Tech, Tours and Tired Legs - Part 2
So how about there tour? I was in WCR 2, for the Elite Teams Tour Arava. 3 stages over 2 days. Which means high intensity over a short period. Fast recovery and sensible nutrition. We all gathered in a house just south of the Dead Sea. We had 12 riders split over two teams, and some individuals riding the Masters tour too. It was a wonderful family atmosphere. Helping each other with last minute technical and mechanical tweaks and hosing down our bikes after a day in the desert. We ate together. Actually with this amount of riding we ate constantly. We talked about stuff, not just about riding bikes, but about buying bikes, different bikes, aerodynamics on bikes, bike equipment and bike mechanics. And of course Watts. We had a few guests, from other teams who joined us to fill up the numbers. They are friends on and off the bike and easily slotted in to our fun and friendly atmosphere. At the same time as we were riding there was a UCI Women's Race. Which mean our old team mate Esther was back in Israel, a founding WCR team member and now European Pro. It was great to see her again and super fun to ride with her on the way back from the end of the race after stage 3.
Stage 1 TTT We were disadvantaged from the start, 2 Riders on TT bikes, me on aero road bike, with aero wheels and TT bars and an aero helmet. All three of us in skinsuits. And one rider who was a last minute replacement, despite not having slept well and having been on too many international flights in 1 week, on a road bike. We were missing two riders due to weather. This was going to be a hard 19Km into a headwind. We had to finish with 3 and within 9KM we had blown our 4th man. Nevertheless we worked well together. I was really happy with that. We all were. No surprise that we were last, but under better conditions, ie with 6 riders we could have done so much better. Diabetes wise I was fine, it was short but I still had to pay attention, due to the effort. I had two problems. No pockets on the skinsuit so nowhere to put the phone which I need to transmit my blood sugar levels to the Garmin, and nowhere to put the gels. So the phone went down my back and the gels were sticking out of the bottom of my shorts.
Stage 2 - Hill Climb up Scorpions Pass Recovered well from the earlier race and was on the start line with the whole peloton, extremely nervous that I would get dropped from the start. There is a 10KM rise from the start, its not steep but most definitely uphill. From there there is a fast descent and then the main climb for 5km to the finish. It's a hard steep climb and I had no chance of finishing with the much younger and most definitely lighter guys. My goal: stay with the group until the bottom of the climb. This was not easy. Riders were trying to break away, all the time, I had to put in massive efforts to go with surges, but I knew that if I did it would calm down and I would be able to hold on. I made it to the descent and we started flying down. I looked down and I saw that I needed a gel. But it was was too scary to take one. I waited too long. Literally as we slowed to the bottom of the climb I reached for my gel, as I was about to take it I hit a small gravel section and put both hands on the bars, now I had gel on my hands and gloves and brake hoods. I took the remainder of the gel and by the time I had the rest of the riders were gone. The climb starts steep and I had slowed way too much to hold on to the back. So I found my rhythm and started to ride. Its a long and lonely climb on days like this. And there I was the last man. But goal achieved, I had stuck with the peloton until the climb. New goal, do not get caught by the Masters Race that started 5 mins after us. So I rode hard. I put in a massive effort. I set my new personal record on every segment of the climb, I set a new 20 minute power record too. I could not have done any better. And the bonus, it turned out I wasn't even the last man.
Stage 3 - 75KM Road Race This was going to be a real test of the diabetes management, I was eating breakfast at 530am and having to figure out what I would need for the day. I went with a massive amount of fat and protein for slow release and some bread to keep it balanced. That way I could have insulin and and plenty of it, as we had 2 hours before the start. The first 22Km were slightly downhill and we had a tail wind. The peloton stayed together at an average of 50KMpH. There were many surges but at that speed its too hard to stay away. We turned the corner and we were back on the long drag we did the previous day. This time I made a mental note to take the gel before the descent if I needed it. The pace was high and used all I learned the previous day to stay with the group. But this time a break established with two of WCR 1's riders in it. So I got on the front, looked at my power and let the break go. When the teams who missed the break came to the front I let them do the work and sat just behind them to watch for breaks. We made the descent and I was still with the main pack. This time I took my gel even though I could have probably waited 15 mins or so. I hit the bottom of the climb in a better position this time as a result and ended up riding the 'autobus'. This is where a group of riders ride in together at an easier pace, making sure they still finish with a reasonable time but without killing themselves. We rode the climb, 5 us together, Iro, Dror and I from WCR and 2 others. Then once we finished the climb we picked up the pace a bit in the downhill and flatter section between the climbs. The second climb we again climbed together at fast pace. I set a new PR on that too, which after all that effort was very impressive. A few more KMs and we were done. My sugars were heading a little low towards the end but stable. I was really well balanced all day. I gave the race 100% and I feel really great for having finished the way I did.
We really loved the gravel on the way back.
For more on diabetes technology see part 1
For the broadcast of the race see here, check out from minute 40. Where I am leading the peloton.