Saturday, 11 June 2011

TransGermany Day 2 - what goes up...

So, in spite of the apparent respite offered by the more gentle route profile as compared with yesterday’s “Queen” stage, today was definitely tougher! I slept okay, but the town bells in Pfronten woke me at 3am, and the organisers very kindly organised for them to be tolled continuously at 6am, just in case we’d forgotten we had a race to ride! The day broke very much in the spirit of the previous one, damp and overcast. I said goodbye to almost all of my luggage at 7am (apart from a well-travelled pot of chammy cream that hitched a ride in my back pocket for the duration of the stage), having elected to ride with arm and knee-warmers again, and stumbled down to breakfast. My stomach was (is!) a bit iffy, so I didn’t manage to force down quite as much heavy rye bread as Hamish, but it was actually quite nice to start the stage not feeling too full of stodge.

We got to the start line in the centre of Pfronten at 8am, and joined the assembled riders near the front of the B-pen, where our respective finishes of 150th and 180th had us gridded. After much standing around in more German spray, we were given a briefing on the stage ahead, which included a tantalising warning about the tricky and technical nature of the first descent, and before we knew it we were off the line to the dulcet tones of AC-DC’s “Highway to Hell”. The timing of the organisers was almost impeccable, as the clock ticked over to 9am, the first repeat of the chorus started! The fastest amateurs and pros in the A-group got a nice head start, whilst we sat at the start watching them go, ready to chase after them when our turn came. I made sure I got a decent kick off the line in anticipation of the first descent, and was rewarded with a manageably small number of technically inept riders! The descent itself was rather reminiscent of the Peak District on a wet day, complete with a muddy, rooty section that provided a momentary resting-place for four stricken riders!

The remainder of the stage is something of a blur – I remember that the mist lifted and the sun came out, and that I never really got into my stride – i’m pretty sure I lost some time on my early running , but it was more than made up for by the “freeride” descent in Lermoos. I managed to stay with a working group early on which saved me from losing too much time, but everyone is racing hard around me, even for 200th place, making every little loss of legs or enthusiasm costly!

Hamish came in around half an hour behind today, after going off-course and then having to call the emergency recovery crew to a woman who had crashed and landed on her head. At the time, he hadn’t a clue where he was, but thankfully the alpine walkers were better prepared with maps! I think I would have placed 12th or 13th in the women’s field, which i’m pleased with given how awful I felt for most of the day. My knees are feeling it, however; in the past two days they have done more riding than they would normally see in a week, so they are entitled to complain a little. As an example of how much the weather improved, I am now a little sunburned, and sporting two-tone arms which go white – pink – brown; I am an accidental Neapolitan! Aside from that, I don’t feel too bad, and have just reminded myself that there’s a gelateria on the main street...

No comments:

Post a Comment