Back home in Cape Town – the concept of having to drive more than 1 hour to get to a race offended me. If was as if I had an imaginary boundary further than which no one day event was good enough… Oh how I was spoilt. Once move to Korea later and I’m driving 6 hours – literally across the entire country – for a 78 km road race. If I only knew then what I know now.
“3 loops of 26km, including one longer climb not too long after the start. The climb is not too steep, but is long enough to make the peloton break up early in the race. Decent roads and no real tricky sections to worry about.”
This is how previous riders described the route – after the required strava stalking of previous strong riders I realised that I would have to put out ~400w up the climb to stay with these skinny homesick angel climbers. Thank fully as it turned out “only 350w” was required – and it turns out I am a better descender so I am proud to say that I was able to stay with the lead group for most of the race! 🙂
I really enjoyed the pace – averaging above 42km/h on the flats and ~ 2- 25 km/h up the hills. I realise that my indoor training has been a tremendous help but I need longer rides – as i flagged in the last 8 kms of the race – conceding 2 minutes to the lead pack and dropping down, down
To 78th place.
I will lick my wounds and come back fighting next month.
So last race I got talking to a team mate – Yohan (I didn’t mess with him) and he told me about this Le Tape Tour by TDF. On the surface, it sounded like something that would be written into the TDF winners contract – “public appearances” at these races around the world. To his credit, he endured it really well – and we Koreans are know for a selfie or two… Running the numbers they had 3000 entrants at $90 a pop. not a bad days work, considering the monster sponsors of Samsung Gear and Lotte too.
So back to Yohan – he gave 2 specific instructions for registration:
Make sure you mention our team name “TSR” because a team of 5 will win tickets to next years TDF.
When choosing your average speed (ie self seeding) select >35km/h – that way you will start with Froomy and the Korean National cycling team (a.k.a his bodyguards)
That being done I waited for the goody bag. It arrived and it was good. Sunblock good enough to use on my kids, an evoc bottle and a $50 voucher for Lotte. WIN.
Blah blah, race prep, hydration, beetroot juice, sleep and fast forward to the start line.
Seeing only one prep tent at the start I decided to pop in to have a look around – Yep it was his tent. Dogma attached to his new Kickr (at least he has taste in trainers 😉 So did what was expected. Snapped away…
The race start was uneventful, Froome was a little better than the Velitas brothers with the Korean translator – or maybe he just had a better translator. But before we knew it BANG! and we are off…. I said we are off… super rolling start – I mean we hit 25 km/h after about 2 kms. I started thinking this will be a long 130kms. Oh how wrong I was.
Froome dropped something so his guards dropped back with him to pick it up, so I pulled ahead with the leading peleton. The pace quickly picked up averaging around 40 km/h – and despite my best wheel sucking, I took my turn off the front, and our group was overtaken by the Korean team and Froome – It was like we were standing still. Redline HR and tuck in for a train ride at around 50 km/h. Awesome, ill be home for lunch!
Things evened out a bit here and I got a good 2 minutes with Chris, (yep, first name now…) and thankfully, CycleTV caught all of it in HD glory – video below. No idea what they are saying, but I caught my name at the end…
We analysed the future of cycling and how investment houses are moving in (I’m looking at you pinarello!) and why he has a rhino on his bike. After that I pulled back and let the Korean team close him in. I hopped onto a train and we headed off. The rest of the race was pretty average – super cramps (I blame the beetroot juice!), dodging an ex team mate at 45km/h, insane KOM’s and equally insane descents. Through very tactical group riding I came in at 4:06. the winning time was 3:40.
Because the draw was only a couple hours later I settled into exploring the race village. The Bitelli rollers caught my attention. I hopped on and after a white lie “yes Ive ridden active rollers before” was off (well nearly, thankfully there were elastics that prevented me from being launched into the 12 year old rocking the rollers next to me – GRRRR.) Note to self – Rollers work better if your weight is on the back wheel, not the front.
Wow – What I like about my Kickr is that i can shut down, focus on the pain – repeat IWKMATTBYT and get through whatever workout or Zwift race Im doing. Not possible in these rollers. You have to be 100% attentive! and when the road goes up 10%, so do the rollers. And when you descend at 70 km/h, the fans crank up to 70 km/h. Super realistic, but I still feel like IDT and outdoor riding are different beasts. I train indoors to ride outdoors, and my focus on the IDT is simply pain and gain, not realism. An awesome experience absolutely, but I’ll keep my kickr thanks.
Queue disappointment stage left. It had the perfect recipe! Samsung Gear, VR, Oculus Rift, a 4D rollercoaster thing and mountain biking! Yep – There was a concept of a 4D experience where you “experienced” mountain biking in VR. I had 5 mins on it, but had to get off after 2 as was feeling too nauseous – Im not sure what it was but I couldnt take it. It reminded me of ninties disneyworld – “honey I shrunk the kids”.
With enough time killed I joined the team for the draw. no ticket to Paris, but I did win a new Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Whoop! However it doesn’t play well with apple, so right now its on ebay for a steal…
In conclusion I would say if ever you get the chance to do a Le Tape Tour, DO IT! over commit to your average speed and talk smack with the worlds best!