Well it was everything they said it was going to be and more! Even with the crashes, stress of the peleton, crazy girls, cold weather and small roads - IT WAS AWESOME and epic. The first race was on Thursday, Drentse 8(140k), then, Saturday, the world cup race - Rhonde van Drenthe(132k) and last Sunday was Novilon(140k).
Thursday's start was insane....I'm not sure if it is the legs that you need here or the brakes, cause there were plenty of full on, handful of brakes, sliding back wheels, type motions and getting to the front is EXTREMELY hard. Small gains, BRAKE, sprint, small gains, repeat. TONS of yelling in all languages and you can usually guess what's being said:)
Saturday's world cup was a better race for me, even if I did crash in the last 20k. I actively participated at the front, tried my best to protect those that needed it and stayed out of trouble mostly. After the selection was made and the group was up the road, our group was just rolling back in and my crash was just bad luck.
Sunday was more small roads, that seemed to go on forever. About 70k into the race, most all of the Team TIBCO girls were on the right hand side of the peleton and I was sitting comfortably on my teammates wheel when - BAM - some chick pulls a move on my teammate and she runs into me, me flying off of the road and THANKFULLY smacking my head on the grass in between the road and bike path...otherwise, I'm pretty sure that one would've been ugly.
I remember the whole landing on my back and my head hitting the ground. I instantly stood up, grabbed my bike, then said, WHOA, that one hurt a bit. So I took my helmet off to give it a look, kneeled back down and noticed the crack but I wasn't quite sure if it was all the way through or what. Then I have the race doctor in my face saying, "Look at me, are you dizzy?" My answer, "Yeah I'm dizzy, it's bike racing!" hahahaha. So I climb back on my bike and make it back to the peleton behind the team car and right when I make contact with the peleton - BAM - down goes my teammate and 5 or 6 more girls, right in front of me. So there we are, back in the caravan again and that was the extent of the day for me....I fought through the caravan for the next 20k and then made it back to the start finish and was hurting bad enough in all the wrong places to pull the plug.
Crashes are all part of it and yes they hurt and yes, I'm disappointed that I couldn't 'race' more but that is all the experience of it. And hopefully next time I progress and learn more, steps forward.
One more thing, you will like this story. So on Sunday, it is a neutral start for maybe 1k to another start/finish line, through these narrow streets and you get off your bike, run to the sign in board and FIGHT LIKE HELL for a pen to sign all of your teammates in, it was CRAZY and ridiculous all at the same time. Then once you sign in, you run back to your bikes and hurry to the start/finish line for a good position to start in. I was laughing!
Here are a couple of pictures from the last couple of days in Holland, enjoy!
A section of cobbles from the World Cup.....
Alisha and myself in Tucson, the is 'Lauren, pre-Euro racing'...Following the car to the start, please note the lovely weather....
Um yeah....tight squeeze!
Not a great picture, but the crack in the helmet....
Reading: New York Times
Listening: Dear Mr. Fantasy, Traffic
Watching: movies on the plane
Eating: apples and bananas in the United Club
Feeling: sleepy from travel