I had a pretty disappointing race. The course was well suited to climbers having one big climb in the first lap and a smaller but tough climb in the four smaller laps. I had mentally prepared myself for a day of suffering! After starting at the back of a really large bunch, I had made my way to the front through the middle of the bunch by the end of the neutral lap. I enjoy the challenge of making my way confidently through a big bunch using as little energy as possible. Quite a difference from less than a year ago when I first arrived in Europe!
The race started off really fast. About 15km into the race, on a descent, someone skidded out and crashed around the corner. Quite a few girls went down including Ash and I braked really hard to try stop in time. I checked Ash was fine to get going again thinking that at least we could get back together but then realised my back wheel was flat. So in my panic, I started walking back up the hill again looking for our team car. The other team cars where hooting at me to get out of the way! And in all this drama, I completely forgot that I had a race radio!
So a few minutes later when someone radio-ed the team car to tell them I had 'crashed', I see our mechanic running over the hill with a spare bike. I tried as best I could to catch the bunch again but with average speeds of 43km/h and being close to the first climb, it was always going to be difficult. I passed streams of girls the whole way up the climb and at the top managed to join a group containing An-Li and Sofie. Unfortunately the front group had a fair gap on us. We kept them in our sights at about 20s for most of the lap but then the elastic snapped as we were approaching the climb for the second time and our group slowed right down. We were pulled off on the last lap and we all got a DNF.
At least I learnt a few valuable lessons like how to pump the brakes instead of slamming them shut in panic and ripping a hole in my tubular tyre!