Day 6 and I placed 23rd overall and 4th in Category. I managed to put 10mins into rider 104 and so I jumped up to 3rd in M2. A great result from a big day. The guy in 2nd put some time into me though, so we are starting to settle down into place.
Day 7 - The course was shortened to 90km and 1700m of climbing as yesterday was so tough. I had a massage last night to get rid of some of the soreness and thank goodness. Out on course I quickly found that I had spent a lot of beans
yesterday and did not have my usual power. The stage was basically screaming downhills with climbs out of gorges for the whole way, interspersed with flat sections. One of my team mates recorded 88kph - incredible. As much as it hurt, this stage suited me and I soon dropped my closest competitors in the M2 Cat. After about 20km from the start I was dropped by the lead group again and had to do all the work by myself. Kate Major, 1st place chic and aussie pro iron woman caught me up and it was an immense relief. Kate was attacking the climbs, I sucked her wheel mentally willing myself not to be dropped. I managed to hang on and recovered a bit before we were caught by some fast dudes around 30km, from then on we spent some time in the road train. At about the 40km mark I had chain suck and when I had fixed it the group had ridden off into the distance. I smashed myself and caught Kate again who had been dropped as well. We ended up working with each other taking turns with our noses in the wind until the end of the race. I felt I repaid her the favour of the early part of the race as she died in the last 15km and I dragged her home. Glad to have somone to work with, not just so you can work together but the mental challenge of keeping the pace on when you just want to give up. I was struggling through the whole stage with power so I resorted to punching gels every 40mins.
For those of you that have not tried gels, they are liquid carbs, sugar and caffiene. The caffene and sugar gives you the kick. They mess with your constitution though as it is not normal food but they are awesome for these events as your mouth is so dry, you cannot eat solid food. My drink bottles have a carb and sugar mix in it (Hi-5 2:1) and I also put a salt tablet in each bottle. It was very hot today and I drank 6 drink bottles in the 3hrs 40mins I was racing. I drank 6 bottles after I finished with recovery and electrolytes mixes before I had to go to the toilet. Managing your recovery is a major factor as to how you do the next day.
So happy with the outcome today, putting some more time into my competitors, but I am fatiguing both physically and mentally. Tomorrow is a new day and there is only 2 more to go. Yippee!
They are going to run the last stage as a scratch race which means reverse order start in the overall GC. As of yesterday I was 25th overall, so I will start towards the back and hope to catch some of my team mates. Either way they will help me get through the last day which is 148km - I'm not looking forward to that.
Yesterday finished awesome as I ended up 3rd on the day in category and rider 102, who is in front of me, had a bad day. So I was 2nd in M2 overall by 10secs!!!
Game on today. 87km, very hot conditions, rocky and sandy profile. I launched with the front guys, burying myself to stick with them and held them for 40mins until I cracked. Rider 102 was behind, however while I was recovering he powered past. I wasn't overly concerned as there was still 60km to go and I expected to pull him back. True to form, a
team mate and I who were working together were slowly catching him. At the 30km mark rider 102 flatted so we gunned it trying to put as much time as possible between us. My mate flatted and I powered on as best as possible, but my back tyre was starting to get washy and I was loosing air slowly. I ended up pumping it up every 10km, instead of changing it out, I decided on a mangement strategy, relying on the sealant in the tyre to get me through. It was very hot and I had lost a drink bottle on course so I was struggling with hydration. Thankfully I reached the 2nd depot at 55km and received my two new bottles. The down hills were very fast and extremely rocky and instead of bombing at light speed, I tried to float and manage my flat back tyre. The flats were tough, with long sections of deep sand that were hard work to pedal through.
I caught some guys and we were in a road train towards the finish, sitting on 35km/hr with my back tyre scatting all over the place. At 75km, I stopped again and pumped up the tyre as I was out of C02 canisters. The tyre had a sidewall cut and it was no longer holding air. I was down to 3/4 of one water bottle and caught onto another train, they powered past the last water depot at the 78km mark without stopping. I decided to hang on. I knew I was 1st in M2 for the day and was going to put some serious time into rider 102, I could sense it. I was waiting for my mate who flatted previously to catch up and wondered why he was taking so long as he was an elite rider. At 10km to the finish the tyre was stuffed and it was change time. Another train came through and my mate was in it, but so was rider 102 - disaster. My mate had flatted 3 times, hence why he had taken so long to catch up. We had trouble getting the tubeless valve undone and were hemeraging time. Finally sorted, we begged a c02 from a passing rider, finally we set off. 50m down the road, bang, the
valve blew out of the tube - an awesome day just went horrible. A couple more guys in M2 passed me as was changing the tube again, hand pumping it up. I had run out of water, it was friggin hot and there was 10km of riding to the finish. I finally made it, pretty dissapointed about what could have been, I made a massive effort with little reward. It would have been nice to have won the stage. Anyway that is racing.
1 day to go and looking forward to the finish.