I don’t have anything clever to describe Stage 3 of the Tour of Qatar.
You start riding around in the sand one day, and you ride in the sand the next day, and the next day, and you start feeling like you have been there before. Is that the slight bend in the road that has dangerous cross winds? Is that the camel race track, or just the Moto GP track? Shooting range or palace?
Have I been here before?
Yes. Maybe the day before, or maybe not.
The stage started in an extraordinary complex that just was built over night. I am sensing this happens quite frequently here. We had a 20 mile run into downtown Doha. It was surreal to be racing around the pristine streets of the modern downtown full of unique architecture and fancy skyscrapers. Of course they ended up directing us down the wrong road, and we had to stop, neutralize, and restart that race. I have learned that anything can happen in a bike race, expecially when you are allowing men with maps to direct us from the desert into a major metropolitan area.
We entered a 6k circuit we did 10x. It was a tough circuit, and eventually a break went up the road, only to be dissolved in the last 3k. I countered the catch, and found myself still at the front 200m from the line. As the sprinters flew around me, I desperately looked for our sprinter, Coryn, to come flying by, but she was no where to be seen. A huge crash had occurred, and Coryn was already on her way to the hospital by the time I circled back after the finish. This breaks my heart. We executed our plans perfectly, and bike racing will be bike racing. Crashes happen. Coryn didn’t break anything, and is healing and resting now.
Crashes, sand, and wind. Haven’t I been here before?
Tour of Qatar. Done and dusted.
I feel accomplished. I have just returned to bike racing. I am healed and I am strong.
The men arrived to the hotel, and that was fun to have meals and rides alongside the ProTour guys. Good luck to them in the sands of Qatar. I might follow this race.
On to the travels home. 35 hours of travel and surely I will make it home.
Goodbye, Qatar. Goodbye, Ritz.