David Gazsi, rider for True North Medical Cycling Team sponsored by Cyclelogik recently went to Masters World Championships in Albi, France. David has been training for this event all season in preparation for this event. Below is the race report written by him documenting his experience at this incredible event!
Master’s World Championships in Albi, France
Thursday August 24th
This was my focus for this year’s Worlds. Very technical 23 km loop, no major climbs but almost never flat, numerous traffic circles and tight corners, but the long and short of this day was the heat. With a race start of 2:30pm local, and the heatwave of Europe having reached the Midi-Pyrenees, the race temp for our category was approximately 40 Celsius and extremely dry. The effect on the entire field was ultimately fair-handed, but it made the strategy in dealing with the conditions the biggest challenge. I left the gate feeling awesome. I had the course technicalities totally dialed in after having ridden it 10 times in the previous 3 days, and got right into my rhythm around my target power for the day. However at about 7-8 km, the wheels started to come off. The fact was I had not allowed for the impact of the heat at all in my strategy. From that point on the ride was a complete struggle, between 20 and 50 watts below my threshold, continually pushing up to threshold and then feeling completely blown instead of being able to just pull back a bit and have a micro-recovery… one of the most miserable rides I’ve ever had on a TT bike power-wise, and still managed to finish 7th –20 seconds out of third. This in itself, in addition to all the anecdotal discussion after the event, was a clear indication that it was the heat and not my legs… frustrating after having the best buildup I’ve ever had for a single event, but there’s things you can control, and things you can’t, and so I had to accept a third top 10 in my World’s history, without a podium yet… but I’ll be back!
Friday, August 25th
This is a fun team relay event that I rode with Bruce Bird, Ian Scott, and Julie Adams. Another technical course, this time 2 kms, in and around the old town in Albi. Each rider did 3 laps then swapped out… its chaotic, full gas and super fun. We ended up 5th of 25 teams, a bit disappointed not to make the podium, but just a great time with music blaring, big crowds, etc. Awesome event, and nice way to do something as a team.
Sunday, August 27th
So 315 starters.. holy shit that’s scary, 155 kms with about 2000 meters of climbing, much of it on small single lane roads, thru medieval towns, past castles, through ancient rock tunnels, and along a good chunk of a stage of this year’s tour!
Gun goes and its like a crazy crit for the first 45 minutes: full gas, crashes everywhere, and on tight rolling roads with traffic furniture everywhere! So I made all the first splits, maybe 5 big crashes in the first 30k. We finally get to the first major climb and I feel solid –pretty easy power to get right to the front– but we’re still 100 guys, so I pulled back and sat in about the top third of the peloton… in a bit of a lull, about 40 km in, I see Bruce Bird roll off the front with Dan Martin –two former world champs– and immediately I’m thinking… okay, race is for third… I could not believe anyone would let them go, but off they went.
First major climb, I’m right to the front and it’s still a big group, maybe 50.. little snaky descent mid climb, and maybe i did something, not sure, but got yelled at and chopped, rode into the gravel in a switchback, didnt go down but hurt my back a bit when I put a foot down and slid out… catch my breath, chase back, now we’re on the first hairy descent –and i’m a little unnerved, but i find my groove, get in a chase with 10 guys, but the lead peloton is split and I’m thinking I’m done… next climb, at about 80km in now, and I attack solo, up, over, and down solo (that was fun). Back out on to the next main transition road I see the group about 500 meters up the road… so its full gas back to the tail –a 20 k solo bridge. Made it! I sit on for about the grand total of a minute and we hit the toughest climb of the day: 3km at 8-12%. It’s stifling heat and I’m already in the bag from the chase… tempo increases every few minutes and 500m from the top the serious attacks start… if maybe 18-20 guys made it over the top, I was the 21st…. it was 3km and I had 2.9 left in me… that was my first death… with the bridge, the heat, the TT in my legs, I went completely all in to try and hold on, and I just couldn’t get it done… KABOOM! – I then i rode in a smaller group swapping pulls until 130k, then the lights really went out in the 35 degree heat. And if I wasn’t in the mix I didn’t care much for 30th or 40th, whatever, so I just enjoyed the ride in, the beautiful parcours, and the cheering crowds, which were allover, and cheered every single group with respect – very cool.
In the end, Bruce Bird won solo. I understand he left his partner, Dan Martin, formerly of Canada, now riding for the US, with 30 to go, and won solo. If he does that to a field in Ontario or Quebec it’s epic… and he just did it to the best masters in the world… truly awesome! The group of 20 or so that I couldn’t stick with at about 100 ended up splintering all over into groups of 2 and 3, and coming in 2-5 minutes behind Bruce.