September 4, 2019 at 6:46 pm #2024071
Good informative write up Adam. – many thanks , so interesting to read. The journey there and ride itself sounds horrendous ! You did well to salvage a reasonable position at the end , considering the relentless high pace and more importantly , a puncture – so unlucky…Glad it was’nt me…..!!
September 3, 2019 at 11:15 am #2024067
Nice write up Adam. I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one who got caught out by the pens opening earlier than advertised.
September 3, 2019 at 7:19 am #2024065
Great write up and terrific effort Adam, sounds like a brilliant but intense day out
September 2, 2019 at 8:53 pm #2024064
Great write up Adam, and great achievement, well done. Really bad luck with the puncture, although didn’t seem to hold you up too much! Enjoy a few days of rest now!
September 2, 2019 at 7:20 pm #2024063
Thanks for the write up Adam, I feel enthralled but also tired just reading it. What an epic ride. Great job on the result and such a shame about the puncture.
September 2, 2019 at 6:07 pm #2024062
WORLD GRAN FONDO CHAMPIONSHIPS, POZNAN, POLAND 2019
Missing my flight was not the best start to the weekend!
Unfortunately on arriving at Liverpool Street Station I found that all trains to Stansted had been cancelled for the foreseeable future, not to worry, I had factored in buffer zones and so I jumped in a Uber which if takes the predicted hour to get to Stansted would leave me about an hour to play with (perfect, albeit an extra £80!) However that plan was short-lived as I spent 50 minutes on the M11 at Chigwell not moving, watching the second hand get closer and closer to my cut off…..
I arrived at Stansted 25 minutes before my flight took and off and with a sprint through security, reached the gate with 15 minutes to spare, to be told I wasn’t allowed on the plane as my suitcase was too big and it was to late to put it in the hold!
Onto plan B, which was??? No more flights from Stansted that day, and so a quick search showed there was a 5pm flight from Luton, so off I went via coach to Luton Airport arriving at 1pm for my 5pm flight! For those that have been to Luton AirPort you will know there really isn’t much going on, lucky I had my laptop and so got on with some work!
Fortunately there was to be no more disasters and I arrived in my hotel 9pm Polish time, the only godsend to all this was that I had sent my bike out the week earlier via Sherpr and so I wasn’t having to lug a bike box behind me…
After a good nights sleep I was up for a leisurely breakfast and start to the day with an arranged 10.30am recce ride organised by Sportive Tours (I chose to go with these guys and I have to say I was super impressed with them, they went above and beyond each day and I would highly recommend using them if you are thinking of any trips away!) The route was a the first and last parts of the 150km course and so we covered about 65Km at a steady 18mph, which I have to say felt more like 12mph when rolling in a 60 strong peloton of GB riders 😉 The rest of the day was just spent resting up and eating, followed by a trip over to the expo and a team briefing for the 70 or so riders that were with Sportive breaks. I have to say the briefing was brilliant and certainly eased the nerves for us first timers. It was led by Bryan Steel 4 time Olympian on the Track and now a successful Road Coach. Dinner and off to bed.
RACE DAY-World Gran Fondo Championships-150km, 40-44 year old age group
My start time was 9.15 and we were meeting at 8.15 to roll down to the start about 10 minutes away, which meant an alarm call for 6.15am and breakfast for 6.45am. On awaking you knew it was going to be a hot day, Dark Sky was already saying it was 23˚C at 6.30am with predicted temperatures reaching 32˚C by midday, this was going to make an already hard day even harder, who knew Poland got so hot 🙂
Race Pens opened 30 minutes before your race, meaning mine was open at 8.44, although on arrival at 8.30am I found myself already about 60-70 back from the front of the pen!!! That still put me in the front third of the 222 racing in my age group and as I was informed the night before the 40-44 age group is officially considered the toughest age group and regularly has some of the highest average speeds each year, oh joy 😉
The atmosphere was very relaxed on the whole with riders chatting and helping re-secure numbers etc whilst the commissaries were going round scanning bikes for hidden motors.
