Alba Carolina – dust and pain

29 Aug

I think that Alba Carolina Bike Race is my home race away from home. Mostly because it reminds me about the good old times at Maros Bike Marathon, where I was in the organizing team but I was also competing to get on the podium, as usual.

The race starts near one of the gates of the old Citadel, in the city center of Alba Iulia. What sets this race apart is that they have a lot of volunteers everywhere: from the registration to the start and around the course.

This year, I opted for the 38km route as part of my preparation for the final XCO races of the season. It turned out to be a wise decision, despite a setback. Except the fact that I had a huge crash in the last Monday prior to the race when I was having a recovery ride. Yeah, the bike is ok but I got some deep bruises on my elbow and knee and I hit with my shin the pedal so hard that I could almost see the bone. The next 3 days were painful and I couldnโ€™t do anything except resting. On Friday I went for a short spin. I was thinking to cancel it but instead I went for the race because, no matter the result it would have been a great training.

Race day arrived, and I had a decent start as everyone was trying to move forward the pack as fast as possible. However, as we tackled the trails, I couldn’t shake off a sense of fear. I hesitated to push harder, both on descents and climbs. The dry and dusty conditions posed a challenge, especially since I had chosen Schwalbe’s Racing Ralph and Racing Ray tires over the more suitable Thunder Burt for the course. Climbing was equally demanding with temperatures soaring to 33ยฐC in the shade. Carrying two water bottles proved to be a wise choice, allowing me to skip some feed points and douse myself with refreshing water. The pain from my recent crash flared up on the bumpy dusty soil course, despite riding my Scalpel-SE.

The whole course was overall pretty punchy, but especially the end, similar to an XCO course. As a testament to the intensity, my X01 AXS RD recorded 612 gear shifts, with heavy reliance on the last sprockets of the cassette.

Finishing 7th wasn’t near close to my goal but it was what it is, but I stick to the plan.

I’d like to extend my gratitude to my family and sponsors for their support, as well as to Sebi for ensuring a safe trip to and from Alba. I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming races, with the next one being Porumbacu MTB Race. Stay tuned for my post-race report.



Photo credit: Bogdan Harjoc, Claudiu Miclaus, Bogdan Uta

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