Before heading out on today’s run I wanted to catch the first stage of Paris-Nice on television. This is not the first stage race of the year but it is the first major stage race in Europe and France for the new professional cycling season and one that i’ve been looking forward to seeing.
Alberto Contador is back, Richie Porte is there, too, and Tom Dumoulin is racing with an eye on transforming his Vuelta surprise into a season of Grand Tour success. It should be a ripper and, with the first stage televised between 1:30pm and 3pm, I could watch all the big guns head out on the short time trial before heading out myself for a run in the late winter afternoon.
Jamie and I caught the last hour of the time trial and for a long time it looked like the Frenchman, Jerome Coppel, would walk away with it. Then, out of nowhere, a Spaniard and then a New Zealand rider managed to come over the top with some fast times. It got down to the big guns at the end and it was then that Orica Greenedge’s Michael Matthews brought home a beautiful chrono to set himself up as the fastest time, and as his compatriot Richie Porte failed to reel him in, Matthews was set to pull on the first yellow jersey of the race.
Nice one, Aussie.
The race will pass close to Lyon in a couple of days time as it winds its way south towards the sun but I won’t be there to watch it as I’m at work. Oh well, I hope to catch a stage of the Dauphine later in the year and try for a day or two of the Tour de France as well. There are always other races, right?
The goal of the run today was simply to get an hour and a half to two hours in on my feet. If I could keep things nice and steady somewhere around the 5:00 pace I have set myself for the Saint-Fons 6 Hour race, all the better. I wasn’t looking to push too hard, nor was I looking to break records. It is simply about getting the time on my feet in before another week of work inevitably intrudes.
I set off in a pretty normal way heading into the Parc de la Feyssine and following some nice singletrack along the boulevard. There was some sort of raid or orienteering competition taking place and I needed to adjust my route a little to avoid what seemed to be students from the engineering school nearby getting all muddy on the trails. Instead of looping back to the city centre at the end of the Parc, I continued on around the Rhone river and hooked into Villeurbanne, eventually following the Cours Emile Zola down to the town hall and towards Part Dieu.
Near Part Dieu I turned right and headed towards the Parc de la Tete D’Or. I passed about half a lap of the Parc and then exited through the Cite Internationale and crossed the Rhone at the footbridge. Shortly after I headed uphill to mount Saint Clair and cross into Cuire. The hill out of the way, I headed towards the Croix Rousse and what I thought would make for a nice somewhat downhill end to the run.
After about 19km I started getting a stitch in my side that, while not debilitating, was more than a little annoying. Not wanting to push myself too hard- that wasn’t the point, after all – I waited for the watch to tick over the 20km mark and then pressed stop. Hands on my head, I breathed deeply and walked the last five minutes home. The stitch disappeared pretty quickly and I was as happy as Michael Matthews to close out another week with a nice Sunday run.