Spent the mid-afternoon over at the Treviso race course. Mission of the day was to get in a few laps to check out the course. Well, it is definitely grassy. A combination of grass and pavement. There are two steep climbs. One set of stairs. The start is at the bottom of a sandy/gravely hill.
Really the course has lots of power sections. A longish false flat on the dry grass. There are a bunch of fast descents followed by tight uphill corners and short bursts up and then turn around and go down again. The major steep climb is pretty insane. I’m definitely running it. I’ve checked out a bunch of lines and know how and when to approach this so I can get part way up before dismounting. After this steep run we have some recovery with a descent onto pavement and then a whip by the pits.
Next tricky part comes up with an off-camber descent and then a tight turn to another steep climb. Today I committed to running it. But after talking with Christine and Jonas, I’ll try riding it tomorrow during the race pre-ride. If I can’t get it 100 per cent, I’ll stick to my original plan.
After this little section we drop down and go through a few twists and turns and then hit the stairs. The stairs are funny – kind of shallow. I tried taking two at a time but my legs are a bit short for this. Who knows tomorrow with the race adrenaline, things might be different.
From here we drop down again and go through a bunch of sweeping turns and flat stretches. Then up a stretch of pavement on past the pits with a fast paved descent. There is a fun little transition here from pavement to loose gravel to chewed up grass with a fast off-camber descent. More twists and turns. Through the start/finish and onto the long gradual grass false flat/climb. Then we’re back to the longer descents followed by the uphill corners and climbs.
It will be fast. Really fast. I think the key is to maintain momentum as much as possible. It is tempting to overbrake on some of the descents because they are so fast but this causes you to scrub too much speed and work harder than needed for the climbs. A fine balance between too much speed and sliding out and not enough speed to kill the momentum.
I really have no idea how the race will go for me. I haven’t raced with any of these girls this season. I can only do my thing. I know a strong start is crucial tomorrow. So this is my mission – have a strong start. A strong start will allow me to get in a group. I can’t rely on the catch and pass game tomorrow – this is not the field where this can be done. I’m feeling good about the course. I’m comfortable with my lines and race plan. I’ll just roll with things and make sure I race my heart and lungs out.
Oh, I’ve got passes for a pit man, team manager, masseuse, and team mechanic… Too bad I don’t have anyone to give them to. Maybe for the next World Cup…
Met a few new people today and saw some faces I recognize. But I decided not to stop Sven Nys and Erwin Vervecken (they looked kind of busy).
So, I’m signing off with good sensations in my legs, lungs, heart, and head. I’m ready for this. Can’t do anything else to get ready for the race. I know I’m riding some good form right now. Just need to to do my thing. Yes, I’m a bit nervous. This is normal. But I’m not stressed out by the course at all. It is a good course for me. Nothing crazy or ridiculous. Just lots of fast pedaling and some guts required to take the corners fast and smooth. I can do this. I’m ready for it. 40 minutes. That’s it. Stoked. Sunday is going to be good.