Friday 6 July 2018

Cyclotour 2018

As a cyclist living in Switzerland it's pretty difficult to avoid public events. Although they're all non pro races they still provide lot of fun and pleasure.
Cyclotour is one of them, not very demanding but a good check-point of one's fitness before bigger events during the season.

So what is Cyclotour? Well, it's a ride around lake Geneva (Lac Léman) of 180km distance and few hundreds meters climb (read - flat). 
It's an open tour for everybody which means different levels of fitness and different levels of experience in group riding...more about that later...

I personally try to participate every year as this event is organized usually end of May and it's a perfect timing to test your legs before other serious tours like Alpenbrevet, Maratona, Etape du Tour etc..
Although the loop is flat you can really crunch your legs if you stick to first peleton. Those guys ride really fast and constant speed in a range of 40-50km/h is pretty normal.

This year, ignoring the bad weather forecast I took my carbon "Blackcat wheels" with the 38mm profile. I knew it will rain in the middle of the tour but having high profile carbon rims I was counting to keep up with the stronger guys and stay in front.

First part of the ride was going as planned. I was able to stay in front keeping the high avg speed. Initial 70km went really fast and I was pretty happy with the ride.
Within the legendary Swiss precision after about 70km we've got pretty strong shower. I had to slow down and maintain larger distance before other riders as braking on carbon rims in the rain is not fun at all!

When the rain went away I got back my confidence and that was a mistake. On one of the roundabouts I was going too fast and additionally on the exit I pushed strongly on pedals to accelerate while still being on painted pedestrians pass. Within one second the rear wheel lost the grip and I was on the ground. Luckily the tarmac was still wet so I didn't loose too much skin. Still, it was enough to have a whole in my bibs and awful pain. 
I got up quickly and moved out from the road to not get hit by the other riders from the back. Bike was more or less OK but the brake on the rear wheel was completely stuck. I guess the wheel got a strong hit which had a consequences later on...

After putting myself back together I continued the ride. It was difficult to catch a fast group so for next 30km or so I was continuing rather solo.

During the ride we had all types of weather: chilly morning, some sun, rain, wind and then sun again. I was first time on my customized "Blackcat wheels" jersey made by Velcredo and it was really great. Not too hot, not too cold and surprisingly it resisted the rain very well. 
Big thank you Velcredo!

Lonely riding was more tough due to the wind but at least safer. One thing which bugs me with this particular event is a ride in a group of people who don't know how to ride in a group. Due to flat course the speed is pretty high and some of the guys ride so close to the others that the distance is less then few cm. Every year there are several crashes on this tour as the traffic is open for a cars and roads are not the best with plenty of potholes. One nervous move and crash is ready. I've seen that many, many times so at the end it's pretty risky ride.

From the other hand, no risk no fun as they say so staying cautious and trying to predict what may happen allows you to minimize the risk.  

Having said that I was able to catch a nice peleton and continued with good speed almost till the finish line. Unfortunately about 20km before the end I heard a laud metal snap and realized that one of my spoke in a rear wheel got busted. After that I couldn't continue and had to abandon the tour.
I think it was a consequence of earlier crash as the wheels were doing very well and stayed true for 12.000km I did on them since the build. 

A bit of sad finish but my goal was achieved. Legs are ready for next events and I have few interesting ones on my check list: Alpenbrevet and Tour de Mont Blanc so stay tuned for really nice pictures from the high passes!


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