Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tour Feminin - The Rest

Day 3 & 4 -

21k (Actual 18.5k) ITT - Bogyatnia, Poland

So the morning started with all the teams having to depart the race hotel at the same time as we were crossing the borders of Germany and Poland under Police Escort to ensure no need for Passport Checks which meant we were at the start with plenty of time. As I was one of the last riders on GC, I was off pretty soon after the start.

I felt OK in the warm up, not great, but not terrible. Did a lap of the course and found it to be hot, windy, hilly and most of the road surface was appalling. Oh well, it was the same for everyone.

The team kitted me up with an Aero Helmet, Disc Wheel, and even tried to find a TT bike for me but the only one they had spare was too big, so we went with the road bike. At least I looked the part! Bike check done, and got to the start ramp in plenty of time.

Took off with Lukas following me in the team car, and instantly new it was going to be a loooooong TT. I had nothing in my legs. I don't normally do very well in TT's, but this was just going shockingly bad. I got my HR up reasonably well, but I just couldn't push any gears.

Made the turn around, and still had nothing, so just focused on finishing.

Jarmila did really well and posted a top time, Gabi a little faster than me, and me... DFL. Haha! First time I've ever been Dead Last in anything that I can think of!

Lunch in Poland followed by a couple of hours rest at the race hotel where I had time to have a cold shower to try and cool myself down a bit, which was proving difficult.

Road Race - 104k - Start/Finish - Rumburk

The course profile basically had 13k uphill, 13k downhill, repeat x 4. As I'm finding with this race though, the course profile wasn't quite right. It was more rolling up and down, with some stupid steep climbs again. With the race set to start at 4pm, it was going to be a scorcher. As it doesn't get dark here till around 10pm, mid to late afternoon is usually the hottest part of the day. Reports are that it was 44 degrees standing in the sun on the start line, with the race being about 39 with heaps of humidity.

This was the first time that I'd got the start line thing right. 2nd Row, just behind all the jerseys. WOO! Hopefully I could hold my position.. Yeah didn't happen. We started the race on Cobbles, and trying to clip in quick on cobbles proved rather difficult!! Maybe something I should practice.. Oh well, back to the middle/tail end of the bunch where I belong!

The first 8 or 9k went ok. I didn't feel great, but I was hanging in there, and then the Hill Premie (QOM) came up out of no where. When the road really went up, I imploded. Like I never have before. It was more that I spontaneously combusted from the heat. I was cooked, and try as I might over the next few k to hang on to any wheel I could to continue on, I couldn't and my mind gave up on me. When I saw Alesh handing out bottles, i crawled to the right side of the road and all but fell off my bike. My tour was over.

As I lay on the side of the road in the shade, pouring ice water over myself, I was kicking myself for not continuing on. I know it was weak, and I knew the race would be hard, but at the time I'd done all I could. Hindsight makes me think there was more I could have done, but at the time it was over.

Day 4

Road Race - 98km Start - Varnsdorf, Finish - Krasna Lipa

Today was a lovely day for me and a couple of the other girls that were out of the tour. The race was starting in the town we were staying in, so we rolled to the start with the super cool Rapha All Start chicks, watched the start and then headed off after the convoy for an easy cruise on the course. An easy cruise isn't so easy with some of the terrain around Krasna Lipa, including the fact that we went up the dreaded Vapenka climb 2 times and did 700m of climbing in 50k, but we literally just rolled along actually getting to enjoy the beautiful scenery! The heat wasn't even a bother as we weren't racing..

We went to the top of the Hill Premie to cheer the girls on over the hardest part of the course which proved perfect. To see the front of the pack going over that climbing looking like they weren't even puffing was amazing. The levels of fatigue by the top of the hill as you went through the peloton was apparent, and by the 3rd time up the climb the front bunch had dwindled to about 20. We rolled down to the finish after most of the bunch had gone past and that was us done for the day!

So that was the Tour over.. Trixie Worrack, Ex World Champ, dominated. She won every stage and overall.. From 170 starters, there were 105 finishers.

I had an awesome time racing with the Dukla Praha team.. They looked after me from the minute I arrived in Prague until the time I left.. I can't wait to go back again next year!!

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