is hard. The pace is relentless. I spent 6 races in Europe just getting pounded. I came into the last race with no results and in need of a good ride. * Scroll to bottom for a non-bike geek summary
I had raced 2 road races and a crit without a pack finish, so the first order of business was staying with the group at any cost. The second was to protect my teammate’s (Sam Kavanagh) GC lead which was a scant 8 seconds. It was raining, like it had rained the whole trip, and the pavement was crappy, bumpy, gross. They started all of the categories and both genders together, so it was a mass of about 100 athletes of varying disabilities on a 5km circuit. The race really started on the neutral lap as the more disabled racers tried to push to the front so they could draft off the less disabled racers to hopefully take the win in their field and take time out on the General Classification. A few of the guys in the high functioning disability categories race on Continental teams so the race started from the gun, we raced for an hour with 2 lulls in the action. I was doing pretty well in the race when I noticed that Sam’s 2nd place GC guy was making a move up the road, so I grabbed his wheel and sat there ’till we were absorbed. I spent the rest of the race shadowing any move he made.
My shining moment of the entire trip came when I saw Sam slide out and fall through a turn. I sat up out of the lead group and then saw Greta. We were 3 strong and we WERE going to save Sam’s GC lead. I took what was nearly a death pull before Greta towed us back into the group. In all, Sam was only off the back for 3-4 minutes before he was safely with the leaders. As we reconnected I prayed that no one would attack for at least a minute so I could catch my breath, and thankfully I was able to recover enough to stay with the group. We heard 2 to go and I knew that I had finally raced a race worthy of a bicycle racer. I finished with the group, Sam won the sprint finish and the GC; it was a highly successful day. I was so happy and relieved to not only have a decent finish myself, but especially to have helped Sam save his leader’s jersey.
*Non bike speak:
I had a good race and I helped my teammate win the race after he crashed. I finally felt that my trip to Europe had served a purpose.