Tom Southam Diary
Hold on a second, we have an injury.
race left to ride.
After a couple of days though I managed to get quite calculating with my efforts and stopped swearing at anyone who was stupid enough to inform me from the side of the road I had 'only' a couple of km to the top of the climb and concentrated on finishing getting to the end of the race alive.
I was quite satisfied then when I rolled up to the camion after finishing the last day in the bunch. I've always heard the horror stories from ex-pros and older guys of how they went through hell in such and such a race in their first year, coming in dead last everyday and generally struggling through. I was, fortunately for my ego never in real danger of being the last name on the results sheet but it's at times like this I wonder what I'm doing to myself. Sometimes racing can be so incredibly hard, hanging on at the back suffering like Paul Kimmage. At the end of the day though when I'm tucked up aching in the hotel bed I'm always happy in the knowledge that that is just how racing goes, some days are better than others. In a short amount of time it'll go the other way and it'll be me dealing out the pain to everyone else, and lets be honest what better feeling is there than when it's you tearing everyone else's legs off?
This was true only a week and one race later when I managed to put in a decent performance in what was I think as close as I've ever come to a home race. The Giro di Toscana one-day race ran within 20k of my new home in Sansepolcro and I even had a fairly decent sized tifosi complete with flags and the loudest air horn I've ever heard. This race was always a sort of target of mine, it's run off on the kind of undulating terrain that I thrive in, perfectly suited to a fast attacking race. After a lot of jumping around I eventually found myself out front with a decent group, which was just perfect but for one thing, the lack of a Colpack rider. At first this went unnoticed as our advantage crept up to a healthy couple of minutes, but soon I realized something was amiss when the time gaps started mysteriously sliding the other way. So much so I soon twigged we weren't going to make it, so after sneaking off to take the last G.P.M in front of the tifosi I resigned myself to another long day out front for sweet nothing. Eventually caught after the last climb 10km from the finish I dropped back and rolled in to the finish, only to bump into my mate Charly Wegelius, exhausted from a hard day on the front chasing like a mad man and so discovered just where loyalties lie in the pro peleton! Still I was fairly pleased with my turn of condition and went into my next phase of re-training