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Ed Laverack journal: Tour of Britain reflections

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #9

Ed Laverack and three other riders are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Ed rides for the UCI Continental team SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling this season. This is Ed’s 9th journal entry…

The Tour of Britain, as a whole, is not hard

So that’s a wrap on the road season for 2019! It’s been a real blast this year, getting to race more in the UK and sharing a team with some really great guys. But as one door closes, another opens.

The Tour of Britain was the end of the season for a lot of guys. Maybe a handful would go on and race the Worlds in Yorkshire but the vast majority were looking forward to a holiday in some warm weather and some time away from the sound of changing gears. As word got around, a third were there to race, a third to make up the field by teamwork, and a third were there for a holiday in itself with contracts already signed. 

The Tour of Britain was a marvellous experience for me. Not ever have I raced against that kind of field. With so much strength in depth it had me wondering what to expect, seeing it from the inside for the first time as a rider.

I think everyone knows how hard a job it is as a member of staff on a race such as this. Long days, short nights. Long drives, long stages. There isn’t really much time in between. But you know that already. 

A nice lady wandered over from the nearby Co-Op. “Anyone hungry for a cookie?”

Something you may not have seen was what went on in the peloton. The day we got stopped by a train for instance. As we all stood there, twiddling our thumbs, a nice lady wandered over from the nearby Co-Op. “Anyone hungry for a cookie?”, she asked. As far as I can remember, no riders took her up on the offer, but one of the VIP cars on the race jumped at the opportunity, and grabbed a handful for his lucky passengers. A couple of minutes later we were thrashing the tarmac again. Café legs – something you usually get when you have stopped for longer than 15 minutes after strenuous exercise – kicked in. It took about 20km for me to get back up to speed. Just in time for a ridiculous finish. 

Picture by Zac Williams/SWpix.com – 12/09/2019 – Cycling – OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 6 – The Pershore ITT, Britain – Ed Laverack warms up

That brings me on to the next revelation. Just how fast these guys are on the flat. I know 59kg ain’t going to trouble a 75kg rider on a flat road but in the final 30km of the sprint stages, I had my tail between my legs wherever I was in the group. The effort required to just hold position was incredible, hence why it is mainly in one long line as riders are forced to find a wheel, and cannot move up in the wind. The closing stages were nothing short of blistering, and concentration had to be dialled when coming to the finish. I recall the finish to Newcastle being hectic. There were a number of small crashes and as the city got closer we were faced with more and more traffic furniture to deal with. Not ideal when your brain is trying to process multiple things at once, whilst also trying to breathe!

I’m confident in saying that the race was considerably flat overall. I found the days with the most elevation gain to be easiest, such as Kendal. Even though I was struck down by a mechanical issue, the day’s efforts were quite moderate. This is to be expected, obviously, as I don’t have to work as hard as the bigger lads do on the back to back climbs. I think that’s a huge determining factor. A ‘climber’ isn’t just someone that goes uphill fast. A climber can be someone that doesn’t fatigue as much on the ‘successive climbs’. I had no legs on the finish in Burton Dassett Country Park on stage 7 and I have no problem admitting that. Those were successive climbs (3), but they only came after 1200m of climbing, not 3000m. 

And this leads me to my final takeaway. The Tour of Britain, as a whole. is not hard. It’s not raced flat out from the gun every day. If that was the case, I’d be home after 5 days! About 80% of the time its chilled, everyone is chatty and there are copious amounts of ‘nature breaks.’ But when it is raced for the 20%, you know about it.

Featured photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com. 12/09/2019 – Cycling – OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 6 – The Pershore ITT, Britain – Ed Laverack warms up

Read more

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #8: the season is (nearly) dead, long live the season

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #7: measuring up against the stars of Le Tour

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #6: the feeling of success success

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #5: planes, trains and automobiles

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #4: dealing with setbacks

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #3: gearing up for the Tour de Yorkshire

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #2: winter training, team launch, eRacing

Rider journals: Ed Laverack #1: motivation, transfomation, preparation

Rider journals: introducing Ed Laverack

Interview with Ed Laverack by John Smith

Ed’s vlog.

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