Friday, March 23, 2007

Tuesday - Stage 6

Today was the last day - a 55k race that included a 14k finish climb with extended sections of 15%+ grade. My stomach felt better in the morning. I had not come this far not to finish - I just needed the energy to do it. During the 100k race the day before I had eaten a cracker and 100 cal of Gatorade. I ate Wasa crackers and tuna (again, mass intake of heavy metals not top of list as nutritional concern) for breakfast. We drove to the start line which was literally at a gas station on the side of a 4-lane road. I was worried I might not make it up - bought a Coke and Snickers bar (you might recognize this as a dire measure on my part) at the gas station. Sat there on the curb waiting for the start. Warm-up schmorm-up. Kathleen was going to go for it on the climb, Hiroko too if she felt ok. Andrea and Mandy were going to light up the race, make it hard going into the climb. Jorge asked for a volunteer for a suicide attack off the line. I was so mad about yesterday, about sickness derailing my race, I just said "I'll f****** go." And so I went, right off the line. Brought a Brazilian with me and we worked together, no talking just mutual understanding of how this break benefited both our teams. It gave us TV time, goaded the leader's team into chasing (as though a 3 minute gap would have allowed me to win the stage, though maybe my companion could have...), and to my benefit, wore down my break companion who was on par with Hiroko and Kathleen on gc. And so we drove it, 20 miles before getting caught (at which point Mandy countered in fine form) and then I was done. That was it, pow, bonked. Now to make it up the climb. And I barely did. I think even when I am not bonked, this is the hardest climb I have ever done. I was standing in the 34-27 trying to keep my speed above 3mph and thought at many times I would have to walk, or get into the sag wagon. I was in last place again so had plenty of water and Pepsi to drink from Kiki. I probably drank 4 Pepsis. I ate the Snickers. The climb took me 1.5 hours but I made it. Kathleen finished a very strong 8th; Hiroko 12th (both for stage and gc for both riders). At one point Kathleen witnessed a cadence of 13 rpm on her bike computer. Andrea and Mandy had ridden great climbs, putting the team into 3rd place on team classification. Hiroko survived to post a great result and I barely finished, but everyone else had been getting stronger by the day.

No comments: