Thursday, 25 February 2016

ABR - The survival stage

It’s never going to be a good day when you’re on the first climb at 15km and your mantra is “just get through it”. There wasn’t even a suggestion of racing today from either of us. Not that we’d said that, we just knew. Not that either of us felt bad or couldn’t have raced, somehow, we just didn’t want to, it was all about getting to the end.

The trails were what has now become the norm – steep uphills and miles of swoopy singletrack. I got shouted at by a Spanish guy at one point for jumping a queue to get through a gate. How dare he! Doesn’t he know the British invented queuing etiquette?!

At Feed Zone 2 Sally told me she’d caught the leading pair and they’d darted off in a panic, they were three minutes ahead now. We both just shrugged. With 20km to go (again!) we caught them up and the conversation went along the lines of: “It’s them.” “Aw, really?!” “Yup.” “I’m not playing, I’m not doing it.” “Me neither.” “I’m stopping to take some photos.” “Good idea.” And that’s what we did, it was a lovely day with a lovely view.

At feed zone 3 I had some Power Bar Power Shot cubes and clearly the sugar rush was enough to make me go a bit loopy for 5 minutes. I had a very entertaining conversation with myself while giving a running commentary on the course. I think the week of exertion might finally be getting to me.

The last 10km was the same as yesterday and we were glad we hadn’t put the effort in to chase. When faced with the option of chasing hard and busting our backsides to come second again, or chilling out, taking some photos and enjoying ourselves to still get second, the latter option was by far the best choice. It is a holiday after all and today was filled which much witty banter and laughter. (And as it turns out, we were only six minutes behind them at the end.) Andalucia Bike Race stage 5 results are here.

So as a quick recap before the final day: Stage 1 – 5th/last after Sally had a big crash and we lost about 20 minutes. Stage 2 – 3rd having not had a great day but moved into 3rd overall. Stage 3 – 2nd after a sprint finish, still 3rd overall. Stage 4 – 2nd again after a 20km chase for first, moved into 2nd overall. Stage 5 – 2nd again, not really racing today, 2nd overall and a comfortable lead over 3rd. Overall standings after Stage 5 of ABR 2016 are here.

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