The Tour of Austria is the consolation for missing out on the big lap of France...the last few years I've raced it and it has been one of the ‘nicest” races on the European calendar; good roads, good hotels, good food and good fun in general.
Despite some sh*tty weather, the odd snow storm and a complete lack of form, I had a pretty enjoyable 3rd attempt at Austria this time around. I took my mid season break after Dauphine, allowing the disappointment of my virus affected Dauphine to turn into motivation over a few glasses of red wine and some time getting to take in other aspects of Girona that I wouldn’t normally see. I got 5 proper training rides under the belt and flew to Austria, it's incredible how much I lost in 10 days of not riding but I think it's even more incredible how fast it comes back!
Day one, I had freshness on my side which made me think despite my heart rate being through the roof that I was feeling ok, although the moment we started going fast I changed my mind and pulled the parachute...tumbling into the grupetto. Over the course of the next few days I started to remember how to push the pedals a bit harder. Day 3 still sucked but I survived. Day 4, I could pull for our boys who were riding really well. Day 5, I could make the 25 man front group on the big climb and by day 6, I was even one of the better climbers in the race. I'm normally more into the idea of training myself fit but I think this was a super productive week and fast tracked my body into some form which I will need in the coming months.
The orginal plan wasn’t to race Austria but I'm happy I did. Racing isn’t much fun when you're just surviving but when the team is riding well, winning stages and up in the overall, it’s a great chance to get amongst it. Post race, I flew straight over to Boulder in Colorado and am now back with my adopted American family doing an altitude block, essentially aiming for the Vuelta but I'm optimistic about arriving in Utah with some good legs on the way.Sweet.