PCM.daily banner
27-11-2021 15:05
PCM.daily
Users Online
· Guests Online: 31

· Members Online: 1
ember

· Total Members: 149,111
· Newest Member: Contador113
Donate
View Thread
PCM.daily » PCM Stories & Story Games » PCM 15: Stories
 Print Thread
The Life and Times | Axel's Army
jandal7
media.giphy.com/media/5sH12IxFNMmJi/giphy.gif
 
jandal7
S6B/E15
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Germany?

"Three more months, let's make it count."

So yes, that was Mr. Axel Merckx on the phone, and knowing him I won't mention he's the son of the greatest cyclist of all time Eddy Merckx. Wait crap. Nevermind. Hayden and I had secured a contract with a UCI licensed team, and it was just the greatest feeling on earth. I loved CR4C, and I still do (well, this only happened two years ago so it's not that sentimental), but you can't become a professional by staying amateur. That's literally impossible.

Meanwhile, Richie and Ollie had not got a contract (other than a standing offer of continuing in Roanne). It was a rough feeling with them having no contract and us off to the US next year. Of course, the phone could ring or an email could come into their inbox at any time. But they were a bit on edge, especially Ollie who financially wouldn't want to do another year at CR4C. Cad was off to the UK domestic/CT scene, and Schultzy was already at Etixx for his stagiare contract. But Hayden, Richie and I would see him just a couple of days later, at the 2.2 Tour Alsace. The most important race in France that July.

It's a 2.2 race but it's generally contested by young riders, and 2014 was no exception. Many riders you'll have heard about as an avid cycling fan, or will hear about in a couple of years if you're a casual one. Though I'm not sure why you're reading the tale of some Kiwi who isn't even in the WT if you're not an avid cycling fan - or my grandma.

Day 1 was flat and contested by a bunch sprint - behind two breakaway survivors. Hayden was fifth in the sprint and 7th on the stage, a good start. For me it was about staying calm and waiting to support Hayden in the hilly days on the Vosges foothills. They began to arrive on Stage 2, with two early Cat.1 climbs before a slightly hilly circuit. Hayden was again fifth in the bunch sprint, but with a successful late attack this was only good enough for 10th.

Stage 3 was getting into the real stuff with some medium mountains and Hayden was fully intent on going for the win. I kept with him until the final climb, where I handed him my last gel and looked back for a friendly wheel, which I found in Schultzy. We came in under a minute down, but up ahead Hayden ran my arch-nemesis (okay not really he always beats me and probably doesn't know my name) Mathieu van der Poel very close in the reduced bunch sprint, but just got beat into second.

The real reckoning came the next day with a punchy finish just 5km after the summit of the Grand Ballon, a feared climb featured many times at Le Tour (passed just two weeks earlier by Tony Martin on his way to a stage win in Mulhouse). Again I had to try and support Hayden for as long as possible, which turned out to be most of the way up the Grand Ballon, before an Etixx (not Schultzy, who I was proud to have beaten every day including today) upping of the pace saw me dropped and them launch two riders in a lead group of six. Hayden was in the next group and came 13th on the day to go 7th on GC, whilst I was still in the overall top 30, which was a pleasant surprise.

The final stage was pan flat and again some attackers spoiled the sprinters fun. Hayden was out of the top 10 but in it where it mattered. Another great GC for him as he worked on his climbing prowess. With Avenir coming up at the end of August it was looking like he was in shape at the right time.
 
jandal7
S6B/E16
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Wrong Saddle Blues

"."

"Come on Rich just a few Ks." I shouted, looking back over my shoulder at my struggling companion, trying to make myself heard above the howling wind and pounding hail. Little did I know that one of my friends was in much worse condition not far away.

"I can't... I f***ing can't." he replied, shaking his head and emitting a low moan. And fair enough. I knew the struggles an ill-fitting saddle could bring on a cold day - in these hellish conditions it must have been... well, extra hellish. I gritted my teeth. I was tired cold and god damn over this shitty weather, but I knew my place wasn't to complain or slow down or wring out my gloves. I had to bite down and get Richie home. We were at the outskirts of Roanne now. Finally.

In no time at all (I'm kidding it felt like eternity) we were back home and getting warm and dry. Well, I got dry and Richie won first shower. I had just lay down on the couch when I heard an urgent knock on the door. Nobody had pulled up in a car - the others weren't out biking. Who needed someone this badly they'd walk or bike in this weather. I got up and went over, and they just kept knocking.

