Alex Dowsett and racing in the rain

Just a few quick thoughts on the Giro d’Italia and racing in the rain. On Friday I saw Bradley Wiggins struggling on the descents. After crashing on a slippery descent, he took it gingerly down the remainder of the last climb losing over a minute to the leading contenders. As the cliche goes, it’s all still all to play for, but that minute will be tough to peg back in the mountains.


If I wasn’t a cyclist, I may have been shouting at the TV ‘Come on Bradley get a move on, why don’t you go a bit quicker’ But, after coming off the bike in the rain, the last thing you want to do is to get back on start racing down the same hills. I really emphasised with that awful feeling of cold, wet, pain, and lost confidence.

The time trial was another matter all together. After more bad luck in getting a puncture, Wiggins was back on form and powered away over the second half of the course.

Despite a puncture (and if you’ve ever had a puncture in a race, you know it costs you much more than 20 seconds.), Wiggins finished a creditable 2nd. Still on top of his form, but simultaneously dissappointed not to take more time out of his rivals. If Wiggins has been having a tough week, another British rider must be on top of the moon. For Alex Dowsett to win his first stage in a grand tour, must be very satisfying, especially because the course was really tough – far removed from a more typical British time trial up a dual carriageway, which he has been brought up on.

It was only two years ago, that I posted about Alex Dowsett. We both did the H25/8 Bentley course on the A31. He did 46.58. I was more than 5 minutes behind. (I Blogged about it here. Alex Dowsett 46.58) Two years on, Alex Dowsett is on the podium of the Giro d’Italia, and I was riding the West London Cycling Association on the A40 (H181/10)

Alex Dowsett

I was chuffed for Alex, and it is very nice to be able to say you’ve ridden against the fastest man in a Giro stage.

Back to riding in the rain. A big difference between amateurs and pros is that when it rains, the pro has to keep going – even if it is six hours of up and down Italian roads, seemingly sprayed with GT-80. But, an Amateur only has to look at a dodgy weather forecast and delay his ride until more suitable time.

Despite, the threat of rain, I still went out to Madley Primary school, the HQ for the WLCA 10 mile TT. Unfortunately, the race got cancelled because of rain and the spray. It was a tough call for the organiser. I definitely sympathise with his dilemma, especially because I’m organising a race on the same course next week. It’s not wimping out, but an awareness of the dangers we face racing on dual carriageways with diminished visibility.

So that’s another difference between amateurs and pros. The world is close, yet so far. I don’t think the people of David Cameron’s constituency would take too kindly to closing the A40 for a few hours so 30 cyclists can go up and down the Witney bypass in safety. Maybe in Italy, but not England.

So It was no cycling and back to watch the Giro on Eurosport.

GB one and two! I’m so proud Britain are good at time trials! Maybe next year we should some Italians over to race up and down the A31.

2 Responses to Alex Dowsett and racing in the rain

  1. Tricyklist May 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    You stopped a TT because of the risk of low visibility? I can never understand why you insist (in the UK) on riding outside the nearside white lines. i.e. In the same lane as the fast moving motor traffic!

    In Denmark cyclists ride inside the line for protection and to free the traffic from slow moving obstructions like us. These tarmaced lanes are usually the designated cycle lane on many busy main roads over here. The demarcation lines are treated with the utmost respect by drivers in Denmark.

    The only traffic you ever see using these “cycle lanes” are farm tractors with implements attached. The rest of the time no vehicle crosses the protective white line. For cyclists it’s rather like having an invisible force field for protection. How many more TT rider “rear enders” will you tolerate before sanity finally prevails?

  2. Al-Bo May 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    I imagine Dowsett’s not mad-keen on descending in the rain either. He’s a haemophiliac, which adds an extra dimension to already-justifiable downhill nervousness.

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