Conclusion of La Route de France.
5eme Etape: Saint Pourcain sur Sioule – Chatelguyon
I finished my first major European tour. 6 stages of brutal racing, crashes, heartache, and success. The drama, the sitcom, the soap opera, the adventure of racing.
It was more difficult to start the last stage then I thought it would be. My body was wrecked from the crash. Going down at 30mph is never fun. I couldn’t sleep as my entire body ached. It felt like I got hit by a train, or a truck, or a brick wall that took the form of a vaguely remembered green jersey of the girl in front of me. I had taken that last corner of that descent and collided into a pile of bikes and bodies. I felt the impact. I felt the ground. I kept replaying the video stream in my head. Left turn. Burning rubber. Carbon cracking. Green Jersey. Ground. Ground. Ground.
I hobbled down to breakfast to try to force feed myself one last day. Foi Gras has a whole new meaning after stage racing. You find yourself forcing down carbs and sweets like they are going out of style. The more calories, the better. Rice Pudding. Nutella. Baguettes. Yogurt. Cruseli (granola). Café au Lait. Repeat. We were fattened gooses, minus the fat and plus another long road race, this one with lots of hills. No Foi Gras after this stage.
With Evie in second in GC, we needed to protect her to the finish. We raced about 90k to a circuit that was about 18k long, and we did it 3 times. It was about 7k up, 7k down, and some 4k in between.
About 5k into the 140k race, KMac and I got the green light to race our bikes. Light it up. I started launching attacks. Ouch. Soon, the adrenaline kicked it and I could barely feel the pain in my body. However, I was unable to get in my drops and I couldn’t take deep breaths of oxygen. I was feeling golden. It was a fast race, all through the hills and countryside and into the circuits. KMac was in a break up the road going into the circuits. The descent was twisty, slightly technical, and I tried to maintain contact with peloton. Four times of this descent? Yikes. Instead of counting down the 5k climb, I started counting down the times I had to descend with the crazy Europeans. The problem with my crash is that it made me slightly mental. When I crashed the previous day, it was on a descent. It was at a time, where I convinced myself to stay in the top 20. I told myself that these girls knew how to ride their bikes, and I needed to be trusting. I guess when you are trusting, you get burned every now and then.
The descents were good. We made it. The climbs were hard. We caught the break. Hard race. Long race. I can’t believe I raced it, and finished it. It was a great stage. I love the long races, the countryside, the roads, and the fans. I felt accomplished. I wish that I had more health at the end of the stage to do a little more damage, but I was safe and we finished. OOosa gained experience, gained respect, and had a good time racing our bikes in Europe. Good work, ladies.