"I'm coming!" I shouted, to a faint reply of "I'm not done yet!" from Richie in the shower. I opened the door, and stood before me, shivering, face wet from rain and tears was...

"Rose?" I asked, surprised.
Edited by jandal7 on 24-04-2020 06:52
 
jandal7
S6B/E17
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Duo d'Italia

"We knew we were fighting for the fourth spot at Worlds."

Next on the calendar - and our last Avenir warm-ups - were two tough Italian classics, both at the U23 level. First up was the 39esimo Gran Premio Sportivi di Poggiana -Trofeo Bonin Costruzioni-Gran Premio Pasta Zara, GPSdPTBCGPPZ for short and, surprisingly, GP Poggiana for shorter, which was almost a Flemish classic but without the cobbles and far more Italians.

i.imgur.com/fo1nyX5.png

A flat start, some very tough hills in the middle known for exploding the race and a nice long flat finish so a proper rider takes the win - or a sprinter after a dull race. Although you know I'm a cycling romantic, for Hayden's sake I was hoping for the latter - though our job was to make it hard enough to shell the pure sprinters. Joining us in a Kiwi national team were Richie, Ollie, Mac and Alex Frame.

Due to the exploits of Hayden, Dion Smith and James Oram we had earned four spots at the Worlds RR. With those three secured, we knew we were fighting for the fourth spot - with Mac and Frame as the likely favourites. I hoped to put in some big shifts in these races to get that spot, as I knew myself a better puncheur than Alex at least.

Obviously the Italian teams were doing most of the pace in the early going with their favourites - the biggest names Andreetta, Moscon and Ciccone. But the big favourite, having come 1st ahead of a trio of Zalf-Euromobil riders lead by Moscon three days earlier, was Robert Power - my age and ridiculously strong.

The race did indeed explode as a breakaway got away for the win in the undulating circuits midway through, including the mercurial Power, who rode a 35km solo to take victory. We stayed calm in the peloton behind and with the help of Zalf riders, chased down all but Power and one chaser as Hayden sprinted to a credible fourth in the pack. I drifted in 19th, dropped in the closing kilometres but not caught by any groups behind due to how spread out the race got. A tough race, but a pleasing result, and as our next best finisher and one of the top domestiques in the pack, I hoped I'd made a statement.

i.imgur.com/mXNEcjA.png

Next up was a very tough circuit race, the GP Capodarco, or the GP Capodarco - Comunità di Capodarco, which seems almost too brief of a name after the GPSdPTBCGPPZ. This one came down to the final climb, with 16 riders left in the peloton including myself and Hayden. Driven by Zalf, it seemed the Italians might get their win at last before Power reminded us of his threat with a big attack halfway up. Moscon, Ciccone, Giustino Haig and Hayden shot after him whilst the rest of us were left in the wake as, one by one, so were those who followed him.

Hayden came in third, winning a sprint against Haig, Ciccone and Giustino, five seconds behind Moscon but thirteen behind the supreme Power, who looked like an Avenir favourite. As for me, I faded to 18th, no bad result by any stretch of the imagination and enough to secure me the fourth Worlds spot - which may also have been helped by my assumed total loyalty and extra level gained when riding with Hayden.
 
Croatia14
Two solid rides surely, while Hayden is top class. Surely the Kiwis need a valuable domestique at the worlds!?
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

PCM.daily Awards:
Most Improved Member '16 // MG New Manager '16 // Thread of the Year (PCT Roundtable Analysis) '17 '18 '19 // Most Helpful Member '18 '19 '20 // MG Team of the Year (Isostar - Adriatic) '18 // MG Manager of the Year '18 '19 // Member of the Year '19
pcmdaily.com/files/Awards2019/moty.png
i.imgur.com/LIXbw59.png
i.imgur.com/X7eDBRB.png

RSM-news/PCM.daily 2019 DB Updates: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
PCM.daily DB 2020 Updates: 1 // 2 // 3
PCM.daily Expansion Pack for PCM20 Updates: 1 // 1.5 // 1.8
 
jandal7
@Croatia - Well they though they needed Joseph, so they took him at the end of the episode Pfft Hayden is looking in some very good form and class indeed Smile
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
Ian Butler
Wow, is this still running? Having a hard time recollecting the story after so many years, though, might have to go back to the beginning. Only 16 pages (you took a break in between?) so it's doable!
 
Ad Bot
Posted on 27-11-2021 15:05
Bot Agent

Posts: Countless
Joined: 23.11.09

IP: None  
jandal7
Ian Butler wrote:
Wow, is this still running? Having a hard time recollecting the story after so many years, though, might have to go back to the beginning. Only 16 pages (you took a break in between?) so it's doable!

