May 8, 2005 – Today was our first race in Europe – the Lincoln Grand Prix in Britain. On the tough circuit, the main difficulty of which is the cobbled climb, the racing was full on from the start. On the climb you could avoid the cobbles by riding in the gutter which was paved with flagstones. For the gear heads out there: we rode 39×26 and I actually used it most laps. There really wasn’t anywhere to hide on the circuit – there was wind to deal with, lots of attacking and of course the fight each lap, which came in seemingly rapid succcession as the racing was so fast, for positioning into the climb.
This morning it was a crapshoot as to how the weather was going to play out. They were calling for showers, heavy at times, and all around there were grey clouds some of which were raining. The day could go either way – cold and rainy or sunny and warm. In the end it was a mix of the two, rain falling on the top of the course and sun shining on the bottom; I just didn’t know what to wear ending up settling for a vest and arm warmers.
The team missed the big break of the day on the second lap, which was a bummer. This year the racing was exactly the opposite of what we saw last time we were here when the race kept splitting and coming back together. If it hadn’t been for the 14 guys up the road (think tongue in cheek here) I would have ridden an almost perfect race, having made all the right splits and counter attacks to finish with the front five guys out of the pack… if only.
Can’t say that I’m dissapointed though as I rode to the maximum of my ability. On the final climb to the finish I was completely knackered, as the English would say, and was on the verge of cramping: I had pushed myself to the limit. When I took a pee after the race it smelt of ammonia, an indication that I had dug deeply into my protein reserves which I could definitely feel in the legs.
Tomorrow we get on the ferry and head over to Belgium. Between this tough day and whatever racing we rustle up in Belgium I’m pretty sure the guys will be fighting fit come the RAS.