A slight snafu at the start meant that our coach was an hour
late arriving, and then got held up in traffic and road blocks.
As a result we started after the official cut off of 9am; in
fact we weren't on the road till 9.20. Literally the last starters
of the race... and because of that we had no groups to work with.
Just myself and a chap I had met; but we fortunately worked really
well together and ended up doing the entire ride together.
The logistics of a point to point race are very difficult; you
need to get a coach super early to the start. The 145km route is
much easier to access; its a circular event and thus a mere 30 min
coach ride from the hotel vs our 2 hour journey to the start. But
because I was a guest of Specialized and they were organising it
all I took advantage of the opportunity for the private
It was all super pro; We may have arrived at the start late, but
on arrival our bikes were all lined up; route pavé sections
stickered onto the top tube, two full water bottles, race numbers
already on... A properly pro setup. Their mechanic at the start
handed us loads of energy gels and a pump and one inner tube each
and off we went...
My number one fear was getting a puncture. If you get a puncture
on a pavé section you basically need to get off the road and into a
field to fix it; and your fingers are so numb that you will
Fortunately all our bikes performed flawlessly; though I did
suffer from ghost shifting on the cobbles; basically your chain
jumps up and down the cassette because it's being bounced around so
aggressively. There is a reason why many pros ride mechanical
shifting for this event only.
This was my first time riding the new SRAM Force AXS groupset.
It was really nice, and honestly for a bike where weight is not an
ultimate priority I struggle to see how RED is much better. The
hood shape in particular felt great; you can really grab hold of it
when hammering on the flat sections.