Jonas and I recently returned from Cyprus where we competed in the strangest but most fantastic road stage race of my life called Tour of Cyprus! The event was held from 25 to 28 March. It was a co-ed event with guys and gals racing elbow to elbow competing against each other. While we all challenge each other for the overall, the gals also had their own separate ranking which I obviously really appreciated.
But the co-ed aspect wasn’t the strangest part of the race. Instead it was the odd racing setup. Each day we would cover about 100 to 120 kilometers through the gorgeous mountains of Cyprus, but only a set portion of those kilometers were for actual racing. We’d ride some distance for a warmup, then race anywhere from 28 to 55 kilometers, and cool down afterwards for some more.
Before we arrived in Cyprus we didn’t really get the race setup so we assumed it was normal-style racing where you go full blast from the first to last kilometer, with some intermediate sprints along the way. On the first day, we quickly found out that we weren’t the only ones who didn’t realize the racing style. When we rolled out of Larnaca on our way to tackle 120km with 2700m altitude, the pace picked up to a ballistic level three minutes into the stage even though it was still another sixty kilometers before the actual race portion started. I remembered hearing something about a fifteen minute cutoff where if you don’t make it to the feedzones within fifteen minutes after the first guy arrives, you’d be relegated to the cyclotourist group that followed behind us on every stage. So we had no choice but to race the non-racing kilometers too even though it did nothing for our race result. (photos: 1st – view from feed zone held at a winery, 2nd – Team