Same place different day and different approach, after yesterday’s disappointment I had a new mindset going into this race. We rode to the course with a completely different approach. Today I was going to race with a bottle on my bike, start with and ice bag down my back and remove it after a few laps. I Removed the Kask areo cover from my helmet to provide maximum vents and stayed well hydrated prior to the start. I hadn’t come half way around the world to get pulled out of a bike race.
On the start line again I positioned myself in the same spot as yesterday. I removed the ice bag from my neck as it was melted and slowly sliding down the back of my skinsuit. We were in the starters hands.
We’re off I had a great start finding my pedal and getting around a few riders as the bottleneck of the first turn occurred. Into the first climb and the field was all together, as we reached to top the leaders started their decent causing the field to stretch out as others were still on the climb. I sat in and didn’t go to the front of the small group that was starting to form as I was trying to keep my temperature down and also trying to keep up my fluids.
After the first lap I was sitting in about 20th and was feeling stronger than yesterday. The race yesterday may have go the cobwebs out of the legs from sitting on the plane for 19 hours. I tried to spin up the climbs being smooth and fast not touching my breaks on the decent. Unlike yesterday I ran the barriers as they were on a slight downhill and you came in a lot faster than the Saturday race. Weaving down the hill and through the pits making sure I stayed to the right were there was mechanics were throwing water over the riders to try and combated the heat.
A couple of laps later and I was still holding my own. I would try and make up time on the climb and then just hold the gap to the riders in front on the decent as I knew that climbing was my stronger point. As the laps counted down I had back and forth battles with a few riders, You would feel great one lap passing a couple of riders and then pay for it the next lap and start to overheat and dehydrate losing a few positions. It was a fine balancing act making sure there was enough fuel in the tank to make it to the end.
With two laps to go I dug deep knowing that I was in with a shot at finishing on the lead lap.I ran out of water and my throat was burning but it wasn’t long to get to the final lap where I would be able to finish no matter what. I rode the steep climb almost coming unstuck at the top as I cramped locking my legs when I needed just one more peddle stroke. My dismounts were getting worse and my hill run steps were getting closer and closer together just trying to keep my legs moving.
The final lap was a real struggle physically but mentally, I was happy to be able to finish on the lead laps as the pros coming across the finish line only 5 minutes down and in 21st place was a big step in the right direction for me. After this weekend I have learnt a lot and also where I sit amongst the pros.
Now for some serious training at Alma before we head of to my First CX World Cup in Las Vegas.
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