I returned to Spain after the British Champs and Beaumont GP (my blog here), to rejoin my team mates in Opel Ibaigane.
The weather here has been scorching all month, a 44 degree training ride the other day was an extreme. But the humidity in my races has been the biggest challenge, With the hot air from the south, the rivers and forests, the mixture can be an absolute killer, racing in it at times. Although now I feel I am acclimatising better.
|Village roll out in the Antzuola U23 race|
My first weeks were dodgy as a certain family member passed me on a stomach and kidney virus which meant I could barely eat for a whole week. I lost a bad few kilos and when I did feel better to race the next week end, it was a waste of time. The legs were so depleted I could barely ride 20 mins of the race. Difference a week makes when I felt strong doing the 90 mile Premier Calendar.
However, by mid July my appetite came back and I regained strength and my results picked up.
I was able to attack in the Soplana race which is a race I have done the past two years, and get 16th. I didn't quite have the strength for the steep uphill finish but it was a confidence booster that I could attack and climb into the lead groups.
|On the attack in the Soplana RR|
|At the front of pack as the pace steps up in one of the many climbs in the Beasain Classic|
|Nearing the top of the last mountain climb of the Antzuola RR|
|High pace in the Soplana RR|
My most recent race in Cos, Cantabria, the Trofeo Santiago, a Spanish federation elite race, proved that I am now reaching my best from of the season. I was 10th in a strong field of many top ex pros and strong teams.
I made it into a small select lead group as we climbed the second big mountain of the day reaching 700 metres (2,300ft). Team Lizarte were pressing on to get their man Dayer Quintana, younger brother of Movistar's Nairo, the win. The climbing was hot and long but the descents were just as challenging. Some of the most technical we have come across, sharp corners with plenty of mud and gravel thrown in. I got down them safely but a few of my team mates behind came off nasty down them.
|On the first climb mid way through the Cos Elite race in Cantabria|
|The final big climb, Quintana and the leaders full gas|
|Flat out trying to get bridge back up to them, really warm!|
On the final climb of the day, our small group disintegrated and everyone had to go their own pace.
The race started at 4pm in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day, but it got cooler as race and the terrain got tougher so you were still needing lots of bottles. The team cars were miles back behind groups of riders but luckily the commisaires gave us a few small bottles of water to keep us going. Over the top and on the descent I was with three other riders and the leading few were just up the road.
We had a short run in back into the finish in Cos however it felt like it had kept dragging on and on. There was a big chase group gathering behind so I had to press on.
Two of the elite riders broke clear and I beat the other rider in the sprint to claim a top ten. Much better result and shows good progression. Looking forward to the next race!
More pics of the Cos race here.
More pics of the Cos race here.
I will be racing here for the next two months. There is a lot of good races on at this time of year, sometimes three in a week. I also have the four day Vuelta Valencia in early September which will be good.
Thanks for reading
|On the attack in Soplana|
|Flat circuits before hitting the mountains in the Cos race|
|Start in Soplana|
|Waiting to Start in Soplana|
|Hurting in a Hill time trial in Altzo|
|Training, highest mountain in the Basque Country in the distance|
|Back living in the village of Zeanuri|
|Traveling back from a race|
|Unpacking at team HQ in Igorre|