The Innsbruck Team Challenge

Course: UCI Worlds Short Lap
Distance: 71 km (3 laps)

Having signed up for this one some weeks ago, I hadn’t really paid much attention to the event other than pop it my diary so I didn’t forget. Given the build up and chatter about the event – names, tags, teams etc I needn’t have bothered lol. There has been lots to talk about! Then when I did read the race info and realised my race was 71km and 3 laps around the Innsbruck UCI course I think I may have actually said ‘Oh shit!’ out loud.

My prep was less than ideal. Friday night was a late one dancing and drinking until 1am, then a ride home from work at lunchtime. My legs were sore and I was pretty tired and lethargic. Cue a hot bath, early night and all was well come this morning, or so I hoped.

I got to the pen with about 10 to go. It was busy with 100+ riders starting. I expected the first climb to be brutal. I maintained my position at the front and as we climbed under the Autobahn the group began to stretch and gaps were opening. Into the hairpins and the fast boys were beginning to draw clear, With another 2 laps of this I just maintained my numbers and watched the lead group move away slowly. I found myself in no-mans land for good chunk of the climb but as we neared the top I got into a small group for the descent. I just rolled through back into town to get some rest with the short, sharp one to come. Onto the climb and everyone stayed together pretty much but ahead you could see riders getting shelled out of the front group.

Into the 2nd lap and it was status quo up till the climb. The leaders had about 90 secs on us by now. I actually felt better on this lap and I was able to some turns on the climb. There were the odd surges which popped a couple off the back but it was pretty steady over the top and back into town. The short climb saw my graph go 400+ watts again but the group stayed together and began to reel in some up front.

Lap 3 and this was a case of hanging in there. Survival of the fittest. I knew a couple of the guys in the group were looking sharp but some we reeled in I knew could pop and they did. I felt quite strong on the climb. One jumped clear into the hairpins and another joined him just the other side of them. They quickly got 10 secs which we held. I felt quite good and did some solid turns on the steeper sections and matched the odd surge. Towards the stop, where the gradient softens, the WBR guys opened the taps and I had to dig in a bit but once we got on the descent I knew the hard bit was done now. I rolled through to recover again and waited to see if anyone went around the back. On the climb I gave it some beans to try an counter any possible attack which worked. Someone went clear under the arch but we were reeling in a group in front and caught them with about 1.5km to go. No one started the sprint too early so with 500m to go I let rip and finished in the first couple in our group.

Tough race.

Thanks to Tam & co for bringing the teams together and making it happen. No idea what the result is yet but well done everyone who took part.

Ride on!

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