The drive up was all in good spirits until Hamburg where our Crafter broke down. On the left lane of a 4 lane highway. Luckily we managed to maneuver it onto the right side without anyone getting hurt. And there we stood waiting...
Long story short the Crafter got towed, we got a rental car and continued our drive to Malmö, where we had 4 hours of sleep before we had to get up again to not miss the ferry going to Bornholm. Less than ideal conditions for a race but we still had pretty much all day to recover.
The race was held on a undulating course and the wind was blowing. Some teams had as many as 12 riders at the start, big disadvantage for us since we only had 6.
The break went up the road and we had no one in it. Since my shape was anything but good, I left the thinking to my teammates and offered to work whenever they told me.
The command to work came surprisingly soon and although I didn't think it was a good idea to spend riders that early I did what was asked of me; bring back the break so someone could jump over.
2 laps later Frederik and myself had closed the gap to less than 20 seconds and blew up. Job done usually. However no one jumped, the gap grew out again, then the attack came (at a very bad moment as a downhill with a head wind followed) and he managed to cross over to the break.
Half a lap later everyone was back together and we had 3 guys left in the race of which 2, including myself, were completely spent. I was mad. That was a mistake we weren't supposed to make.
A lap later only 2 were left. My mood didn't get better.
Somehow I managed to hold on through all the crosswinds and attacks and was the last man standing from the team with 4 of the smaller laps to go. However at some point there's nothing you can do as a single rider anymore, when there are 30 riders left, and 3 teams are still represented by +-8 riders.
So I cruised to the finish line on my own in a mediocre 33rd.
I still had a slight moment of shock when I wanted to brake late for a corner and realized my brake pads were worn down so bad that the front brake was almost non-existent. Happens when you take the wrong brake pads. Good thing I was on my own at that point.
|Discussing the plan of action after an unfortunate break-down|
|A game of Mini Golf to calm the nerves|
After a troublesome week with some pain in my left knee the journey continued to Cologne, where the famous German classic "Rund um Köln" took place. The knee got better towards the weekend so I was hoping it'd be okay and I could build on my form again for the "Oberösterreichrundfahrt" which would follow soon after.
Many dark clouds surrounded us as we took the start to tackle 200 km around the North-East of Cologne.
I tried a few times to jump into the break of the day, but unfortunately always got caught again and before long my legs blew up and I had to be satisfied with being in the peloton for the rest of the day.
The further the race dragged on, the worse I felt. Not my legs, but my head and my knee. I was scared the injury would cost me another few weeks to recover from, a few more races that I would miss and more scrambling for good form. It's been way too bad this year already.
As we came to the feed zone after 130 km I pulled the plug. It wasn't worth it riding on, putting more pressure on the knee and risking further injury.
Good decision; after I was brought back to the finish by car, I couldn't use my left leg at all and pedaled back to the car using just the right leg.
The day after I did what I should've done 3 weeks before, when the knee problems came up for the first time. Called approximately 20 physiotherapists around Darmstadt until I reached one who had a spot open for the next day and scheduled a bike setup with the guys from IQ athletik.
The latter was very successful as the IQ athletik crew, helpful and friendly as ever, found a few things that might've caused the problem, changed them and off I went with fresh motivation and hope for the upcoming "Oberösterreichrundfahrt" (Tour of Upper Austria).
|Going backwards already|
|Bike fitting starts with the shoes. The IQ athletik guys helpful as ever|