I opted for another varied course today as opposed to battling it out on more vertical slopes for kilometre after kilometre. This time it was a section of the 2006 World Championship course in Salzburg.
The first couple of kilometres are a little bit all over the place. The elevation below does not do the actual riding experience complete justice, as it’s a lot of up and down, just slight variations mind, but enough to prevent a good rhythm from establishing itself.
Soon enough, though, you’re getting a feel for the course and as soon as you’re settled into the first real climb it’s as if you’ve been there before. Which is of course what the Pros would be saying by the time they got to the twelfth and final lap of the gruelling course.
Twelve laps…that’s a bastard let me tell you, because just doing it just once at full pelt as I did today was exhausting. I completed the 22.2 km in a personal best for me of 34:34 with an average speed of 38.534 km/h. 2006 World Champion, Paolo Bettini, completed the full 12 laps in an average speed of 42.476 km/h in a time of 6:15:36. Had I managed to keep my pace up for the full twelve laps I would have finished in 6:53:52 which would have placed me well last, and rolling in some twenty minutes after Roman Bronis from Slovakia.
I remember the finish now. It was very close, as these things often are, and Erik Zabel mis-timed his sprint by a matter of seconds. He shot off like a rocket and Bettini managed to stick to his wheel. He then had enough spare power to surge past in the last 200 metres. What a mind fuck that has to be for the guy that comes in second. Whoa, can’t imagine it.