Waiting for the start of the race that was delayed over an hour!
Last weekend was the 2009 Giant National Cup race that was held in Dajia, very close to Taizhong. Since it was a national event, all the best Taiwanese riders turned out for the 33km event that was raced on a 11km circuit three times. Combining all the elite categories made it a total of 129 riders lining up at the start. 90% of the racers were Taiwanese with a smattering of foreigners from New Zealand, Australia, US, France and Hong Kong. It was my first race in Taiwan since the Deaflympics and I was interested to see how the racing would be compared to the US and back home in New Zealand. When the starting gun went off, all hell broke loose and we were doing 45km/h plus for the first 10-15mins. It felt quite dangerous at times with riders jostling for position in places that don't exist, raised medians on the middle of the road, combined with dodging some traffic as the road was not officially closed to traffic (except for the finishing area) made for some interesting riding.
An early attack by Olympian Feng Chun-Kai went up the road and two others quickly joined him. I saw they were rapidly moving away from the peloton so I quickly bridged across myself but as soon as I got there, Feng Chun Kai sat up. I went to the front and drove it for a few moments but no one would swap turns. We were swept back into the fold of the peloton. I kept my position near the front and kept watching for any moves that might go. On lap 2, the most promising break went with about eight riders including Feng Chun-Kai and a couple of foreigners. They looked like they were working well together and I attacked hard to bridge up to them. It took me nearly two minutes to make the bridge and once there, the break again was shut down and the peloton reasorbed the break a few minutes later. Going into the final lap, Feng Chun-Kai attacked again to open up a sizeable lead with four other riders. I bided my time in the peloton chase but with about 5km's to go I started responding to attacks riders were making and sticking to their wheels. They, however, did not last long and rapidly lost power and I just found myself surging over 1000 watts 4-5 times in the final few kilometres. Going into the final 1km， I was still on the front trying to find a good lead-out wheel but no one was really going for it. I was behind Feng Chun-Kai's team-mate who was slowing down, in attempt to stall the peloton's chase so that Feng could win. With about 6-700m to go, the break was swept up and there was confusion on my part as the break split in different directions. This was dangerous and I had to stop pedalling to ensure I got safely through, but my momentum was lost and the peloton surged through on the right side and I had no wheels to draft off. I did not even sprint as I had no sprint power left as a result of my efforts.
I finished 32nd overall and 11th in my E30 division. I felt that I raced reasonably well and featured in most of the important breaks except for the last one. It still finished in a field sprint with Feng's team-mate from Exustar winning. I only knew Chun Kai-feng, Craig Johns (a pro-triathlete from New Zealand) and a couple of others from the Specialized Team. Chun Kai-Feng I'd had met during the International Superweek in Chicago earlier this year.
In the picture on the left, I am enjoying a bbq'd squid as my choice of recovery food after I completed the hill-climb race. The hill climb report is here
To see travel pictures in and out of Taipei, click here The most recent ones are of the Shilin Night Market. I will be using this Flickr Stream for posting of my photographs.
For more pictures of the Giant National Cup Race, check them out here: Race Pictures