Saturday, 30 April 2011

Tennanto Rides Again

Today I had the pleasure of spending some more time with Rapha Condor Sharp rider - Andy Tennant who invited me on a recovery ride with him today. 

To be honest, my legs were feeling a little bit heavy after a hillyish sixty miler yesterday, so plan for today was to keep it steady with no major drama!  I planned a pretty flat 50 to keep the pedals turning as I wanted to ask Andy about the Tour of Korea, which he has recently returned from.

I I was interested to hear about how the race unfolded, the different stages, the jet lag, what it's like to race on roads against teams and riders that you don't know.  In typically honest fashion - Tennant gave me the warts and all breakdown of the Tour, which was fascinating to hear.

Returning back to his house after 57 miles on the bike, the legs were certainly letting me know it was time to hang my helmet up today - Andy took it easy on me, our average pace was 17.7mph.   The time flew, as it always does when you're riding, however the last ten miles I put the grimace face on to haul myself back.  Andy knocked me up a wicked flat white, back at his pad, boy's a Barista in the making!

What struck me about the discussion with Andy, is how much on the bike thought has to go on when racing, particularly as there was no race radio.  Riders making snap decisions on whether to chase a group or what tactics to unfold when things don't go to plan.  For me, that supports the whole idea of the radio debate, as it opens up the racing and the riders ability to read a situation.

In the Tour of Korea, there are also a bunch of riders and teams that many of us would never have heard of, a new dynamic for Rapha Condor Sharp too, as they were also learning more about individual riders and teams as the race unfolded.  I guess the winner - Ki Ho Choi who rides out of Hong Kong, says it all.

Tennant was close to a stage win at one point, Ed Clancy secured stage 5 with Tennant leading him out.  Tennant placed fifth on a couple of stages, overall Rapha Condor Sharp came in at second on the general classification, with Andy taking ninth place. 

One of the stand out days for him was when the heavens opened on a 200km stage.  Freezing rain saw 30 riders abandon the race.  It sparked a great conversation about whether people have the "concrete" needed to suffer as a pro-cyclist,.

Andy's going to knock me up a couple of guest blogposts.  I asked him to have a think about two.  So, you want to be a pro? (thought the point above about "concrete" would be a great place to start) and Top 10 products he rates (Andy has an encyclopedia like knowledge of clothing, food, wheels and stuff).  Watch this space for those in the future.

So, April is over.  After a poor start for me, with no cycling atall in the first two weeks of the month, I've managed to haul back 400 miles in the saddle in the second half. Fitness and form definitely feel like they are improving.  Lets' face it, they need to, next weekend is the daddy of all sportives - The Fred Whitton.  Now that, is going to be where I learn the real lessons of suffering, bring it on.

One final thing, hello to Andy's Dad  - Ian, who is a regular reader of the blog.  Keep up the gardening Ian!

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