Thursday, October 20, 2011
Well, a kick up the pants from a good friend, followed by a week of training where everything seemed to click, and 2 days before the tour I was all of a sudden envisioning a decent result.
And what a tour it was! The biggest Tour of the NRS for all the girls who’d been training and racing all winter. 5 days, and whilst they were all short stages, it made for fast and furious racing.
I’m not going to give blow by blows or results, they’re on cycling news & cycling central for you to read about.. Although I will brag about my team a bit, seeing as though we WON!
Stage 1 – 60 sets of fresh legs, nerves & enthusiasm to go well on the first day resulted in silly crashes, followed by poor decisions to let riders take a lap out on a 6k course! I felt good, I had a little air time off the front, unfortunately no one wanted to go with me and they just brought me back, and I finished safely in the bunch.. That was a win in itself! Loren got 3rd and set herself up nicely for the rest of the tour.
Stage 2 – Tight, Twisty, Windy crit in Belmont. Stuffed up the bottom sweeping corner EVERY single time. Expected lots of crashes, but due to the pace the field size was reduced early on. One big ugly crash in the main straight, but everyone mostly ok. Again, managed to keep it upright and finish with the front bunch which was another win for me, and Loren sprinted her way to a win and in to the Red Leaders Jersey! Very happy day. Started me thinking that maybe I’m not as bad at crits as I once thought!
Stage 3 – Team Time Trial. Dreading this day. We were all to give it everything to keep Loren in Red. I was 2nd in the formation, on a Road Bike with no clip ons or Aero gear, with everyone else in my team either on TT bikes with Disks, or at least having clip ons and TT Helmet. I was intimidated, I was scared, I was nervous.. Pulled my first turn and BOOM. Dangling off the back just giving it everything I could to even get on. Tried to recover, couldn’t, these girls are seriously FAST. After a few k, things started to get better, and I knew I had it to start helping out. This was just before the descent to the turn around, so when we hit the hill after the turn around and a wheel was dropped, I went around, felt ok, and knowing I hadn’t helped at all yet, I knew I had to do a turn. Rookie mistake was going around far too fast and hurting the other girls who’d been working their guts out all the way out. In the end, that resulted in there only being 3 of us for the ride back, which meant I could NOT get dropped. We needed 3 for the time. Fair to say I’ve never come closer to puking on a bike as in the final 3k of that TT.
We came 4th by a few seconds. Probably my fault.
We lost the Red Jersey. Probably my fault.
But in the end, these things do happen, it’s a learning experience for me, I didn’t do it on purpose, and we had to move on.
Stage 4 – The Queen Stage - Arthurs Seat. 35k of Tailwind, ripping along, then a couple of k of headwind followed by THAT climb. I felt good again. I didn’t understand it, but I went with it. The first hill – Red Hill – it hadn’t seemed so bad in the car when we pre drove the course. Well, when they’re drilling it on the front up the climb, it’s friggin hard. Managed to just hang on to the back of the front bunch, and after that I knew I’d make it to the climb with them. The attacks went at the bottom, and I waved byebye.. Just wanting to get up as quick as possible. Cheer squads calling out my name at every look out point, and team manager Dave on the SRAM bike at various points on the climb helped a lot! Turns out it was my quickest time up there! 4 days in to a Tour! Happy days. Loren climbed Awesome and rode herself back in to 2nd place.. Only 4 seconds off the lead. The tour was ours for the taking.