March 1/05 10:18 am - Max Plaxton's Latest Report from Spain
Posted by Editoress on 03/1/05
Max Plaxton Report 2
Canadian racer Max Plaxton is sending us regular updates from Spain, where he is living and training.
Success and Sun
The bad weather ended and so did the bachelorhood. The second week of February was great weather, which made for good training. Trish arrived on the 12th yippee.
The 4th road race of the regional series was on February 13th (I skipped race #3). I was really excited because I did the same race last year and knew the course. The race was approx. 70km long. The first 30 km was mostly flat with some rollers, continuing with a bunch of steep poppers, followed with a 5 km climb. The climb was around 6-7 % and the last 25 km was mostly downhill to the finish. I attacked pretty hard on the initial part of the climb, catching the lead group about 1 km from the top. I passed over the summit in 1st and waited a bit on the descent for some riders to join me. A group of 5 developed, staying clear of the chase groups. The crazy tailwind made for a super fast pace line. I was wishing I had a 53 or 54 chain ring, as I found myself pulling through not quite fast enough for everyone's liking with my 52 ring.
Despite everything we managed to stay clear. With 200 meters to go there was a super tight roundabout. It was pretty much a 360 degrees turn so it had to be taken soooooo slow. I went down and said good-bye to any possibilities of contesting the sprint. I cruised in for 5th with the peloton breathing down my neck.......once again I was I was super happy with my climbing.
The following week was going to be a big one. Four 5+ hour rides were the big days, and I finished up the week with an awesome road race ending the 26 hour week.
Race #5 after the big base week was a fun one. We started in the town of Lorca doing a small loop before heading out for two 30 km loops. The finish line was located at the city's castle on top of a BIG hill.
I was pretty sure I was going to feel tired in the race and I was right. Each of the 2 loops we had to do was a leg breaker. There was maybe 2 km of flat road in the whole loop. I was kind of sketched out in the corners after having gone down the past weekend and I still hadn't changed the old front tire. Despite everything, I managed to hang near the front until the 1.5km hillclimb finish. I actually played my cards right and caught a good wheel at the start of the climb. I was about 3rd wheel with one guy behind me. I was sure the guy in front of me was going to jump with about 500 m to go but to my surprise he blew off. As soon as this happened I made my move and attacked hard enough that nobody could hold me and I soared in solo for the last 50 m.
*Lorca is around 30 km from Aguilas if you were to take the freeway. So after the race Trish and I decided to ride home the "long" way. This turned out to be a bad idea after having raced hard for 2 hours; mainly because there was head wind all the way back. It was a good hard week of training and racing though for sure. The next week would be focused on shorter rides with more intensity.
Race # 6 was in my "home town" of Aguilas (February 27th). I pretty much knew the course with my eyes closed. You wouldn't normally have to know a road course that well but the roads in this race were really small and twisty.
The weather had called for torrential rain and even snow on some of the mountains so I was hoping it wouldn't be. I did an early 45 min warm up and felt pretty good so I was excited. Before the race started I was told that there was a 1 km neutralized start so I lined up near the rear knowing I could move up. I guess I was the only one that was told this since it was like a damn mtb start. I managed to move up to the front, which was where I wanted to be according to my race plans. An early break went at 4 km after the first bonus sprint. The break contained some good riders so I knew that was the place to be. I bridged up to the break bringing a rider with me before the first major 4 km climb (8-9%). With around 3 km to go to the top I caught the lead group attacking hard with one rider grabbing my wheel. I had seen this rider before in other races and he must have been around my age. He was climbing really well and with about 500 m to the summit I heard a snap and a bang. He had broken his chain and went down hard. I rode solo up and over the top to begin a wicked hairpin corner descent. After the descent we had to do a 30 km loop only to climb back up and over where we had just come from. Starting the tight twisty loop I had a rider (the points leader) around 30 sec down from me. I decided to wait so we could work together. It worked out super well; he pulled hard on the flats and I set the pace on the poppers. We got to the base of the climb with 2 minutes over the peloton. I knew I had to get a good gap going over the top if I wanted to be able to solo to the finish so I attacked sprinter dood getting a gap quickly. I gave er all I had, reaching the top with a 1 min advantage over sprinter man and about 1.5 over the main peloton. Knowing the roads really well I was able to keep away and solo into the finish this time not on an uphill, which was kind of nice. The gap was about 2 min in the end when the peloton came in sprinting for 2,3,4,5 with the rain starting to piss down.
First Photo Me winning in my 'home town' of Aguilas
I was awarded with a wicked "Aguila" trophy that represents the town of Aguilas. *An Aguila is type of eagle native to the area.
2nd Photo Me receiving my 'Aguila bird' trophy... the guy to my left is FERNANDO PIÑERO, who raced the Tour with Festina and won a stage in the Vuelta in the 90's. He is a local of Aguilas
The week finished up nicely with Trish and I going to a friend's house to watch the "Clasica Almeria" road race LIVE and then we went and watched the Aguilas soccer team kick the poop out of a visiting team.
That's it for the road races for a while and time to switch to the knobbies for the upcoming Mtb races, starting with the Open de Espana # 1 on March 6th.