Once in a group big enough, that wasn't going uphill, I was feeling strong and contributed to the chase back to the leaders. Soon enough however a pro team from the UK took over the chase and we were on our way back and I was just relaxed in the wheels. Then for the 100,000,000 (more realistically 7th) time this year I flatted in a race. I rode about 10 km on this flat thinking where is the next group and the broom wagon? They caught me eventually and the broom wagon was gesturing for me to get in, I was like "no way, give me a wheel please sir!" (just I was way more nasty and cuss'd and in quebecois). Thankfully during this exchange an unmarked van pulled up and put a wheel in my bike, it was a parent of one of my teammates there to follow the race, I guess I do have some luck. I used my frustrated energy to catch the group that was about a minute ahead and I got to enjoy my first real groupetto experience. I already had a teammate there and not many others were giving much help. We rode up the 10km wall to the finish and we all made the time cut.
The next day I was happy to make it over the first climb with relative ease. In the groupo compacto heading to the last climb my teammate Stef and I took our climbers to the front and led them out for the last few km's. I was totally cramped and even had to stop for a stretch but somehow managed to make the finish in time.
By day 3 I knew the drill and what to expect of myself. I relaxed and didn't put too much effort into getting into the break. After the 2nd climb though I was feeling so good I tried to roll away on the descent and it worked. 4 riders bridged up to me and then we dropped 2 of them on the next climb and the 3 of us rolled together and got pretty close to what we thought was the lead group but we didn't know was that the lead group had split long ago and we were actually catching up to the 2nd group on the road. After 50km like this the dream ended and the peleton caught us. I went back to domestique duties and did a little bit of bonked pacing to the finish as well as getting bottles from the cars of rival teams as our car was still up the road with Dimitri in the break away. Then with 10km before the final climb a spoke on my rear wheel fell out and it was rubbing the brakes really hard. The lotto car was still up the road and this 10 speed wheel I was forced to borrow was not co-operating with my 11speed bike. By the time I got back to the roaring pack our car was back and I changed wheels again. Chasing there and back, there and back, being in a break and doing domestique work all hit me hard and I am sure you know what comes next. I cracked. I cracked super hard on the 12km climb to the finish and even blacked out for a few seconds just after the line. You would think it was some summer students from St.John's ambulance who had come to France for how big of a deal they made it out to be but it was pretty obvious what the problem was. I just kept saying "I'm fine, I'm just not used to racing like this, I just need solid food". It's bike racing, people crack, especially after 7 hours in the saddle in the mountains stop trying to give me and IV bag and put a wet towel on my head. I slept well that night.
|bee sting protocol at St.John's|
I will write a post about the Canadian Championships in the coming days. I napped on my first day over, breaking the strict 9pm rule of Jet Lag and I have been messed up for a week! Not fun, soo tired.