Yes I think a reread is best - thanks for stopping by! Yes the last two years haven’t had a big break but more just sporadic posting - I hope that can change or the internet will die before Joseph retires - if I get to four years of writing and he’s still not PCT at least I’ll be very embarrassed :lol:
Edited by jandal7 on 24-04-2020 21:38
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
Croatia14
jandal7 wrote:
@Croatia - Well they though they needed Joseph, so they took him at the end of the episode Pfft Hayden is looking in some very good form and class indeed Smile


Ah, I thought that was also about his imagination - my bad Grin awesome!
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

PCM.daily Awards:
Most Improved Member '16 // MG New Manager '16 // Thread of the Year (PCT Roundtable Analysis) '17 '18 '19 // Most Helpful Member '18 '19 '20 // MG Team of the Year (Isostar - Adriatic) '18 // MG Manager of the Year '18 '19 // Member of the Year '19
pcmdaily.com/files/Awards2019/moty.png
i.imgur.com/LIXbw59.png
i.imgur.com/X7eDBRB.png

RSM-news/PCM.daily 2019 DB Updates: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
PCM.daily DB 2020 Updates: 1 // 2 // 3
PCM.daily Expansion Pack for PCM20 Updates: 1 // 1.5 // 1.8
 
jandal7
S6B/E18
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Flat-ish

"The start line of my second ever Tour de l'Avenir was almost as much of a thrill as the first time."

"What's going on Rose?" I asked as we sat back down on the couch. She shouldn't be here - in the country. I knew her plane tickets were for this afternoon after she wasn't picked for Worlds - we'd met last week to have a drink and say goodbye.

"I need to stay here tonight." she said through her tears.
"Of course." I breathed.


i.imgur.com/jduN4TE.jpg

Being at the start line of my second ever Tour de l'Avenir was almost as much of a thrill as the first one - especially the very cool start inside a Tour de France-style time trial hut thingy. The opening prologue was short and a bit punchy - good for Hayden who wanted to do well on GC, and he made a great start towards that, coming 14th just 12 seconds down. I came in 57th, 24 seconds back as Campbell Flakemore took the win for Australia.

i.imgur.com/PQxdSHG.jpg

A tough start to a flat stage on a crash-marred Stage 1, as we just hoped to stay safe in the pack where Dion, who flew over from the States last week, could sprint at the end. But it wouldn't be the expected bunch sprint as Kristoffer Skjerping won a three-up breakaway sprint, but Asbørn Kragh Andersen took the GC lead. Dion sprinted to 9th in the pack, and 12th on the Stage, whilst Hayden stayed safe on the same time. I went down during the stage but only nursed a few cuts and scrapes by the day's end.

i.imgur.com/eZFUR9N.jpg

An even tougher "flat stage" awaited on stage 3, as the final climb, coupled with earlier ones in the middle of the stage, caused a chaotic sprint. I was with Dion and Hayden and kept them near the front of the pack, with Dion taking over to keep Hayden safe over his own chances.

In a chaotic sprint which saw many time gaps, Hayden sprinted to a very impressive third, more than staying safe, he gained him 5 seconds on most GC contenders and confirmed his form. But, you'll never guess the rider who won ahead of him...

i.imgur.com/ZI9xFKs.jpg

i.imgur.com/ah6cIu1.jpg

Following on from that was a rather boring flat stage. I'd usually like to be in a breakaway on a day like today to spice it up, and believe me I tried then with me or Mac getting licence for it, but it wasn't to be for either of us. Instead my job was to keep Hayden safe in the finale, which I managed fine in a finally normal sprint finish, Dan McLay taking the win after Ewan suffered a mechanical and was left behind in the final positions on the day. Dion managed to follow wheels into sixth, another very impressive finish for us!

The next stages were the fun stuff (in theory) - four Alpine adventures where the pretender Kragh Andersen would be ousted by a climber - would it be the Aussie, Robert Power who had dominated us all in the Italian classics last week? I wondered this briefly as I tried to fall asleep in tomorrow's start town of Saint-Vulbas - but then realised I had to focus on my own GC contender - lightly snoring on the other side of the room.
Edited by jandal7 on 08-03-2019 08:20
 
jandal7
S6B/E19
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
That (Altitude Number) Escalated Quickly

"That's what Valverde probably said before Belkin put 13 minutes into him."

i.imgur.com/4e8KzoF.jpg

Ouch. I'm not one of the riders who won't know the stages in advance, the order, the history etc. - I'm a cycling nerd, basically. But opening up the stage profile that morning - ouch. Hayden told me it would only get harder over the next few days. Thanks, asshole. The rest of us haven't been in the top 10 of stage races all year.

So a fairly dull day for me to be honest - looking after Hayden until the foot of the huge summit finish of the Plateau de Solaison. As I did my best to stay enar in case Hayden bonked, Davidenok, a *cough* suprising *coughcough* Kazakhstani *hinthint* rider somehow *coughcough* beat the favourites at the top, with Oomen 3 seconds down the best of the GC men, and the man they called "Superman", the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez inheriting the GC lead thanks to a very good prologue. Hayden finished 12th, 1:33 down and ended up 13th on GC. I was 45th, finishing with Soren Kragh Andersen, brother of the now ex-race leader.

i.imgur.com/fo50bfT.jpg

An interesting stage this one, and we expected a non-event in the GC with two very tough summit finishes over the next two days. Well, I expected it. We can't ever say it's going to be a non-event in the GC today, because of "morale" and "overconfidence" and "that's what Valverde probably said before Belkin put 13 minutes into him". Now I write that down, I can't really fault the logic.

However, we did say that, on the very low chance that this was a calmer day, that this was a stage we could win with Hayden. We didn't have to keep the break in check, but I was keeping Hayden close to the front on the climb. No major GC action on the first half before it flattened out - so much so that I was still in the 40-odd strong peloton along with Hayden and Richie. All the GC men watched each other nervously, whilst a Belgian rider by the name of Teuns tried to sneak an attack in the final kilometre to avoid a sprint! Whilst not what we hoped for, Hayden acted on impulse and followed the Belgian, and with a nod of the head decided to co-operate. I fell back and couldn't watch the action up ahead, but I later found out this is how it went:

The GC men couldn't organise a proper chase and so the stage win was between Teuns and Hayden. They had to keep working but both of them seemed to be okay with hedging their bets in a sprint. And as you readers know, both of these men are regarded as prodigious puncheur-climbers in the cycling world - but Teuns had two years' experience and stamina on his side, and managed to dismiss my brother in the sprint. 6 GC seconds gained for Hayden - not enough to move his spot and although losing a two-up sprint on this stage must feel sour - though I was proud of him, and somewhere under there he must be proud of himself.
Edited by jandal7 on 08-03-2019 18:51
 
Ian Butler
No shame to come second in a stage like that Smile always sour to lose a 2-man sprint, though, totally understandable!
 
jandal7
Ian Butler wrote:
No shame to come second in a stage like that Smile always sour to lose a 2-man sprint, though, totally understandable!

Yep it's a great result in that field of future stars, and against a great rider in Teuns, who is also two years older. But it hurts, no doubt Smile
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
S6B/E20
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
That (Altitude Number) Escalated Quickly II

"The Alps have a special place in my heart."

“Be right back, I’m just going to call Lana.” I called. Met my a chorus of “oohs” from the boys and my brother jumping up to stop me:
“No you’re not.”
“Why?”
“Picture this Jojo. This goes badly, she screams and dumps you because you’re going to America - plus you’re stupid so you tell her you’ve known for two weeks, she burns that Canes top you left there, you jump off a-”
“Oh f-“
“You get the point. I don’t want this to affect the race.”

And he was right - I needed to put this out of my mind, which to my credit I did. But after the race, I would have a tough phone call to make. Because although this was "just" a fun fling for when I raced up North and could stop by, it had been going on a year and... well I really liked Lana. And those visits, if any, would be few and far between with my calendar next year. But that phone call was for another time, and alas, another episode.
________________________________________________________________________
i.imgur.com/bm7i4dT.jpg

Holy crap - two Cat.1s and an HC climb on the agenda today in just 108km. My legs still felt good after the last two days in the Alps, but they would take a beating today I was sure. What I wasn't so sure of was Hayden. This was perhaps the most demanding mountain stage we'd raced and he wasn't a pure climber in the mould of the yellow jersey Lopez. But we were still hopeful of a top 10 given his form, and Richie and I would damn well make sure we helped him in any way possible.

i.imgur.com/r05yp0g.jpg

Occasionally I manage to admire the views during a race - I try but obviously that's not what you're focusing on. But that day, the Cormet de Roselend took my breath away. I'm no stranger to stunning vistas in New Zealand, but the European Alps have found a special place in my heart since I moved here. Beautiful.

And yes, that is the leading group over the HC climb, and I was still in it with Hayden, and Richie as well. We knew our job was to recover on the descent and provide Hayden with whatever support we could on the lower slopes of La Rosiere.

