ITALY – SLOVENIA
Ride Stats: 171.7 miles – 12:37 Moving Time – 3:30 stopped 1,223 ft Elevation 13.6 mph avg
Bit of a lie in today caused by the disturbed wet night. On the road at 5am and heading for Verona. It was here that my intended route was just plain wrong. Not sure how I came to the conclusion that there was a road alongside the A4 but anyway I wanted to visit Verona and it was early enough to do so comfortably so to the centre we go. Beautifull it was too around the Piazza and Arena. A great Coffee and multiple Jam and Apricot filled pastry stop, with a good wash and we were ready for another big miles day.
It’s a shame the wind had other ideas, it increased all day and this was to be a battle I slowly lost. First though I was introduced to the life of TCR dot watchers as Tobias greeted me on his bike in Vicenza. He offered to show me the fastest way through the city, which I declined as we rode along following my route. As it was I had mapped exactly the route he would have taken but it was great to be reminded of the community out there excited by the racers passing by. He took photos of me on the move, and I stopped to get one back and chat more, of course the hat had to come out. He expressed that my Venice avoidance route should reap me dividends today, we will see.
The day wore on, for the first time it was a chore to be pedalling. I was feeling good, no tiredess, but I hate wind and got more and more frustrated at seeing that my speed was only 13mph on the flat compared to yesterdays 20’s. Eventually I deleted the speed data window from the map page of my Garmin and accepted I should not push myself, it was only going to end in tears. Many Facebook comments mentioned sore knees, it’s exactly the constant pedal forcing against the wind which would cause that, I settled back to my “no effort” spinning what ever the lowly forward progress.
With slow progress there was no time for excessive stops today, but the heat of the day again proved a killer and just past Treviso I hid in a McDonalds for over an hour. Much Coke, ice cream and chicken was consumed and annoyingly I could not sign up for the internet, so blew a fortune on data charges connecting with the world.
So I don’t recount the misery lets skip to the Slovenia border. I sat on the grass resting my now aching body eating stashed food when Team 190 went by. So with their speed maybe I had gained some ground how about the others. 27 – Henri van Winkoop was well into Slovenia. 137 – Andrej Zaman and 110 – Daniel Johansson were about an hour back with 126 – Felix Burkhardt further behind. I’m happy I had a good route there then.
I needed a hotel, for the first time I ached all over and the heat added to the discomfort. Crossing the border into Slovenia though it was all reset and the country opened out into small villages and no sign of any. A welcoming party at the border was strange, they waved the flag at me and cheered, later a car pulled along side offering encouragement and explained a local was just behind me. That would be 137 – Andrej Zaman then.
Looking at the profile there was no chance of anything appearing, I’d had enough I should have pushed on for another 30 miles but the big climb coming would kill me and only get colder. An inviting huge bus shelter sucked me in for another daylight stop. I made sure I ate well, plenty of Pistachio nuts for recovery. Unfortunately I could see riders pass by wiping out any advantage I’d gained, the wind had beaten me today.
Today Ashley Sharp was the strong one as he forged into the night well into Slovenia. Post ride tracker checking Team 190 had stuck to their guns and passed me at 4am then took the flat E70 valley; was this the break that would finally separate our paths.
Lessons learned: Don’t get sucked into racing, riding comfortably will get you there in the end.
The Party Line (187/day for Fri finish): Yesterdays buffer was needed as we drop to 199 average.
TCR Continued Day 7