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Race 2015 Giro de Hotaka - The perfect Storm - Part 3

Adam Cobain

Maximum Pace
Jul 1, 2014
I have raced bikes competively for over 25years, have seen my share of training ups and downs and along with victories there have been more than I can count of losses. However, a mere few times over those years, it all just 'clicks' into place. And I am talking hundreds of races and only a few times does it really click! What? Are you kidding? What is this cycling game all about when the odds are so low. The ellusive 'click', is sometimes the big goal and maybe even on the big stage, but sometimes it isn't, and regardless of the event, if you pin a number on, you have to be up for it. Each chance to race must be cherished as you never quite know when the 'click' is coming, and you have to be ready, because when it does come, anything is possible.

So, less than 10 minutes in to Giro de Hotaka and I am off the front, solo, like some newbie and I need to make a choice. Ease it back and regroup so that the next 10kms of gentle uphill into a freezing headwind are easier and I can save some legs, or continue the solo push and consolidate. If anyone reading this knows a single thing about me and the way I ride, they know the answer. Without thought, I back myself and my knowledge of the course, but I must get out of sight though. 30 seconds or a minute are not even close to enough, I need 5 to 10 minutes and quickly. Besides the drag up to the final major climb and the traffic lights, the first 15km is the hardest for the solo rider. A fresh group with the sniff of their prey will hunt and they will stop looking at each other and ride for their target. A broken bunch is however useless and they will protect themsleves. In order to do this, to hold off a pack, I had to get well out of sight and break their morale.

I made the left turn onto the main highway, looked backed at the pass that would the riders out onto the opening and across the river, 20seconds of riding to the turn, no-one. I was absorbed into the new road, out of sight and this would hurt them, the absent rider and moto. The long straight drags into the wind seemed somehow easy though, and at each turn away from straights, I would check over my shoulder, nothing, no-one, just me and the moto. The road pushed higher and more and more turns, still nothing. I checked my HR, well below threshold, cruising and really just starting to get into the ride. I knew if could extract a solid lead before the long Konruko Pass, I would gain more time, I love these mountains. What had happenend to the bunch behind?

What had happened I will never know, but by the first major turn at 48minutes onto the lower slopes of the Konroku pass, I had somehow pulled more than 5 minutes on the bunch. I did not know this of course and rode like I was being hunted and back behind every turn, just out of sight, the group was rallying. I dug in on the Konroku, knowing it well, but held back enough in these early stages as anything could happen still; puncture, taffic lights would certainly play a part and a group can ride on the flats quicker in most cases, of which there were still many kms to come. If I was caught, I needed to hold something back for the final and decisive climb.

Part 4 - Checkmate - up next
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