I used to be confident at riding down mountains. I could take blind corners without touching my brakes leaning over further than moto GP bike. But ever since my crash at the Tour of Korea I have lost my nerve.
At the Tour of China we have two mountain stages. Both have a climb of over 10km before a long descent to the finish. I wasn't too worried about them except for the fact that it has been pouring rain for almost the whole week.
Maybe it's because I'm riding on tires that are 2.3cm wide. Maybe it's because those tyres have no grip and are pumped up to a rock hard 120psi. Or maybe it's because my brakes don't work when mixed with water. Whatever it is, I cannot take corners confidently in the wet.
Yesterday was the last mountain stage and it had a 35km descent to the finish. Leading up to the climb was a narrow winding road and in the wet, slippery conditions, I shuffled further back with every corner.
On the climb itself, I was alone and as I reached the top there was a thick fog that allowed me to see barely 30m in front of myself. This made the first part of the descent extremely difficult as there were hairpin turns and cliff edge drop-offs. I rode with my brakes on pretty much the whole time.
Once the fog cleared, I picked up some speed but still slowed down so much on the corners. This cost me some time and at the end of the stage it seems I was not the only one. There were huge time gaps through out the peleton with small groups forming everywhere.
Maybe I just respect my life too much?