XIV Aiztondo Klasikoa

posted in: Races, Solyo | 0



Well, what a day! It was one of those days when everything wasn’t going as well as you planned…


The room was glowing in bright orange from the glorious sunrise. It was a perfect Saturday morning to do my stretching before eating breakfast. I gave myself plenty of time to get ready for the team meet up for the long drive to the race. So I did my stretching, and had a shower, I was feeling good. I opened the kitchen door, and when I entered the room, my face turned to sheer horror…


Maybe most of you don’t know, we’ve got a cat in the apartment. Her name is Sheila, an adorable little kitty, but frankly she can be annoying sometimes, as she can get in your way and she won’t leave you alone. I love her, no matter what, just like I love all cats, but enough talking about my love of cats, as what I am trying to say is that Sheila messed up my morning… like hell!


The night before, I had planned-out my breakfast and laid it on the table, including a carton of 1-litre of soya milk. Well the soya milk was all over the kitchen floor, literally covering the place, everywhere! And there was Shelia, purring away and happy to see me after spending her night in the ‘milk room’. She had to stay there where her litter tray and cat food is, and also the kitchen is the coldest room in the apartment, so we have to keep the door shut.


So I had to clean the kitchen up… with a bit of a large gasp!


As you can imagine, I didn’t have a good morning, although I did have a long quality sleep the night before. So after cleaning up, I rushed out of the apartment to meet my team-mate, who gave me a lift to the meeting point and the team van. Luckily he only lives 5 minutes away, but that still didn’t leave me enough time to arrive and greet my team with a fresh happy looking face!


The race was based in Valladolid, in the Basque country, near to the French border, and one of the most extraordinary places in Spain. The race distance was 137km, which was shorter than last week’s race, but there were 8 mountains. The hotel I was staying at was absolutely bang-on, it felt like I was sleeping in a spa.


At the start line of the race, despite the heavy rain shower, I was feeling good and raring to go. I was wearing the Sportful Hotpack No Rain Jacket just in case of more rain. Of course, during the first 40 kilometres before the main climb, there were big crashes, which I narrowly avoided. It was very intense, especially in the rain, as everyone was fighting to stay at the front. Eventually we reached the main climb, which lasted for about 12 minutes… at full gas!


I was in the middle of the peloton, near to the front section. The best place I’ve been for a climb in my Spanish racing. I was comfortably pedaling to stay with the peloton, trying not to lose any places. Halfway into the climb, and unexpectedly, a rider crashed in front of me, which ruined my rhythm and I had to slow down, almost to stand-still, in order to go around the fallen rider.


I kept my cool, not to lose anymore places… well actually, saying that, it was boiling-hot inside my rain jacket. The rain had stopped and the temperature was rising. But I remained calm. The top of any mountain is always the hardest part of the climb, so I was out of the saddle, giving it everything to stay in contact with the peloton. I was looking behind me, and I could see a lot of riders. It gave me confidence that I was in a good place in the race, I just needed to push an extra effort for the final 100 metres of the climb.


I managed to stay with the peloton over the top, and the descent was very tricky, with a lot of nervous riders. I had to pass slow riders who were creating gaps on the fast descent. When we reached the bottom of the descent, the peloton had scattered apart, but I knew I was in a good group. I kept on fighting to catch the next group.


There was a moment… just like I said at the beginning of this blog… there are some days that don’t go as you planned them to go. As I was taking the corner, I saw 2 riders ahead of me who were already down, I spotted them, then I spotted the criss-cross of white lines in the road, but then my back wheel stepped out on the smooth shiny white paint. Down I went!


I was shouting in agony and pain while trying to sit myself up. For a moment, I thought that I had fractured my shoulder or ribs, then suddenly I felt a massive ‘pop’ in my shoulder, and I wasn’t sure if the shoulder was dislocated. It was freaking painful. I couldn’t get up by myself, so a spectator pulled me up and he wanted me to sit on the bench. “Nooo estoy bien!” I shouted as I was climbing back on the bike. The right shifter (brake lever) was badly bent, but I didn’t have any strength to put it back in place. I started pedaling away in anger, determined to get back in my group.


I didn’t realise that the rear derailleur (the gears on the back wheel) was bent after the fall, so when I was charging up the climb and I changed into the smallest gear, the derailleur got caught in the spokes of the wheel. Boom! the hanger snapped, AGAIN! – two hangers in two weeks… is that a record?

I got off the bike, and pretty quickly I found out what wrong was with it. Without thinking, I threw my bike to the side of the road. It was a stupid move from me, but I was very frustrated, as I was really up for doing well today. The team car was behind me, so I was forced to get inside the car. Watching my team-mates racing hard, they did very well, especially Ivan Arribas, who has made a big improvement from last year. He was a warrior today, catching the group.


10 minutes after my retirement, I was looking forward to the next race already. Despite the broken bike and my injury, I’m very positive and looking forward. I replace ‘problem’ with ‘challenge’, so bring it on! Nothing can take me down!


Sorry for a long blog, but I’m writing this on a really long journey heading back to Madrid, so it’s passing the time!




Results Sheet Classification >>









































































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