First race of the season

17 Jan

This blog post took me two days of Filip napping as I am still doing everything I can around job/training/family stuff.

I saw everywhere the “new year, new me” bulls**t. Well, it’s still the old me trying to do something new and trying to be fast even though it gets harder everyday.

The very first race of the season was also my very first Cyclocross National Championship. But of course, fighting for a medal got the attention of more riders than we usual had in the Romanian National Cyclocross Cup. After Cluj Winter Race I did everything I could in order to prepare for this specific race. I was both motivated and I could visualize that I can get my first National title, in a discipline that I am not quite performing. But I had some small setbacks as on December 25th I cut a chunk of meat from my left hand with an ax, got a stomach flu after and the list could continue but I am quite sure that no one cares. Most that I could think is that some will be happy to hear that. Sad but true.

Instead of going and training outside, because of the hand I had to do 90% of the training inside. Well, it is what it is.

I went to Porumbacu, the host village of this year’s National Champs the day before with Florin, as usual. Did a few laps and we tried to figure out at least, for a race plan. I had no idea.

The course had a lot of switchbacks and a long XC climb, yes XC not CX, but the course was the same for everyone. I was confident about my goal and my mind was only at the top spot.

The race day was here and I was nervous. The course got into a mix of mud, ice and frozen mud.

Right before the start I’ve saw some good old friends that made a 5h trip just to cheer for me. That was … something really emotional

I had a good start but I couldn’t find a decent pace on the flat sections. Still I was doing all right on the long steep climb and on the descent. I was … riding safe, I would say. Somehow I was racing for 3rd spot, until I got 2nd.

Did my best to close the gap and left everything out there until I have realized that I can’t do it. Now it was maybe the wrong decision as anything can happen during a race and a smaller gap could have change the outcome of the final result. But it is what it is.

The last time when I’ve ended up on the podium at any National Championship was in 2008. Very long time ago, so I suppose that I should be happy with the silver medal that I got now. Actually I am, but on the other side I was the closest ever to get gold than I ever was before so for that reason I am harsh on myself.

Regarding the course, I think it had many XC features that were maybe a bit too much for my CX skills, plus the frozen mud that I had on the pedal cleats made it even more difficult in the end. But everyone rode the same course and I think that the guys got the best out of the area.

Still one stage to go from the Romanian Cyclocross Cup and I look forward for a good race and of course result. The guys from Vatra Dornei promised for one hell of a show so keep your fingers crossed for me please.

In the end I’ve missed my goal of winning the National title, but I’ve ended up with so many great memories. So for this I would like to thank my family and sponsors for the whole support, but also to Cristi Stan who pointed me into the right direction for these two final races of the CX season. Also to everyone who made the trip from Cluj to Porumbacu, just to cheer for me. I am grateful to have you all by my side because none of us is that good as all of us.

Cheers, Vlad

Photo credit: Tibi Hila

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