Thursday, March 17, 2011
This is my blog for the past two days. Didn't have internet yesterday to post it up.
For the past few days I’ve been experiencing a part of the world that I’ve never been to, Croatia. So far, it has had its ups and downs. The weather has been horrid, but the food more than makes up for it. It’s hard to swallow that I gave up Austin weather (75 and sunny) for Belgian weather (50 and sunny) for Italian weather (50 and raining) for Croatian weather (50, pouring rain, and windy). We went out to ride the prologue course and within 10 minutes of riding we were absolutely soaked to the bone. The TT course is 5.8 km starting with about a two kilometer descent. After bottoming out in the valley we do a two kilometer ascent, and then it starts to flatten out, but still gaining elevation, to the finish. The major decision to make was whether to use a time trial bike or not. I decided to use the TT bike. We finished out the day back at the hotel before another great dinner. The food here is probably the best I’ve ever had at a race hotel. It’s a massive buffet with an insane variety of foods. This might be one of those stage races that you gain weight throughout the weekend.
Today was the official start of the season for me. My first race in Europe and first pro race. The name is the Istrian Spring Trophy and is a UCI ranked 2.2, not the highest ranked race but there are a few big names here. For the prologue I was stuck in between Tadej Valjavec (top 10 in the Giro last year, but later was suspended due to blood levels) and Michael Rasmussen. Kind of intimidating… I started the TT pretty tough on the downhill, but didn’t take too many risks. By the time I hit the climb I was ready to hammer. I put in a decent effort on the early parts of the climb, and progressively went harder and harder. I was hurting pretty bad by the top, but I slipped it back into the big ring and hammered the rest of the way to the finish. I crossed the finish line with the new best time of 8:53. I was extremely happy with that time, and stayed at the finish to watch rider after rider fall short of my time. Finally, last year’s winner crossed the line with a stunning 8:27. A blazing fast time for that short of a course. I was still ecstatic with second place in my first pro race. I stepped up on to the podium and received a blue jersey for God knows what. The rest of the team did awesome. We don’t have any results yet, but off of Marcello’s times I feel like no one was below the top 30. Tomorrow is our first road race with about a 150 km stage. The profile looks pretty hilly, but we have a strong team here and a lot of options. I’ll check back in later!