The 3 hour race started with a short delay caused by a rider showing up too late. That gave me the time to re-attach my water sack. I was feeling better than on Saturday, but 3 hours of riding at quite some speed still didn't sound appealing. Anyway, I got going and settled for 39kph or so, riding the whole track in 5th gear.
That however was to hard to keep doing. After 3/4 of an hour, and my speed began to dip and variate. Not sure what to do, I rode behind Ellen for a while, than chased a faster group. That again was to fast (should have known that) and I dropped back again. Now Ellen was too fast for me and I was really on my own. The 2nd hour was a struggle. Not going any faster than 33 and having a hard time staying focused. Heinz gave me some draft for a couple of laps. The crowd kept cheering, that helped as well. At 1:50 hour, I stopped to stretch and walk a bit. Those 8 minutes was just what I needed. It further killed my average, but after that, I could keep up with Gerold at 40kph.
I saw Emmy at the start/finish straight. Wilfred was cheering after he'd swum across the pond in the middle of the track. In the last 15 minutes, I somewhat felt strong again. Now Gerold got to ride in my slipstream. The last 3 laps of the races where the fastest. I sprinted along with a small fast group for a lap. With 16 seconds on the clock, I crossed the line. That meant I had to do 2 more laps,instead of one. 17 seconds later, would have meant 3 hours + 1 lap, the rule for a this criterium.
3 hours was long enough. After finishing, I walked around a bit, like a duck because of my racy shoes. My carbon Thivasca went back North with the van Dijken family. I'd pick that up on Tuesday. A shower, an ice cream, talking with my parents who'd been volunteering this afternoon, and wandering around. Time to eat a meal I'd brought from home. It only needed heating up, tasted good and was nutritious. The instant tomato soup was very welcome on a hot day like this.
By now, most people had left the event. A group of less than 20 would leave a day later, making for a relaxed and entertaining evening. We had tea and hot chocolate. I could make water hot, Maaike had the other ingredients. More people joined in, including Fards, so we spoke English. Bas had a bag of chips, everybody had stories to tell.
Even though she'd been here all weekend, Maaike had not yet ridden on the 5km track. I said that, since we have access to the toilets, the track is also reachable for us, no extra fence to stop us. So, around 11, a small group had a late evening ride around the track, o so scenic. That was the 1st time I rode my Fuego since Friday. Again, like so many times before, it proved to be my favourite. Yes it's slower than Thivasca on a track like this, but it suits me so nice, handles like a charm and still goes pretty well ;-)
We chatted 'till 1 past midnight and looked at the stars. Satellites past side by side, plains came blinking towards Schiphol airport.
Monday morning, time to pack up and head for home. A weekend of CV and a trailer behind me slowed me down. I and 2 other Huneliggers took a scenic and slightly longer route home. It all had been a little too much for the legs. Still, it was amazing to see how relatively fast you can still go with a fast bike. And everything outside the racing had made this weekend into a success. That rainy Saturday is now almost forgotten.
260km on the Fuego, with trailer, 140 with bike on it.
180km or so on Thivasca.
both are clean again.
I now have 4 'bents against a wall in my room.
my photos on Picasa