Arguably one of the biggest amateur one day races in France was on Saturday: GP Plouay. It had been in the back of my mind for the past few months as a race to do well in and one that could suite my style. I imagined it was going to be quick, a battle of attrition, and then won by a move constructed from the perfect balance of tactical nous and aggression. I was pretty much right.
The first hour we averaged 44kph, and for those that don’t know Plouay is not a flat circuit. Mercifully the pace slowed after that… Just kidding, we averaged 43.5kph for the whole race! It was a constant conveyor belt of attacks and counter attacks, whilst poor, lost souls bombed out the back door at regular intervals.
The wrist is still feeling great after my crash.
I was getting distanced every time up the final climb for the second half of the race but through pure will alone was riding back on over the top. I was still in the front group and telling myself I was going to win, because that’s what you do when you’re a bike racer/insane. Sadly the final time up the climb I was shelled again and there was no respite in the final 4km to get back on. One day I’ll do a good ride in that race.
Imagining what could happen, before the race.
To yesterday, when I headed to Fougeres, a lovely medieval town on a hill, for another Elite National. It had eight laps up a steep, narrow finishing climb with some epic crowds, as well as various smatterings of cobbles and rolling roads. It was an awesome race to be in, a real hilly classic finish, but unfortunately for me it just came down to a slog for the last hour.
The break went and I rode myself into a solid chase group fifteen minutes later with two riders from Lille-Metropole continental team and four riders from Bic2000 DN1 team. I was pretty confident of getting a ride up to the front group but then, inexplicably, riders from these teams started attacking each other. All the impetus swiftly deserted us, as did the strongest riders of the group who headed off up the road on a wild goose chase, and then it was just a case of getting round.
An idea of the climb.
Eventually the group was whittled down to just four of us by two riders who chose to attack the group on every crest and rise – it was a very tiresome affair. I arrived at the finish, did a joke victory celebration for the crowds, as I was ten minutes behind the race, and then got rolled for 30th place. Oh dear me.
I’m going to try and end the season with a (good) bang, but my plan is top secret for now. Keep tuned to find out the masterplan soon! Salut mes amis.
Feeling dead behind the eyes.