Alex Zanardi newsletter 2010-06-15
I just came back from Spain where the first and only race of the Paracycling World Cup was held this year.
Bad weather was with us throughout the weekend and a bit of sun was present only on Sunday for the time attack race.
I am back with mixed feelings that I still have to decipher fully, but the more I think about this, the more reasons to be satisfied I find.
I went to Spain with very few certainties, I knew I already had challenged and beaten very strong athletes but always singularly and racing against only "blood stocks" would have been different, rhythms would have objectively been different and I did not know if I would have managed to stay with them until the moment that counts.
In the light of what happened I do not have this same doubt anymore and if I understood that when all strongest athletes in the world are present the race is bloody fast and who "struggles" is pushed to the back, I also understood that I am among the strongest athletes and they also have to compete against me.
In the line race on Saturday, at the first sprint I was short of breath, at the second I feared I would have not made it. When you move on unknown ground, the steps of people in front of you seem thousands of times steadier than yours, but things can be different...
At the third sprint, the six athletes, among which I also was, seemed to me to be less irresistible and at the fourth I told myself "Well, now you do not hurt me that much... you are human beings too!"
66 Km at alternate speed, after the first lap everything was as my friend Vittorio Podestà predicted and I did my bit preparing myself for the final sprint that timely arrived 300 meters before the finish line.
Too early! I thought.
I was precisely where I had to be, after the South-African Van Dyke that was "fighting" for the top in a tight head-to-head with the American ruling World Champion Oscar Sanchez.
I swear, I still had steam, but it just was too early. Everyone of us can manage an energy shot lasting just a few seconds and, while they were fishing from that precious energy spring, I knew I had it still intact and that it would have been untouched as long as I would have exploited their slipstream.
With 150 meters to go, when they would have started to fade away, I would have started and I believe this tactics would have worked. Unfortunately I will have to wait some more to check in full my potential in that circumstance. The German Norbert Mosandl, who was loosing ground behind Sanchez, probably tried to change trajectory aiming to get a better cover on my side.
I do not know how this happened, he said he had been pushed in turn, anyway, thing is that he inserted a lever in my rear posterior wheel and acted as a springboard making me fly and then tearing my wheel apart.
He fell together with me and the poor Dutch Rekeers that was following run over us.
The thing that added insult to injury was that, even if I crossed the finish line in fourth position (three athletes finished the race, three fallen and the rest of the group several minutes at the back), I was disqualified because I was helped to keep the necessary equilibrium to finish the last 200 meters on just two wheels!
I should also add that my wheel disappeared, someone nicked it making the epilogue of my race worth an episode of "Mr. Bean".
Never mind, the following day I brought home a fourth place in the time attack race that awards me, together with the first points valid for the participation to the next Paralympic Games, some unexpected joy.
Two Sundays ago, in Piacenza, I finished second in this category and that was due to the absence of opponents more than of real merits of mine.
I run the distance of 12.5 km at an average speed of 37,1 kmh and I discussed with my coach Fabrizio Tacchino on how to improve my resistance in that small time we had available.
Well, I'd like to thank Fabrizio for the advices and I record happily an unexpected leap forward; on Sunday, despite the strong wind and a track full of up and down hills of 21km in length, I increased my average speed to 39,2 kmh and, exception made for Sanchez who is in his own league, I finished only 12 seconds shy the second classified.
I am happy, it is a shame for all the points lost on Saturday but what remains is that I understood I have the "steam" to countercharge!
I finish by greeting my friend "Bebe" that last Sunday made people talk about her and for this reason I send her my biggest compliments.
Sooner or later I will tell you about her, even if I think most of you know her already, I will refer you to when I will have a picture with her to add.
A very big hug, Ciaooooooo. Alex Zanardi