Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tour of PEI Stage 3

Stage 2 brought a 120k road race contested in very windy conditions. I had heard PEI was FLAT but constant up and down would be a better description. The plan was to go for it to try to split the race and advance top rider Carla on gc, plus win QOM. Maybe it's that question of picking your battles. I was hoping to get in the early break because of my diesel fitness but the field would have none of even the most suicidal of breaks. Race leader Tara Whitten - an unknown to most - was super strong, helped impressively by two teammates. Australia took quite a lot of control of the race, and it paid off when Bridie McDowell, 2nd place on GC, won an intermediate sprint bonus that put her in the yellow jersey. I felt great for 50k, tried to cover some moves but then the legs turned to mud. After that I was basically surviving for 70k. My team killed it on the QOM, with rider Marissa escaping in short breaks to take the jersey. A big downhill crash occured when a rider who had ridden into the gravel shoulder tried to hop back up but instead catapulted herself into the field. MTN rider Cherise landed on her head, shaved the lens off her racing glasses - very scary. Hanka Kupfernagel got a chainring to her forehead. Totally unecessary. The crash followed by a QOM split the field into echelons but the front did not ride hard enough to stay away. Quality time in the caravan. Managed one attack to try to split the finish but I was basically useless. I had eaten 2 gels and 1 bottle all day. Stupid but the race was so windy I felt I could barely take my hands off the bars. After that it is all about recovery, as today brings another day of more of the same: 120k of wind and rollers.

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