Julian Dean Diary
Well folks, it's going to be a hard one. I rode the course yesterday and it really is one for the real climbers. Pretty much it's a 12km in-the-little-chain-ring uphill with two12-15sec downhill pieces. We have to do it seven times with the first 80km flat heading out of the city to the circuit.
For a rider with my build, it's going to be a big ask to be there in the last time up the climb. Especially given that I'm finding it hard enough to breathe the crap air here without putting physical exertion into the mix.
What I do have in my favour is fear. Talking to a lot of the riders out there yesterday when we rode it, they are all afraid of how hard the course is and the climatic conditions. This can play into my favour as it might mean that the race won't be too hard until the final lap or so as a lot of guys will be too afraid to throw down the gauntlet too early in the race in case they blow a gasket. I know my condition is good and I've pulled up well after the Tour. In my mind, there is nothing to be afraid of. Due to the nature of the course, my only game plan can be to follow as long as I can all day. I don't have to attack or try and make the race any harder than it is going to already be. That will be for the stronger teams who have backed their top climbers to win the gold medal tomorrow. It'll be their job to control and force the tactics of the race.
Besides, as I've learnt from previous experience, anything can happen - it's the Olympic Games. Each country has a maximum of 5 riders, meaning the race is a little less predictable than normal. I believe anything is a possibility here and will have to try and fight on as long as I can and see what happens. It will be a process of elimination.
The Game's feeling all round has been a little odd. Around the city you can actually see places where the organisers have put up screens to hide the roughest parts of the city. I'm sure that in parts of China, there are people who don't even know the 2008 Olympics are on.
I'm not sure if it's just because I'm a little older and a little more aware but this time the feeling around the Games seems less about sport than ever before. Most likely it's just that my perceptions have changed. Not that this really affects me too much with regard to my race tomorrow. For me, I know what I have to do and how to approach it. So although I'm up against all odds tomorrow, like always I'll do the best that I can. That's all I ever ask of myself and whatever happens, happens.
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