Brabantse Pijl UCI 1.HC
Well, Brabantse Pijl is done and dusted, and I can say I’ve raced a Belgium classic. I won’t get into too much detail regarding the results, because we didn’t really have anything to speak of. Instead, it was a good learning experience for myself and the team. I believe from every race it’s important to absorb what happens, learn from it, and improve next time.
At the start of the day we knew we were in for a tough day. These teams race these style of races frequently, and are either peaking from the ending of the Belgium classics, or preparing for the Ardennes. So I think it’s fair to say we jumped in the deep end for this race. That’s not really an excuse, and we need to improve on this next time. But hopefully we can take this experience and use it for the next race
It was my first time I’ve raced on cobbles, and I must say the very first thing that popped into my mind was Paris-Roubaix. We only had really short sections of climbs that were cobbled, but it was enough for me to appreciate just how difficult it would be. I’m not very heavy and it’s difficult to get traction, therefore lots of power output is lost somewhere other than forward momentum on the bike.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t in the best position coming into some of these climbs, but things quickly became far worse once I went backwards after hitting these cobbles. Over the top, things are strung out in a very long line, and all you can do is sit in the line and prey things stay together. Sure enough there are splits, and initially these keep coming back. But eventually it doesn’t, and then your race is over. Even when things do come back, you’ve had to use significantly more energy than if you were near the front, so things become exponentially harder. You recover less, and then when the peloton bunches up again, you only have a brief moment to find yourself in good position for the next climb.
I decided to finish the race, whilst many others just pulled the pin. I’ve got a few days before Trentino, so didn’t worry too much about spending more time riding to the finish. I know it doesn’t matter, especially in a one day race if you’ve done your job or you’re no longer in the race, but I really hate having a DNF next to your name. This mindset might change after I do more races, but I figure if we’ve been riding for nearly five hours, why not roll around for the last 20 minutes to the finish?
Although nothing was really expected from me at Brabanste Pijl, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad about my performance. My objectives were to gain experience, and learn from them. It’s hard to know if I achieved that. I guess it takes time!
Next up is the Giro del Trentino; a very tough 4 day tour in Italy which includes lots of big climbs! I am looking forward to this one!! I’m currently in Verona for a few days there before the tour starts on the 19th. I’ve heard great things about Verona.. and the last two days training has helped highlight why! Tonight I’m going to stroll into town to find a nice pizza (I’ve been recommended a place by my AirBnB host, who’re amazing!)
Thanks for reading!