Learning from an old pro

At last week’s Killarney sufferfest (the weekly PPA Killarney Crit) I had the privilege of learning from a good friend of mine and ex road professional, Hasi. Hasi (Rene Haselbacher) was a professional for 13 years in the European peloton and spent the time plying his trade on teams such as Gerolsteiner and Astana. Hasi and I have done a number of mountain bike stage races over the last year together but on Wednesday I was fortunate enough to spend an hour ‘racing’ with him on the road.

The wind wasn’t as strong as previous weeks and this saw a larger group come into the finish. I found Hasi’s wheel with two laps to go and did my best to make sure I didn’t lose it. I came close on occasion and had to squeeze through a tight gap in the peloton here and there, but all went well.

Unfortunately I botched the sprint a bit after Hasi dropped me off in the pocket with about 800 metres to go. I went too early and couldn’t match the surge that came through to the line and came over in sixth place. I was buzzing with the excitement of following Hasi through the final and wasn’t too disappointed with the outcome of the day.

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Killarny

Image Credit: Ash Smit

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On Sunday morning I lined up for my last foray on South African tar. It was the final event in the Western Cape League, the Medallion Tour de Stellenbosch. I felt good going over the Helshoogte Pass and, venturing into a strong looking break of six riders, I sat in and tried to save my legs for the sprint. A one-kilometre drag followed by a false flat would bring the bunch to the line. I had a decent position coming into the line but lacked the punch needed for a result on the day and finally came over in around 10th position.

I am learning more with every sprint but still need to learn a fair deal before I can become consistently competitive. Nonetheless I am enjoying it and can see improvement each and every race. or at the least take something away from it that I have learnt.

Over the next few days I’m going to be packing up my bags and jumping on a plane bound for Greenville in the USA! My next post will come from the other side of the Atlantic so until then, ciao.

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Helshoogte

Image Credit: Team Intellibus

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