As September went by, it was time for my last Spanish race of the season… and it was a big one! The Volta Galicia is a very prestigious 5-day stage race based in Noia, in the far north-west region of Spain. Not only that, but as well as a team time trial, the race would take in 4 days of extreme mountain stages, racing against some of the best Spanish elite sub23 teams in the business.
As you have most likely figured out, I am not a climber, and not only that, but I have been racing a very long season since february, with high caliber elite U23 races almost every weekend since then, so my body is beginning to slow and tire as we head towards the season end. Nevertheless, I was ready for the challenge, and I had been chosen for the squad after my performance in the last race.
But I am going to say right now that this race was a huge battle for the whole team, but especially for our rider Carlos who suffered a terrible accident whilst out training on day 2 of the tour. He went off a bridge on his bike and fell into the river below and was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to hospital in Santiago, where it was discovered that he had a fractured pelvis. This is very serious, but it was a miracle that it wasn’t more serious. When the team headed back to Madrid after the tour, Carlos had to stay in hospital for a further two weeks. It is good to know that after two weeks, Carlos was transferred back to Madrid, where he will continue his rehabilitation and long recovery back to health and fitness, and I would like to wish him the very best for his recovery back to full health and fitness.
Our long journey from Madrid to the race in Noia took six hours, and it was during this journey that the team’s unfortunate luck and war of attrition began, when our team truck broke down in the middle of nowhere, and the team were forced to split just so that we could make it to the race in time for the sign on and the Team Time Trial (stage 1). Because only 5 of our riders could arrive there in time, this meant that we were fielding a team of only 5 compared to the other teams who were fielding 7 riders.
We were late for the TTT, but we completed it and commenced to stage two the following day, where after attempting to stay in touch on the multiple climbs, I finished in 107th position. But it was on stage 3 where I would have double punctures and abandon the race. The race director had neutralized the first 18km of the race due to the severe bad surface and pot holes in the road, with numerous riders puncturing during this period. My second puncture came on the climb at the end of the long neutral zone, and the head of the race was attacking as I punctured, so it was game over for me.
With all of the unfortunate circumstances and the seriousness of Carlos’s accident, the team were lucky to survive the 5 stages, just 2 of the riders completing the whole race. It was a crazy and chaotic end to our racing season, and it can only make us stronger as a team for the future. We have to take that away from it.
— Sol Warwick (@solwarwick) September 15, 2016