I woke up early the morning of the race not being able to sleep that well knowing what was going to unfold in the racing later in the day. We were allowed to sleep in and then go for a 45min ride to get the legs ticking over but I could not sleep or even stay still. I got up had a shower and then made myself some breakfast. We left for our ride at 9am and headed up the chair lift from Le Crosets to do some riding around the small rolling roads of the little village.
We returned home after the 45min ride and told the mechanic Ian if there was anything wrong with our bikes and then went and had showers and an early lunch. I couldn’t stay still and wanted to help Ian with my bike because I had received a large tear in the side wall of my rear tire from Doing ‘’the drop’’ the day before in practice this meant that I had to run a tube in the rear which was a big risk.
We headed down to the event centre to soak up the atmosphere prior to the 3 pm race start and get pumped to ride the fastest and hardest race of our lives. After a dynamic warm up and then some efforts on the bike I found myself in the holding pen waiting for my name to be called up. I rolled up to my starting grid position being #42 and started to creep up the grid slowly to try and gain curtail positions. I heard other move behind me and I pushed up about two more rows and was in a prime position.
The whistle went and we were off about 20 meters over the line I got tangle with a French rider and had to unclip and slowdown to not crash by this stage many competitors had past me and I was at the rear end of the peloton. Now I was annoyed and chased hard on the start loop till 300 meters in where another crash occurred over the bride and this caused me more trouble I still chased and tried to make up places up the main climb by it was a bottle neck and I was standing still so I lifted the bike above my head and walked past making up about ten or so places. More crashes occurred on the decent to the finish of the start loop as the rain the night before made the rocks and tree roots very slippery. I rode through the start/finish hearing that I was already 3 minutes down and this got me fired up I rode around the next corner and onto the bridge and see my Australian team mate Daniel McDonald slide out and his bike covering the whole bridge having no time to break I bunny hoped the bike and kept on chasing.
The next lap hurt and then I got harder on the climb I made up some places as people were blowing and was starting to ride back into the group ahead of about 20 riders I reach the top close enough to catch them on the next lap and the as descending trying to make up the lost time from the start loop I hear pfffffff……..
I though this is not the best time or race to get a flat in and it was either run the half lap to the tech zone or repair and have to get a new wheel anyway at the tech zone so I ran. I crossed the line and the commentator said over the microphone that I had a flat and I was hoping that the team mechanic Ian herd this so he was ready.
I run into the feed/tech with the bike in the hardest gear to help with a fast wheel change and hand my bike to Chris Clark and get a fresh biddion From Jason (the teams sport scientist) Ian swiftly changes the wheel to my Spare. Whilst this was happening Chris was making sure that I still had my head in the race and was not going to give up or give into the hurt. The wheel was changed and I was off.
Riding My hardest trying not to get pulled out by the official with the 80% precent rule (fall outside 80% of leaders time and you get pulled of the course but are still counted as finishing just a number of laps down). Feeling better as the race went on and knowing that you’re the last rider on course doesn’t help the situation that you are pit in to ride but I kept it together and only had minor crashes and then with one and a bit laps to go I was pulled from the race due to the 80% rule. I was annoyed.
I done a cool down and then cheered the fellow teammates on.
I had plenty of time to think about what went wrong and how to improve and realised that I can now use this race as motivation when you are training on those hard days where you have to ride in the cold, rain or have to do that last effort in the training session. I had a bad race in my eyes but have gained a world of experience and knowledge.