done and management of efforts I was gutted. I couldn’t loosen the hamstring up in the usual ways, so I thought I’d see if I could ride through it by pushing harder. Weirdly this worked and I managed to get back with the group.
With 5 miles to go a small group of about 6 lumped off the front of my group and pulled away. No one chased them. With 3 miles to go I found myself on the front of the group so I decided I would make a break for it and try to bridge to the other group. After about 2 minutes I realised I had pulled about 8 other riders with me. We had bridged the gap, so I slowed to make someone else pull for a bit, which happened. I then decided to jump again to bridge to the other group, which we did. The last mile was kinda fun as there must have 30 plus riders in a group getting ready for a sprint finish (don’t know why we do it, but we do). It was nice and clean, and unfortunately I was able to muster too good an effort, however, there were 24 of us that finished within 5 seconds of each other. I was 5th in that group.
I actually finished 101 out of the 220, which was within my top 50% target. I also finished 8th out of the 77 GB entries, so really pleased with that.
The temperature ranged from 24 degrees at the start to 31 degrees at the finish, so it was a very hot ride. I drank about 3 litres of fluids throughout the ride, and at least the same amount in the evening 🙂
At the finish I bumped into Adam (GS Avanti) and we got some water and crashed in the shade. I felt like I was going to die. I had to get back to the room to lay down and get something sweet inside me.
In all it was great ride and although the numbers on strava don’t make it look as though it was that tough, my body tells me otherwise.
Now for the Revolve24 6 hour duo with Sam.
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