Un autre favorite Edward Greene. 1er GP Fayence. 4eme Montee Faron., 6eme etape Tour Ardeche et 8eme Tour de Centre Var. With my status as a pre-race favourite for the days racing confirmed I stood on the start line for Gap-Romette Chaillol. The rain began to tumble. With my teeth chattering and my bare legs complaining about the 6 degree weather I turned on my Garmin and tried to pair it with my power meter. Great, no power. My power meter was on strike in the frigid and wet conditions.  Little did I know at the time that “No Power” would be the theme of my entire day.

Gap-Romette Chaillol is unlike most other races on the calendar. The 1700m of ascent is crammed into 70km with the final 10km a long climb up to a ski station at 1600m. When it comes to my type of racing this is pretty my ideal route profile. If you are not climbing you are descending. With the 400m neutral zone completed we were straight onto the first climb. After 4km winding upwards into the mist I was suffering, a lot. With 1km to go to the summit I was tailed off the back. Not where I was expecting to be. I made one final effort and joined a small group over the top 30sec behind the 20 leaders. With the freezing rain stinging the legs I set about trying to get back to where I needed to be, the front. After jumping two smaller groups it was time to descend. The wet roads were slippery but it was also an opportunity. I bombed down closing within 15sec of the lead group. Getting up to 80km/h between hairpins I was almost there. With one rider for company now, we hauled along the flat at 60kph before getting into the convoy of vehicles. Ah, slipstream.

Chaillol Ski Station at 1600m
Chaillol Ski Station at 1600m

Safely on the back of the lead group, I informed my teammate of my serious condition of bad legs. After a 35km chase it was time for 2 gels and some prayers that my legs would come back. The flat ran out and soon we were climbing again. My prayers hadn’t been answered. The changing gradients were biting me each km but I hung on.  As we hit the final climb I could endure no more and I was off the back. As the front 12 set off in pursuit of victory I was left with one companion in pursuit of survival.

The last climb dragged on but finally arriving at 1600m and taking 14th place, I was a broken man. I was extremely disappointed with my ride but as I quickly changed out of my wet clothes and slipped into the car to get out of the 2 degree weather I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. I had fought so hard but my legs were so bad on the day it was actually comical. With a serious case of “no power” behind me it is time for a break from the bike for a few days. The start of the season has been a roller-coaster but with a short rest I look forward to tackling the next few months.

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