The 2nd part of our adventures in china kicked of today with The Tour of China 2. The race was not due to begin until the 18th however yesterday afternoon race organisers decided that 4 days between the races was to much rest and figured it would be a great idea to hold a 6.2km prologue today to kick things of before we have another day off tomorrow to drive 600km and continue the race as planned on the 18th from where ever it is we end up after the rd trip tomorrow!
To be honest i am glad they did through in this extra day as 6.2km of a dead flat circuit and 1 corner, i.e. a turn around so we could go back the way we went out, was about as perfect a stage as possible for me. Perfect in as much as it was not techniqual and also the effort is about as close as it is ever going to be to do the 2km rowing ergometer test i used to love so much from my days in the national rowing team. I have done so many of these efforts that at one time in my youth, dad would make me complete this test every 2nd day for about 2 years!! surfice to say i was pretty confident i would do a solid ride as possible, i was pretty much on auto pilot. This experience however proved to be my downfall as on the rowing machine the fear is always going out to hard and blowing up. When you run out of power on a rowing machine you litterally stop counting down the meters as there is no other element than yourself to keep the machine cranking. For this reason i had over the years of many failed perfromances on the machine developed a full proof strategy in my final years in rowing which rarely saw me fail to attain a PB.
This approach was starting pretty solid for about 100m and pulling 1:28 per 500m splits for this time before i would gradually let the pace rise to my cruising speed of 1:33-1:34 by the time i had rowed 300m. from there i would hold this split easily at first before it would start to get harder to maintain in the final 1000m. From here i would really grit my teeth and fight to hold more 1:33's the 1:34's until i got to the final 300m where i would start to go hell for leather counting it down in 10 stroke increments with the aim of again pulling 1:28's in the final 100m. If all goes to the script as it usually did i would finish up with 6:11-6:12 and be either at the top or very close to it depending on how hard my mate mighty mike mc bryde decided pull on the handle.
Back to today and this full proof plan i felt like i was armed with all the knowledge and perfect plan i could have. Again this proved to be a backfire. I had decided that i could average between 460-480 watts depending on how well my legs felt and needed to be at this pace after my initial 10second accelleration up to speed. This was error 1!! after 10seconds i was only at 51kmph which ended up being merely 1kmph slower than i averaged for the entire effort. Once in my crove hovering around 450 watts i felt great and wanted to push hard but kept saying hold back hold back!! mistake number 2!! at the turnaround at halfway i was barely puffing and thought perfect as i had decided from 3km i would start to build gradually to the line. This was mistake 3, i built nice and gradually very carefull not to push to hard and explode and i did this. With 1km to go i was touching on 480-500 watts and still feeling fresh as i began to wind to the line and finished with a perfect average power as predicted bang on 475 watts. Where i had gone horibly wrong was not thinking like a cyclist and realising it is much easier to push a little harder and reach a higher speed where it is then easy to maintain with less power by tapping out a rythm to hold the speed. It is much had to increase speed with a steady power and you simply get bogged on where you have accellerated to. So while i did exactly as planned i also lost the race bace 3seconds to stefan schumacher and finished in 2nd place again, just like in tour of japan prologue behind my team mate will clark. I am sertain that had i have used a cycling brain as apposed to my useless rowing one when racing a bike, i could have ridden my bike much quicker. Anyway i did not and basically playing it safe meant i was never racing to win but simply not to lose. In the end i was the only loser!!
Fortunately we have an individual Time Trial of 18kn on the second last day so i have the chance to make a mends and this time race like a man and see what happens. Will certainly approach the stage with the attitude that it is better to fly and die than never fly at all!! Will see what happens on saturday!
Speed ave: 49.5kmph
Watts Ave/Max: 478/890watts
Heart Rate Ave/Max: 188/201
Cadance Ave: 100