CHARLIE Q UA RT E R M A N
T R E K-S EG A F R E D O
The cycling season is long. With this sport being so hard in both the training and racing, it’s not a surprise that as we approach the end of the season our bodies start to feel the fatigue in a more serious way, but the effect that it has on racing is interesting. Add in different contract situations, the timing of different goals, and the world championships for some, and it can feel like quite a strange peloton. For me I’ve had a couple of hard stage races that have had a big effect. The Tour de Pologne and Benelux Tour, both very hard seven-day stage races, have put me in some good form, especially for longer efforts, but they have both pushed down the heart rate I can manage on the bike and made it important for me to get more of a warm-up before I can really feel the legs in the way I want to. I feel I can manage a pretty high power for less effort once I’m going well now but I can also spend the first two hours of a training ride worrying a lot about whether or not I’ll be able to get even halfway through the intervals I have set.
I do, but the feeling of notcompletely-recovered legs from the start of every ride is difficult to deal with sometimes. I think the majority of people are in the same situation and that changes the racing. I’ve only done one race since the Benelux Tour but from previous experience, there’s often a bit more dead wood in the peloton. I mean that people who are too tired or lacking in motivation because they’re set for next year and just looking forward to the off-season.
Accelerations from corners are sometimes very slightly less violent. There are more conversations in the peloton going on throughout the race. I think there can also be more DNFs without reason, especially when the race finishes with a few laps of a circuit. Again, this is probably due to the contracts situation and maybe fatigue management. But don’t be fooled. The races are still incredibly hard. A lot of people see the end of the season as a big opportunity to take a result, and there is even more desperation among those without a contract. There are also enough people on form to make some moments full gas.
Maybe this year is special as well because the World Championships are in Belgium and there are a lot of people in my races that are interested. But races like the Benelux Tour have been completely full gas with some top riders who have a big point to prove. That suits me well for now. I am a bit tired but without a fixed situation and of course with the British national championships in mid-October, I’m pleased to have the races pushing my limits. In the build-up to a big opportunity, I’m trying to take any chances that come in these other great opportunities.