The weekend was a tough one. Our aim, rather unusually was to make the races as hard as possible. But the fact that these were the first races with hot weather made them hard all by themselves. Our kamikaze attacks just made it even harder.
The first race was a circuit race in Tavira, which I took very easy. The course was extremely dangerous. The "calçada" or cobbles were lifted in places after a big storm a couple of days before, so I just went round and round, then when the time came to reel in the break away I did just that. I split the bunch into pieces and that was that. It was good not to break equipment, or break myself! We actually finished second, so that wasn't too bad.
The second race is a Classic called "Restaurante Alpendre". This did not go well for me. I did my job, but the race was a mess. It was stopped mid way round due to the break away going the wrong way. When I finished my role in this race I eased of the gas. At this point the peloton was full of cramp, although I was ok. No one was prepared for the 30ºC weather we got. I had belly ache due to having to ingest huge quantities of fluids. After this something strange happened, I usually guide myself well in a race and know where I am in relation to the rest of the race. There are many tricks for this and simply using a watch and some visual cues you can figure out all you need to know. I eased of at 3:00hrs into the race and expected there to be about 30k's to the finish. Expect I never saw the landmark I was looking for, nor the 20k's to go sign till much, much later. And I wasn't going slowly, but at a fast cruise. So, baffled by this and rather annoyed I gave up, figuring that I got lost on the badly marked course. This race was won by Enrique Salgueiro, an amateur who was going very well.
The next day I felt much better. for some reason I like racing on consecutive days and feel much better a couple of days into a race. Again my job was straight forward: Make the race as hard as possible. And that is what I did. I attacked and controlled and attacked a bit more. I got in one excellent move with a great young rider from the amateur Liberty Seguros team but unbelievably we got stopped at a level crossing! Next I got in another move with a lot of the Loulé team, and then I got in another move with a team mate and two amateur which killed the team chasing. I really had to grit my teeth to stay in the bunch and felt like I was going to vomit. But I go through most of the hills and made all the selections bar the last one... This last one I attacked, a team mate dropping back said I should stop. It is arguable whether I should have, but I did. At this point there was a series of attacks and I could only hang on to the second group. This race was also won by Salgueiro.