Whilst in the pen I got though 500ml of water from the spare bottle I had taken with me (sorry today was not a day for promoting single use plastics I’m afraid!!!) in preparation for the heat that lay ahead. I was carrying 2x 750ml on the bike and another 500ml in my back pocket. Team GB also had a refuel station at 103km for more water bottles and gels to be passed out en route.
With the minutes ticking down, I run through my strategy once more in my head, I know its going be ridiculously fast to start and dangerous so ease back a little no need to go all guns blazing from the gun, settle into a tempo and find a good group to work with. We get called to the line, and GO…..
The first 5km was incredible 220 guys flying down a dual carriage way at 55kph, I have never experienced anything like it, you couldn’t see anything you just had to hope the person in front of you had a good line and didn’t crash. The first 5km was literally a straight line into a sharp 90˚ sweeping right hand turn, which was where the first casualty went down, a fellow GB rider took the too quick and slid out taking down another 10 or so riders! The pace was relentless and for the first hour or so I averaged 50 KPH through narrow poor quality country lanes. It was as this point my strategy had clearly gone out the window and I had got caught up in the moment as I was in the top 30 or so riders and way out of my depth and so made the decision to drop back to the second group as this pace was not sustainable for me and I am so pleased I did. The first thing dropping back allowed me to do was recover (later when looking at my data, I spent 20 out of the first 60’ above 90% of MHR not where you want to be that early on!), sit on the back and find my rhythm again and so for the next 2 hours or so I sat in the group of about 20 riders, all working well together doing 2-3 min turns on the front each, which meant you only had a hand full of turns into the strong headwind!
The heat-32˚C- was taking it’s toll though and I was struggling getting enough fluid on and was so very grateful when the team GB feed station appeared at 103km, with a welcome hand holding a 750ml bottle and a gel for me to grab (oh to be a pro) at 40kph (having never collected a bottle like this before, I was just praying I didn’t stack it). With my final bottle on board, I pushed on and started to have to dig deep with 40kms to go it was now a war of attrition, there were no attacks, just people falling out the back one by one and I was determined not to be one of those. The KMs ticking down, only 30 left I was now counting down in blocks of 5 not 10 and I knew I was going to finish, until, all of a sudden my back wheel felt spongy , No I can’t have a puncture, surely not, then the inevitable “Mate you’ve got a flat” came from behind and I had to pull over (without taking down the rest of the group as I had been near the front). After a minute or so of sulking and swearing and debating whether to carry on, I got my s#*t together and changed the rear wheel fairly quickly (no rubber gloves needed!!). Back on the bike and I could see a group a few hundred meters in front and with 20km to go that was my goal get onto that group solo., and as I was hunting them down a young boy was on the side of the road outside his house with his hand in the air saying “high five high five” and I duly responded with a meeting of hands which made my day a gave the extra oomph to get back onto the group. The final 20km was horrible, it was a group of 15-20 riders and no one was willing or able to do any work and I found myself sharing the effort with a Swedish rider all the way to the line, we literally did 2 mins on 2 mins off and at one point we both pulled to the side and no one came through, so back on the front we went, at this point my legs were numb, all I could taste in my mouth was salt, every part of my body was screaming stop, yet we pushed on and finally I crossed the line to finish the hardest ride of my life!!!
Once over the line I found the water station and within 20’ had consumed 2.5 litres of water, had found a shaded grass area and collapsed (if anyone follows my Social Media, you will see my video 10 mins after the race where I can still barely speak). A gentle peddle back to the hotel and it was time for a few more pints of water, a few beers and some proper food.
The Race in Numbers:
Average Speed 38.1 KPH
Max Speed 59.2 KPH (remember this was a flat course)
Avg HR 156 bpm
Max 178 bpm
Avg Power 269w
Max Power 1372w
Moving Time 3h 55m 49
Official Time 4.04.11
Time to Change Puncture 8.28
Finish Position 166/222
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