Giro del Trentino UCI 2.HC
This was a race that I really wanted to have a good crack at, and my preparation with some training in Girona and Verona was good! However, this quickly disappeared from day one with the team time trial. There’s no excuses here. I made a mistake and dropped myself around a corner going too fast. Lachie Norris also came down, and I needed a bike change from the TT bike back to the road bike, and spent the remaining TT trying to hold onto Norris’ wheel.
In a moment like this, lots of things go through your mind. You have adrenaline, so the pain is temporarily gone. You think about what just happened, what will happen after you cross the finish line, and how this will effect the rest of tour. You think all of these things, but it temporarily subsides because you still need to finish the TTT and limit losses. You are angry, frustrated and disappointed, but the damage is done, and the quicker you can move forward, the better.
Plenty of the world’s best riders have dropped themselves going too fast around corners, and I won’t be the last person, that’s a guarantee. Travis Meyer is one of the more experienced and senior guys on the team with a history of world tour and national titles, racing from a very young age. He gave me some good advice and let me see the bigger picture. Of course I feel bad, and was particularly apologetic to teammates who still only finished 50 seconds behind the winning team. I think we had a good chance for a good TTT, and that’s my fault.
The crash wounds waking up the next day weren’t too bad. I’ve definitely felt worse after a crash, but I’ve also felt better too! The bigger concern was that I woke up with signs of a cold. I doubt this was directly correlated with the crash, since the timing was far too close, and upon thinking about it more, there were probably more subtle signs during the previous day of becoming sick. This combination was always going to be disastrous heading into the remaining three stages of 220, 204 and 160kms respectively (the most difficult being the 160km with 3000 metres of climbing).
I managed to give the first 220km road stage a pretty good crack (coming in 26th and within 40 seconds of the stage winner.) I had good position coming into the final climb, sitting at about 10th wheel, but didn’t have the legs to provide the effort needed for a really good result. My max HR only hit 193, which, for those of you who intimately know my regular training metrics, is quite low for a max effort. I feel like this was all my fighting body had in its reserve before breaking down, and things only became worse for stage 3. During this stage, I found myself getting dropped sitting at about 175bpm up a 20km climb which is well below my regular threshold heart rate. I tried to ride harder, but my body just wouldn’t respond.
In stage 4, Vincenzo Nibali went up the road in a breakaway, and as a result Team Sky had to set a really hard tempo to contain his advantage with their main man leading the overall race. This made the day difficult for everyone, and so those who were already struggling didn’t have much chance. I managed the first couple of climbs and did a little bit of work to bring back a split which helped Gavin Mannion get back into the main peloton, but besides this my day ended early and I finished the Giro del Trentino with a DNF next to my name. It was disappointing, but given the circumstances, I am not overly worried. (It would be more of a concern if I didn’t crash, didn’t get sick, and still had a bad tour.)
That’s about everything I can talk about from the actual racing. So I’ll now move to the more enjoyable aspect of the week, which was Italy. The countryside of Trentino is really incredible, and we were fortunate enough to be treated to perfect weather for the entirety of the race. (I can image things would get nasty very quickly in those mountains.) Half of the team had also come from straight from racing in Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, where they copped rain every day and a severe hail storm. So that was nice. We were also staying in some nice hotels nestled in the mountains with views overlooking snow-capped peaks. The race also ventured into the Austrian borders, which gave a sense of what the Tour of Austria will entail later in the season. There’s just nothing that comes close in Australia…
Keeping me occupied away from racing, it’s been really fun playing turn-based chess against my brother back home. (With a 5 day/move limit)… And at least I am winning at that. My dad also created an account, but he somehow fails to make moves within the 5 day limit, and often loses by forfeit. (If anybody else was interested, we play online using chess.com – a website/app – and my username is baacanty if you want to challenge me!)
My main job now is to recover, and rebuild for the next little block of racing. I’ve got a week back in Girona for rest and recovery before flying out again for my next few races. My mission during this time is to attempt to make some rice cakes for training. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve always been just a little bit too lazy to attempt it. Discussions with colleagues have been about peanut butter, coconut and chocolate rice cakes. They sound delicious, but I’ll be the one cooking so who knows how they’ll end up! I’ve also received Foundation Tax Course materials from Pitcher Partners for some extra reading during down time, so that I can keep chipping away in that area.
In signing off, I’d like to mention that I think one of the best things coming away from Giro del Trentino with a poor performance is that it has left me more motivated than ever to knuckle down with training and make sure I come back better and stronger for the next races. I know you can’t always go well all the time at races and many things outside your control can have a significant impact on your performance. Lots of the time it’s about how we deal with these situations that define who we are, and I know that having the right attitude will always take you a very long way.
Hasta pronto y mucho gracias,