Morne in Spain Update #4

18 June, Segura: I had quite good sensations on a difficult circuit with a steepish 2km climb in. Only problem is that the injury in my left leg kept me from being able to push 100%. It was rainy and the road surface was pretty bad. That caused nerves to be on edge and a crash was certain. Sure enough in the first 5km of the race it happened and I was down too. Fortunately on a hill. I also got a bit lost in team talk before the race and ended up going flat out up the finish hill for the line 10km too early only to find out that we had another climb that starts in 200m. I lost contact there, after my max effort for the wrong finish, with the front selection of 10 riders. Almost made it back on the descend, but just before I could get back on the finish hill the attacks and sprints started. Ended up 11th. Which isn’t bad considering all the factors of the day.
 
24 June, Tolosa:
My injury is feeling better, it still hurts when I go flat out, but a lot less. It was another rainy day in a beautiful town, but light humid rain. The course had 3 short and steep climbs of about 2km and another of about 5km. All in the last 40km of the race. I felt good and my team took control of the race, for me, on the 2nd to last climb (the 5km climb). It pulled the race apart. Attacks followed from the favourites and I responded quite well. On the final climb there were a lot of attacks from the favourite, a Colombian rider, but once again I could respond. At the top it was 5km to go and 10 or so riders left. Coming into the technical finish, the eventual winner from Caja Rural Amateur team, got a 10-15m gap before the final corner 200m from the line. I sprinted flat out and closed in very quickly, but ran out of road. Ended 2nd. It was great. My first podium. Really happy. I was still not 100%, but the sensations are really good. The team was fantastic in helping me and almost happier than me afterwards. My prize for 2nd? A beautiful trophy…. and Artisan Biscuits. And lots of them. Unfortunately I’m watching my weight. But one or two were enjoyed by me in the afternoon.
 
Life off the bike:
It’s been difficult for my morale the last 2 weeks as I’ve been struggling with a very sharp pain in my left groin when I stand or push hard. The 2 days after Volta a Castellon it was so bad that I couldn’t walk. Luckily, thanks to an always helping and great friend Monica Guajardo, I started going to an Osteopath (her cousin, Amaya). The improvements have been great and I’m happy with the progress. Hopefully shortly I’ll be back to 100. Monica also helped lift my morale when it was a bit low by taking me to Pamplona for pizza at Restaurante Tagliatelle. Their pizza was phenomenal. The Guajardo family has been nothing but great towards me. They feel like my family.
 
Story of the week:
As if I needed more confidence and motivation after my 2nd the previous day in Tolosa, there I was, sitting in a coffee shop drinking coffee and chatting with Adriano Malori (Movistar) and Xabier Zandio (Sky). My normal day training partners are Mikel (a vet cyclist here in Alsasua. Great person and always wants to help where he can) and Pablo Urtasun (Funvic Soul Cycles, former Eusktel Euskadi rider).
 
I’m learning so much from these guys and every day I can’t believe I get to meet and train with them.
 
Thanks again to Lange Sports, Telkom, LeadOUT, Velofutur, Fundacion Euskadi – edp and all the sponsors in SA and here for this wonderful experience.
 
I am racing again on 2 July & 3 July.
 
Till next time
Agur