Halle Ingooigem UCI 1.1
After spending a significant amount of time training in Boulder Colorado it was finally time to fly back to Europe and pin a number on for the one day race Halle Ingooigem in Belgium. With a little bit over 200km on mostly flat roads and a couple of cobble sections, it wasn’t really a race suited to my abilities, but it would be a good hit out before heading over to Austria a week later.
Time at altitude can do funny things, and it’s difficult to tell sometimes if it’s been beneficial. I think I worked alongside Stephen Lane closely to develop a training plan that would maximize my training efficiency spent at altitude, without doing too much and coming home feeling worse than when I arrived. Coming back from altitude and feeling worse is easy to do!
Nothing much happened in the race once the breakaway had established itself for the first couple of hours racing. The weather was pretty good for Belgium (not raining and little wind) so everything was reasonably relaxed in the peloton. Then we hit the cobble section, and some carnage took place. Off to the side of the cobbles was a single track of dirt, which nearly 100% of the peloton took instead of riding the cobbles, forcing the entire peloton into a single file.
I was in pretty ordinary position in this single file line, which stretched out a very long way. Fortunately I was actually sitting on Nacer Bouhanni’s wheel, the main sprinter for Team Cofidis who usually wins sprint stages in some of the Grand Tours. While Team Lotto were riding the front and forcing splits, the entire Cofidis team came back to ride for Bouhanni. It took a while, and the pace was uncomfortable, but eventually we made contact again with the front end of the race.
The good news was that my legs still felt pretty good, and we still had Will Clarke representing our team up the road in the breakaway. Not being a sprinter or a good lead-out man, the bad news was that there wasn’t much I could do from here until the finish. There were some survivors from the breakaway who ended up winning the race, with the main peloton finishing less than half a minute behind. Adam Phelan finished in 19th, and I came home in 23rd place.
Not too bad, but the real test will be in a weeks time when we line up at the Tour of Austria. Lot’s of my training in America has been focused towards this race, and I am very excited to see if spending time at altitude will pay off.
Spending a few days back in Girona, it was fantastic to see the weather had turned to summer, and temperatures were in the 30’s… Much warmer than when I first arrived in April, and much warmer than Belgium. The other thing I really enjoy staying in Girona is a good night sleep. The roller blinds in these apartments are amazing… it can be the middle of the day but put down the rollers, and everything becomes pitch black. I guess that’s for the Siesta. I could have sworn it was still the middle of the night when I awoke, but it was actually 11am!
My proceeding strava ride had the automated title “afternoon ride”, which is usually only seen for commutes home from work in the evenings.
I’m currently now in Austria with a couple of teammates and staff members to check out some of the main climbs in the upcoming Austria Tour, which starts this Saturday with a 700m prologue. Ouch!
As always thanks for reading,