Thorsten Askervold’s Latest Update From France – Stage Racing!

Time trialing to 5th place in Essor Breton

 

A wet finish on Stage 2, Essor Breton

Tête de la Course athlete Thorsten Askervold sent a recent update from his time racing in France. Enjoy!

 

A few weeks ago I had a really big block of racing. I had two stage races in one week (a total of eight races). The first stage race was “Essor Breton” 4 days of racing but 5 total races. One thing I’ve been curious about about coming into this season was my ability to time trial. A week before Essor Breton our team had a team time trial (my first ever) I felt amazing, and our team managed to get 5th. This was also my first year having a good TT bike (which is awesome). So going into Essor Breton stage 3, the first individual TT of the year I was excited but nervous… and I surprised myself by getting 5th on the stage and only seven seconds off of the podium. Effort management has always been a bit tricky for me. I know with some practice I can improve a lot on it. Yet I was still really happy about my performance, and how I’ve been growing as an overall racer in general this year.

 

Later that day we had a road race (stage 4). The race course had many turns on small roads and was fairly hilly. On a sunny day it would be a technical course but since we were in Bretagne it was pouring down rain, cold, and very windy (lots of cross wind sections) which made the course even more “interesting”. The first 80% of the race I felt pretty crappy but after fighting to stay in the front and avoiding crashes I found myself feeling good in the last 20km and managed to get 10th on the day. I made a mistake on my positioning in the final kilometer but that is part of the process – trying to learn something from every race and use that to improve for the next one.

 

As the racing season goes on I’ve been improving every week and I’ve already learned so much, whether its about positioning, tactics, fueling for races, trying to be in the right places at the right time and learning how my training fits in with the increase racing load. These are things that  I never really learned in the US due lack of racing for me and opportunity. This year in France I’ve already done more races than I did in the last 2 years combined in the US, and the season doesn’t end here until October. I am super grateful that I ended up here because I’m learning so much about racing and training and I’m gaining so much experience every week. Add to this the fact that the racing is longer and more intense which also building my capacity at the same time. Going into stage 5, my director and I talked and decided that I should only do part of the race because I had the next stage race two days later which started with a 22km TT and was three days of racing. My director felt that it was best that I get some recovery in between, so I sat in and pulled out of the race three hours in when we entered the final circuits of the race.

 

I then started to get my mind ready for the next race, (Boucles-Nationales-du-Printemps) a three day race with a opening TT and two very windy and slightly hilly road races with a lot of very small roads on top of it. I was a bit tired going into the next race but did my best to ignore it, and I managed the TT in 9th place which I was a little bummed about because I know I was capable of doing better. I just started the TT too conservatively. At the end of the stage race I finished 11th In GC. On the last day I had a teammate in the final break and two guys managed to slip just in front of me in the overall. But it was all a great experience. I’m always learning new things about myself. I now know that I am capable of time trialing, I know that I can sprint, and I am also able to get myself over rolling climbs and do well on hilly courses. This year has been so great for building as a racer and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the season brings me.

 

Next up for me is a week long trip to the Alps with a teammate to do some training. It is my first time in the Alps and I am really looking forward to it.

– Thorsten

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