Normally, I use my ankle joints in an active way when I cycle. My calves are busy all the time and act as a 'boost' when I accelerate. Problem is that my right ankle still remembers me of my ride to Spezi. I can pedal, but without my usual 'mild ankling'. Can you race with that? Yes, sort of. I tried it yesterday on my favourite track, Trias The Hague, where I arrived after a 4 hour journey by train and Fuego. A cup of coffee was just what I needed.
With seven participants we had more than enough room on the track. I did my warm-up laps and inspected the track. There where a few small branches right on my apexes, which I removed. Within a few laps, my confidence was back and my cornering speeds rapidly grew. I needed that for the first thing scheduled, a single fast lap.
Attacking every corner, utterly concentrated, and struggling on the straight, this wasn't an easy lap. The head wind on the long straight made that the problem with the ankle was even bigger. Still, it was reasonably fast. Two seconds slower than last year, but fast enough to win with an average of just over 43kph.
The second thing on the list would take longer. The 45 minute criterium would also be slower. I kept up with the winner for a lap or two. After that, I found a pace that suited me, especially on the straights. Near the end a rider I'd lapped once began to push a little. Big fun! Now I had someone to race with. My corners where tidy again and I went a tiny little bit less slower on the straight. In the final lap I overtook him again and decided to leave him behind me. I did 37kph in the long corner in the middle of the track after that. Usually, that is 35kph. That 2 kph extra on the cyclometer surprised me half way that corner. I kept my cool and didn't run out of asphalt. That I finished 2nd doesn't say much. My avg. of 38.6 does show me that I won a lot in the bendy parts of the track. And that's nice.
Lets not talk much about the second criterium. I ran out of steam. My legs had to work in a different way today. The corners where fun though. I finished third in this race, that's midfield as this race had five people on the starting grid. Right after I'd decided to take it easy, but keep riding proper corners, I missed one. Luckily, there was a run-off area and I could continue without falling.
In the end, everybody received a price. Cookies of various kinds where our reward. I said goodbye to everyone and rode back to the train station. At Schiphol I ate some good food from Toko Togo. You don't feel like burgers or fries after a race, you want something light, Asian. After Amersfoort I had a conversation with another 'bentrider. The train was more than full, but the atmosphere was relaxed. I was home just before 22:00h. (the results of the races are not online, yet)
A quick shower, more food, and a DVD. My oldest brother had recorded the Monaco GP for me. Staying up 'till one past midnight was worth it.
Like in almost every race, I'd brought my camera and edited a video with the material it made. On of the things it shows how good rear suspension can be on a racer.
Niels made photos, have a look here.