And we did, with me dropping off rather early as the pace increased, then Richie at Montvalezan, where the gradient and tempo kicked up another notch. Hayden did find it tough going but made it into the top 10, 56 seconds down, and moved to ninth on GC! Richie was 16th at 2:26 down and in the top 20 overall, whilst I came in 26th and around the same spot on GC.

i.imgur.com/DnXrkIZ.jpg

And so it would come down to another mega day in the Alps, with a finish at La Toussuire after the Cat.1 climbs of Mollard and Croix de Fer. Hayden held a respectable top 10 and told us not to try anything fancy - there would be no dramatic attacks from him on such a tough stage, with none of us knowing when our legs might give out.

For me it was on the Croix de Fer - but no shame in that, as Hayden rode past the Iron Cross for which the pass is named with just nine other riders, as his top 10 on GC now looked secure. With two Frenchies and two Russians, as well as Hayden and some others who needed this gap to stay open, they wouldn't be seen again by the rest of us. Richie rode well in the next group, which would end up between six and eleven minutes behind as he secured a top 20 on GC, whilst I waited for the next group back in the valley road, containing the likes of Kung and Kragh Andersen as I looked for a potential top 25 on GC due to consistency.

Up ahead there was another dramatic battle between Power and Lopez, nearly inseperable throughout the race, but it was another Belgian, Louis Vervaeke, who stole the show by capitalising on the fight for GC, winning solo by over 30 seconds. In the end Lopez distanced Power, aided by the Russian duo, by three seconds as the Colombian won the GC by 30 seconds. Hayden put in an impressive show riding with the best of the rest, coming in 2:27 down, behind Latour and Buchmann but ahead of some of his rivals, as he moved to a final 8th on GC, with only one younger rider ahead of him. Richie and I would get our top 20 and 25 respectively to boot, and we were all elated with this result.

If Hayden - if we - could all do this is many of the youngest riders in the race - we weren't yet pro, but it felt so exciting, on this stage, doing this - our "real" cycling careers felt well and truly underway.
 
jandal7
S6B/E21
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Jura

♫ Ba-dee-yah, dancing in September ♫
• Earth, Wind and Fire

Just two proper races lay on our calendar between Avenir and the World Championships in Ponferrada, both in the yellow and blue of CR4C - an amateur criterium in the nearby town of Briennon, and the 1.2 Tour de Jura. In the former, well, we did this:

i.imgur.com/YWB9yPt.jpg

Yes, a pretty stunning 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, with Cad leading us home. Hayden and I were also in there. One of my favourite pictures of my time at Roanne, and it always brings back the nostalgia of that kit, those mates, and those criteriums in France. I loved that club.

But the bigger race in early September that year was the Tour de Jura, the Swiss Classic rather than the French stage race, largely attended by young riders, but not always - in the startlist that day were some older names, most notably Matthias Frank of IAM! Amazingly a Kiwi had won here before in 2005 - Glen Chadwick, most notably national champion in 2007 and with two GC podiums in the Tour of Utah. Some Kiwi cycling history for you there.

i.imgur.com/ejLZWSV.jpg

It was a cold and tough race, with just 50 finishers. Riding in the silver fern as this was a UCI race, I felt rather like showing it off as I had just a couple of chances left. But with Hayden surprisingly mentioned as a favourite after his Avenir exploits, I knew that had to be priority numero uno.

Luckily, as we approached the final two climbs in a group of just 17 formed by wind and the earlier climbs, I spied a chance to do both. After a quick chat with Hayden, I attacked hard at the bottom of the penultimate climb, shelling some riders, gapping the pack and bringing fellow amateur Quentin Bernier with me. We made it to the top with a small gap to the pack, and I lead the descent to open that gap up a little more. We worked well as we passed through Porrentruy to the finish line. Time for one more look ascent, as Hayden enjoyed a free ride in the group behind.

On the climb I managed to drop Bernier but I was passed by some riders towards the top, and unfortunately couldn't hold on. Luckily, Hayden was one of five riders now competing for the win, as I was caught by the other 7, including Bernier, over the top.

I ended up eighth, in the sprint for sixth, whilst up ahead Hayden went toe-to-toe with his rivals on the uphill drag to the line. And what they may not have realised - but I sure did - is that that was exactly what he wanted when we talked before I attacked. He was fresher and faster than anyone there and convincingly won his first ever professional race!

i.imgur.com/n3j7SFB.jpg
 
jandal7
@ALL - I wonder if the Vaillenos boys may get a mention in my story's version of this tweet Pfft
S6B/E22
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Ponferrada

"Our fourth worlds - kind of unbelievable!"

