Yesterday was a crazy day. It just takes so many pieces to fall exactly in place in order to get away with such a breakaway win. It’s insane. Lucky doesn’t begin to describe it.
Unbelievable? Super human? Out of this world? Impossible? No. It just a combination of luck, hard work, team effort, the right parcour, the right day and a lot of suffering.
Here’s my play by play:
1. Get in the break. Not easy. Got lucky to be there, because there were several moves that went off the front and could have gone without me, but finally I got there.
2. Save energy. Oscar Clark helped me with that, while keeping the break going. Reminded me to stay hydrated and just chill.
3. The field underestimates us. They kept the break at around 3 – 3.5 minutes until just before the climb they let the gap grow to 5+(huge mistake)
4. Climbing at my own pace from the bottom. I didn’t care who would follow me, because I knew the bigger the gap over the top, the bigger the chance to succeed. No one followed. I was not happy. The bottom of the climb was far out (around 60k to go), but I knew the course, so I knew how hard it would be to chase.
5. I had almost 2 minutes on the chasers, but had lost more then 2 minutes to the field by the top of the climb. So here’s where my descending skills took control. Yeah, there were a couple of unplanned hiccups. By the time I got to the bottom of the final climb I had gained time on both the field and the chase.
6. Chase was around 2.5min behind, while the flied was more then 3. It was only 25km to go. Okay, maybe 30. But still. Not impossible. Especially with a very reduced field trying to catch me.
7. I took a play from my teammates O.Clarks book “Stay aero” (soon coming to DVDs, co author J.Rosskopf) and stayed as low as I could, plus I bet the chasers were not as aero.
8. From 30 till around 18/20km to go I didn’t lose much time, because we were going through town and tailwind was making it easy to keep a high speed.
9. Hitting the headwind. This was it. Now or never. I knew I had to get to the top of that long drag that ended with 7km to go and I might just make it stick. I was loosing time. Loosing speed. But Wherry was keeping me in check and motivating me with some well know sports quotes.
10. The last 2km. Think I lost like a minute there. At least I had enough time to do that though.
With that I just wanted you all to see how many factors are involved in such a bike race. A solo break can succeed only so rare. What made it even more special is that from the original break I was the only one to survive. That’s a great feeling. Why couldn’t I believe I had done that? Just because it had taken so much energy out of me and just because there had been so many puzzle pieces that had found their way to this exact day.
Thank you all for cheering me on and the post race messages. Even through the TV I felt the cheers, but think I won’t be able to respond to you all. Hope you understand. And a massive thank you goes out to our sponsors, who give us the best equipment in the race and post race (yeah, the Fleetwood RV is spectacular).