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Saturday, August 10, 2013

International Experiences

Well, I just made it through a very crazy week of racing, the craziest of my life; and I am alive! Even better then that, I came home with the bronze medal in the Team Time Trial, first overall in the team classification, 11th overall in individual classification, and friendships that will last a lifetime. This has been an amazing experience, and I am so thankful to all of the people that have helped make it happen!

I am still spellbound when I think of the teams performance in the TTT. We only practiced the TTT once, and there was only three of us, because the 4th could not make it to the practice. The beginning of the TTT was rocky... everyone was confused and all over the place. We soon found a good pace and rhythm, and we were working very well together, but I still doubted that we would get a top 3 place because of the slow beginning. It was when we were warming down, on the way back to the hotel, that we found out that we placed third. 10 seconds from the 2nd place team and 18 seconds from the first place team. One of the goals was to get a top 3 place in the TTT, and it felt very rewarding to accomplish that goal considering our situation.

Stage 1
Stage one of Tour of Rimouski was just about THE most freakiest experience on a bike. Seriously, riders did not care if they ran into you (and crash, either you, or themselves out of the race) just to get on the wheel you were following. I experienced this in the first few miles, and immediately went to the front, and did everything in my power to stay there (and wasted a lot of energy while I was at it). It was total chaos! There were huge frantic attacks, where 60 female riders maxed out in 52-16, would be spread out across the road; yelling at each other, trying to get to that one, lucky, solo rider up front. They would be running off the road into ditches (literally), throwing out elbows, riding into each other... and then it would stop. The solo rider out front would be caught, and there would be a few seconds of calm before the next attack, where the chaos would begin all over again.
 Despite all of this chaos, I got to experience something special. It was after the QOM, the race split apart drastically. There was a group up front and a group behind, then there was my teammate, Melyssa, and I stuck right in the middle. For awhile we were both working so hard together to catch the front group, we were both worn out, but kept working the pedals. Even though we did not make it to the front group, it was an amazing feeling to suffer with someone, to try to reach the front group; and after the race was over, have someone who felt the same way, and shared the same experience. 

Stage 2

The hills in Rimouski are so hard. Nothing is consistent and the 2nd stage is one of the most challenging because of this. All of the hills are so steep, but no longer then a mile. There's a ton of them also. Just hill after hill; like rollers, but you can't get any speed into them because there is either flat road before, or a slight gradient. Its like the 3 Bears climb in Berkeley Hill RR, only the hills in Rimouski are steeper and there is about 20 more of them. It was raining this day, I was almost completely soaked before the race even began, but fortunately, it was not cold. To be honest, I enjoyed the rain, it felt refreshing. The only downside was the amount of grit I swallowed, do to the wet conditions, made my stomach feel weird. The beginning of this stage was as flat, as flat could be in Rimouski. The riders were not as crazy as the previous day, and the pace was a little slow. Then the hills began, and immediately two main groups formed, with a bunch of smaller groups behind. I was in the 2nd group, and my teammate made it into the first group (she finished 2nd), which moved her up to third overall. It was a race that I was happy to be finished with, but still (somewhat) enjoyed the challenge.

Stage 3 & 4
There is not too much to say about Stage 3 (the crit) and stage four (the Time Trial). The crit was like any other crit in the US. We tried to stay up right, place well enough to maintain our position in team GC, and save ourselves for the TT, which we managed. The time trial, well, was a time trial. It was super short, only 6k, very windy, and very hard. My teammate Emma rocked it taking 5th!

Stage 5
Just looking at Cathedral hill, makes you wet your pants. It is that monstrous, that atrocious, and definitely that intimidating. My first siting of Cathedral hill was on the way to one of the races, I saw this paved cliff in front of me, and thought, "Oh crap... well I'm glad I don't have to ride up that hill". Shortly after, one of my teammates told me that it was in fact, the treacherous Cathedral hill that we have to ride up five times. Like the 2nd stage, the race immediately split on Cathedral hill. I was in the second group. We would catch riders who fell off the pace of the first group. The third time up Cathedral hill, I dropped from the second group, and found myself riding with a small group made up mostly of US girls and a couple Canadians from Ontario. It was now just surviving until the finish, and we all helped each other out with sarcastic humor which lightened the mood. The goal was to do our best, to maintain our overall in the team GC. 
In the end, we won the team GC. Melyssa placed third in the GC, which was super awesome. It was such an honor to end this tough race knowing that our team was #1. The girls were absolutely amazing, and we all worked our butts off to earn this title. I am very lucky to have had this wonderful experience with a wonderful group of people, it could not have gone any better.
I deeply appreciate everyone who has helped me get to Rimouski. I am very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life; who have continuously supported me and  given me great advice.
 Special thanks to the Red Peloton Cycling Club and the Red Peloton Ladies that I race with for their generous support; Thanks to the Chico Corsa racing guys, who are all great friends; thanks to my wonderful family, my Mom, Kaleb, and Mark, who are about the three best people I know; my awesome uncle who let Mark and I spend a couple nights at his house, and my two adorable cousins; and basically the whole cycling community! 

You all are awesome!
Now here are some more photos:
A quick tour of Montreal with LouLou and Stephanie.

Bike ride in Maine with my cousins.

Some awesome cobbles in Montreal.

My accreditations.

Warming up for the TTT. It was a very hectic start to Tour of Rimouski, we were running late,
and when we got there, the Refs' had to check my TT bars to see if they were the right level. So I began my warm
up extra late, but it all ended great!

Bronze medal in the TTT.

Very rainy second stage.

My first ride in Montreal was only for about 10 min. It began to pour rain, but cleared up within an hour
and it was nice. Later that day Melyssa, Stephanie, and I worked on the TTT.
Somewhere over Nevada... on the way to Boston.

The team mom, Lynn, and I before the start of the TT.

Warming up for the TT.

Talking to fellow US girl!

Riding in Maine.

And a lake in Maine!

A pretty meadow in Maine. 

My cousin, Willow, rocking my sunglasses on her speedy fast bike!

Snow Falls in Maine!


1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a good experience. One of many exciting trips to come. Keep up the good work!