And so we came to Ponferrada on the back of the win, with four riders and two contenders, in our eyes, in Dion and Hayden. We decided the former was for the sprint, the latter was for the last climb, and James (Oram, fresh off a top 10 in the ITT) and I were for helping them with whatever they needed for the preceding 170km - or more. We privately thought we had a pretty strong squad, but there were some very strong riders here.

i.imgur.com/zeq3lGp.png

We managed to stay in the peloton as it was reduced over the many laps of the Ponferrada circuit, and when we came into the final Confederation ascent I brought Hayden to near the front in case he wanted to respond to any moves. but no desirable moves left, and so we came to the final ascent of the Mirador in the peloton, not far behind the lone leader, Ramirez of Colombia.

i.imgur.com/Ymcljn6.jpg

On the Mirador climb, one of our "riders to watch", Sven Erik Bystrom from Norway attacked, and Hayden was right on it as the race spread out in the Spanish sun. Hayden wasn't on the wheel of the Norwegian but was with the likes of Power and Teuns. I tried to stay near the front of the peloton in case it split, and found myself in the wheel of a powerful Colombian named Gaviria - you may have heard of him - as James and Dion stayed back in the pack.

Over the top, the favourites bar Bystrom were back in the peloton, Gaviria attacked and for a second, I followed. But I tapped on the brakes - not the best technique I know - and I was at the head of the pack. I turned my head, saw Hayden watching waitfully, and I put on the gas. I was always scared of my lack of specialty - but I knew I could descend.

I gave it my all on that descent, and by the bottom I had brought back Gaviria, but at the bottom Bystrom still remained ahead - three years older and a tough rider, this would be hard, especially as all my legs wanted to do was stop. By this time there was just a kilometre left and I was exhausted. I looked behind and shouted in desperation, "come on!" at those behind me. Nobody could do it. James was at the back of the peloton. I wasn't getting the gap down - and neither could anybody else. So I went as hard as I could, until 700m to go when I was done. I watched on the big screen as Bystrom crossed the line in jubilation, whilst six seconds behind Ewan crossed in second, with Dion in sixth and Hayden in ninth. Not the result we came for - but not bad either. And I learned on the biggest stage I could at that time, how to swallow that bitter pill of when nobody can or will help you, and the attackers slip away.

Full credit to Bystrom though - a fantastic performance on the climb, descent and finish from a very strong rider. He'd been top 10 at both major Norwegian tours - a true feat of toughness for an U23 rider. We were a little disappointed, but we ended up with 4 in the top 40, and all four of us available for Richmond next year. And two in the top 10 - well, New Zealand's future was bright.
Edited by jandal7 on 13-03-2019 08:51
 
jandal7
@ALL - So... it's back Pfft Don't know if anybody is still interested after over 4 years without pro racing, and 10 months without any new posts, but I am. If you are, I'd recommend a re-read as I made in the last couple of days (you can skip a lot of the early stuff though, it's shit Pfft) for the sake of following going forward, and also a big thank you for still being interested Pfft Nothing like a visit to Joseph's hometown to give me a bit of motivation to return to this story I guess! I still have been thinking about this despite not writing and adding to my outline of the whole story, and hopefully it is back for good here.

Not sure about the first half of this, it's what originally caused the hiatus by not being something I'm super confident writing about, but also being important to the storyline I put together. Hopefully it's fine Frown

S6B/E23
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Girls II

"I can't confess I'd ever been good with this kind of stuff."

I looked out across the farmlands and drew a deep breath. What was I meant to say to her? I had to say something...

"Rose... it'll be alright, you know. Not alright, sorry, but safe. Your brother, my dad, they'll both be at the airport and-"

"Yeah thanks Jay." My companion said in a small voice. Rose blinked back tears in the passenger seat. It was three days since she had turned up on my doorstep, needing a place to stay having abandoned her flight after the news that her mother, Sonia Adams, 47, had died in a school-holiday traffic accident. I couldn't help replaying our conversation later that night in my mind. I felt sick and like I wanted to cry, but I couldn't well do that right now. Not with her next to me, feeling any of my emotions and a billion times more.

i.imgur.com/OWFg2tq.jpg

She told me a tale of which I previously could only guess pieces. An all too typical tale in New Zealand, of domestic violence. The alcoholic father, physical and verbal abuse. She told me if it wasn't for her mother she'd have ran away and left that piece of shit behind. Her and her brother each spent time away pursuing their ambitions (her brother, a ski instructor, took a part-time job during winter in Wanganui and the summer off in Canada), and the other time protecting their mother. Rose didn't want to go back to just her father and brother, but eventually resolved to go back for the funeral and stay with my family.

