Canada/USA, July 7, 2006
Half the year has flown by and its time to put the feet up for two weeks. This is one break I really needed, mentally and physically.
It's been a while since I have ridden for myself, and as much as I enjoy it, it comes with a bit of stress. There's stress to get results, to stay up the front, and to not let your team mates down who have sacrificed their race for yours. Mentally, I needed to have a few days off the bike and refresh the head. Physically I was absolutely nailed. My legs had had a gutful and were on the downhill slide. Though, I fought through the bad legs with one last effort, in Tour de Beauce.
Tour de Beauce is one tour I had enjoyed in the past, back in 2002/03, and was keen to get back there. I did remember how hard it is but I also enjoyed the race last time I was there. I have been a lucky one though, riding the two years that the race was almost rain-free. Tour de Beauce, also known as 'Tour de rain', was once again good to me and we had pure dry weather. I was one happy lad.
I arrived in St Georges, 100 km from Quebec City keen for a good result but was unsure how the legs would pull up. I had just finished a 255 km race in Philly, on the Sunday and had two flights with no ride on the Monday. The first hour of the first stage was gunna hurt. My girlfriend Sophie was with me, out from Oz for a two week trip, and I was also keen to catch up with my good mate Harro. A few beers every night were in order to catch up on the past nine months.
The tour went okay for me, but not brilliant. I missed the two major breaks on the first two days and gave away more than a few minutes to the front rivals. So I was behind the eight ball from then on.
The third day was a hill top finish were I held my own, finishing ninth. In the TT the next day I once again held my own and even gained some time back on some riders in the top 10. Not bad for someone who has nightmares about TTs. In the afternoon, after the TT, I managed a fifth in the criterium, but was disappointed after being marked heavily coming into the final laps.
The last two days my legs were definitely feeling the season in them. I was not on my game and legs were screaming. Although I still had a go at moving into the top 10, but I wasn't go far with the GC settled and everybody watching everybody.
In the end I was happy enough, finishing in the money everyday and finishing 13th overall with what I thought was average form. I was happier to get a rest from racing after a full race schedule. Also, hats off to Austin King, who rode like an absolute diesel doing an awesome domestique job. The team together rode fantastic at Philly too and I was so impressed with the boys.
My bike went straight to Philly where I was racing next and I went to New York with Sophie for a five-day holiday. I was pretty pleased about that. Apart from doing the usual touristy stuff we got to a New York Mets game, a Broadway show, did a fair bit of shopping and had a lot of nice dinners. I really enjoyed both the Broadway show, The Producers, and had a ball at the Mets game. I also caught up with my mate Andy "Cush" Yee who was in NY at the same time for a few beers. He will be arriving in Nashville to kick around with me and Hop, later on today.
From New York, I then headed to Philly for two days before returning to Nashie after being on the road for a month. I did a local race for Ken Mills not far out of Philly. After five days off the race was a shock to the system.
I am now back in Nashie and will be back into light training tomorrow before getting some miles in before heading to the Tour Cascade in two weeks. I am looking forward to some interesting stories between Hop, Cush and I next time.