I looked across at Rose. So strong, stronger, it seemed, than I'd known, but right now... well, I can't imagine I'd fare any better. I moved my right hand to her left, and tried to give a comforting squeeze. I can't confess I'd ever been good with this kind of stuff, but I couldn't do nothing, I felt.


"Hey, Joseph. How are you?" Lana Lacroix sounded tired on the other end of the phone.

"Uh, yeah, good. And you?" Said I.

"Fine."

"Cool. Hey, listen, I'm in Tours next week and I cou-"

"Now is... not a good time, Joseph." she said, her words placed delicately but with the weight of a grand piano.

"Oh right." I heard myself say, whilst I tried to take in this unexpected reply. "Well it's just I'm lea-"

"I'm sorry but I can't."

"Oh." Beat. Beat. I sighed and rubbed the bridge of my nose nervously. "Well the thing is Lana, I'm... I'm not coming back. I'm going to-"

"America." she supplied. "I read about it." Silence fell on both ends of the line.

"Shit." I murmured in English. "Sorry. I kept putting off telling you, I..."

"Save it." she said, not unkindly, but it still stung.

"I am though." I said, leaving it at that. Until: "Wait, that's not why you don't want me to come?"

"No... I am sorry too, Joseph. I just... can't." I didn't understand. With every sentence, I felt an awful knot forming, in between my chest and stomach.

"So this is it?" I asked, my voice somewhere between desperation and devastation.

She paused, and I got the sense she was about to say more. But all I got, delivered with a slight waver in her voice, was "Bye, Joseph." A beep told me that the call was over. It was over. Wasn't it?

Yes, I thought, as my hands hovered over my phone, longing to text her, it was. I could never put into words what Lana and I actually were, and I had the nasty feeling now, which had been bubbling in the back of my mind for a while now, that if we both tried we'd come up with very different answers. She was the charming, teasing girl in the red dress and the poppy field, a slice of heaven separated from my day-to-day life, a figure to be chased, never to come to me. What was I to her? A toy, the cyclist who comes around once every couple of months for a...

I stopped myself before I truly spiralled. There was no use in this thinking, it was just my self-doubt, and besides, what's done is done, I thought. But, looking down at her smiling photo on my phone, and feeling a familiar twang from my heartstrings, I realised just how very much I didn't want it to be done.

i.imgur.com/2bCxiJj.png
 
Croatia14
Very intriguing way to be back...
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

PCM.daily Awards:
Most Improved Member '16 // MG New Manager '16 // Thread of the Year (PCT Roundtable Analysis) '17 '18 '19 // Most Helpful Member '18 '19 '20 // MG Team of the Year (Isostar - Adriatic) '18 // MG Manager of the Year '18 '19 // Member of the Year '19
pcmdaily.com/files/Awards2019/moty.png
i.imgur.com/LIXbw59.png
i.imgur.com/X7eDBRB.png

RSM-news/PCM.daily 2019 DB Updates: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
PCM.daily DB 2020 Updates: 1 // 2 // 3
PCM.daily Expansion Pack for PCM20 Updates: 1 // 1.5 // 1.8
 
jandal7
@Croatia - Didn't want to just come back after 10 months with a race report Grin Have to hook people back onto the off-the-bike storylines (and maybe trigger a reread of the last couple of seasons Pfft)

S6B/E24
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Piccolo

"Oh ha ha."

“Those things will kill you, y’know” I said, only a quarter-joking, to my older brother as he leant up against the outside of the motel in northern Italy, a cigarette in his fingers.

“Yeah, I know.” he said, slightly annoyed.

“I thought you’d stop-“ I began, not wanting to nag, but also knowing it wasn’t the 40s anymore and a pro cyclist shouldn't really smoke.

“Oh quit it.”

“Why don’t you?”

“Oh ha ha.” he rolled his eyes. “I just read on the forums that more rumours are coming out around the doping ring stuff. I mean it’s good if it’s true, it just… stresses me out.” he finished. We’d long since taken different paths on his use of cigarettes, and though I wasn’t naive enough to believe some athletes didn’t, I would rather Hayden wasn’t among them.

“You should stop reading those. In a few years they’ll be about you.” I smiled, not in the mood for a serious chat.

“Well, not if I keep using these every once in a while.” Hayden deadpanned, flicking it into the bin.

“Oh ha ha.”


i.imgur.com/awXfwLL.png

Our third baby monument of the year, the Piccolo Giro di Lombardia was also our penultimate race of the season, and one Hayden desperately wanted to win over his rivals, who he had spent much of the year playing second fiddle to. Teuns, Ciccone, Latour, Moscon (urgh) - not all of the major names but at least the European ones. None of that quintet were in the best of shapes, although nobody was after a long season. However it was nevertheless no surprise to see Hayden, Teuns, Latour and Moscon escaping the front group over the final climb. I was a few minutes down by then, cruising in the 30s.

Up ahead, Latour was dropped over the top, though he always stayed close. Normally I would make Hayden favourite here, but he just had nothing left in the tank. Once again he had to cede a sprint to Dylan Teuns, however it was Moscon who came on top in a low-speed sprint on the final straight in Oggiono. I arrived with Richie five minutes after, but didn't catch Hayden until after the podium ceremony.

"Third in the mini Lombardia, not bad bro." I smiled at him.

"Should have won from there" he grimaced, a thought I knew he'd never share in public, but if he had told me any different I would have known instantly it was a lie. "Though, if the rumours are to be believed, I'll be bumped up to second sometime in the future." he said in a low voice, with a dark glance at Gianni Moscon.

i.imgur.com/4nNT21D.jpg

And yes, the rumours were, as you well know, right. But I'm getting ahead of myself - that's a story for another episode and another season. Right now, I have to finish telling you how I left Roanne for good, to take the step up to the peloton proper. Finally.
 
jandal7
@ALL - Finale time. Brings to a close two huge years in Joseph's career, and three (!) years of this story!

S6B/E25
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Sweet Sorrow

"A silent end to our career at CR4C."

Our last race of the season, the Paris - Tours Espoirs, sadly passed with little incident. As a breakaway group fought for the win (eventually taken by Mike Teunissen in a sprint), Hayden fought for scraps back in the peloton, finishing 11th in the end as I drifted home somewhere behind him. A silent end to our career on the bike at Club routier des 4 Chemins de Roanne, the club I so loved.

Parting is, as they say, such sweet sorrow. We packed our bags not long after that and left the flat, and then the club house. I said goodbye to Cad, a good friend, and a great teammate on the bike. I shook hands with Sebastien, my moustachioed manager, and bid him a fond farewell. I couldn't well enough express my gratitude to him. He had taken me from a unsure 17-year-old to an assured young man and cyclist, on the path to the pro peloton.

The life and sporting lessons, the friends, the teammates, the memories and the experience of Roanne was such a huge part of my life and career, and these two blue-and-yellow years are ones I'll treasure for a lifetime. Thank you CR4C for everything.

i.imgur.com/uhNV4K1.jpg
i.imgur.com/Yw59hsD.jpg

Joseph Vaillenos Will Return
 
Jump to Forum:
Similar Threads
Thread Forum Replies Last Post
[Free Agent] Axel Zingle [Man-Game] Transfers: Free Agents 1 10-09-2021 00:23
Lefevere's Blue Army | S3 | Tour de France PCM 18: Stories 461 16-06-2020 15:15
[DELETED] A breakaway life PCM 18: Stories 9 17-02-2019 16:41
Life in Obscurity 2: Currently on hiatus PCM 15: Stories 60 18-07-2018 17:44
Any cyclist who is better or worse in the game than in real life Pro Cycling Manager 2006 11 15-12-2017 11:03
Login
Username

Password



Not a member yet?
Click here to register.

Forgotten your password?
Request a new one here.
Latest content
Screenshots
Cancellara attacks in Spa
Cancellara attacks in Spa
PCM10: General Screenshots
Fantasy Betting
Current bets:
No bets available.
Best gamblers:
bullet roturn 4,951 PCM$
bullet df_Trek 4,749 PCM$
bullet baseba... 4,663 PCM$
bullet jseadog1 4,500 PCM$
bullet fintas 4,320 PCM$

bullet Main Fantasy Betting page
bullet Rankings: Top 100
ManGame Betting
Current bets:
No bets available.
Best gamblers:
bullet df_Trek 4,400 PCM$
bullet Marcovdw 4,300 PCM$
bullet jseadog1 4,300 PCM$
bullet baseball... 4,300 PCM$
bullet fintas 3,600 PCM$

bullet Main MG Betting page
bullet Get weekly MG PCM$
bullet Rankings: Top 100
Render time: 0.61 seconds