Saturday, April 16, 2011
Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup!
Ronde Van Drenthe, my first World Cup was today!! It was the most EPIC day of my life. I knew going into the race it was going to be a huge challenge, the top 30 professional and national teams in the world coming together to race a epic 135km race with cobbles, dirt roads and three very steep climbs. We started the craziness off before the race even started. There were ten million marching bands playing their stupid polka and the Ants Go Marching In music every corner I turned. There was probably 150 motorcycles for the course parked in an area and there was a lot of buildings between where the start line was and where we were parked. We found the start line, but we, amoungst other teams as well, were super lost in terms of finding the team presentation and sign in. We finally found it, and covered about 6km trying to do so. Sing in was in some mall, and was jammed packed with riders. We waiting in a crowded room for 25 minutes probably and had to rush over to sign in which was by the start line following that. They had these little kids all dressed up in cycling kits that held our bikes, they were so cute. We were one of the last teams to line up, and started in about 150th position. The neutral start was insane, so many crashed, including me almost flipping over my bars, my back wheel came 2 feet off the ground and i smoked some car with my front wheel which kept me from going down. The race started pretty fast, and there was a hill about 9km into the race. It was a 24% climb for about 500m, and my front derailleur didnt work, so I was stuck in the big chain ring! Oh my gosh, my legs were going to blow up. It strung out on the hill and had a 24% decent on the other side. Trust me, all you could smell was burning rubber, but even on the flat sections here thats all you smell anyways. The hill dropped a few people and soon after I beleive our first canadian was done here. The race continued on, and it was pretty fast, averaged about 48 km/hr and speeds picked up to a lot faster in some points. There were many concrete blocks in the middle of the roads and many round-abouts that made people crash today. 30km into the race were our first section of cobbles. They werent expected as they werent' written into the course description. They were only 500 m long, but long enough to shake me up, hurt my body and crash a bunch of girls. The next section of cobbles came around 53 km, and these were bad. I did very well on them though. The group split up behind me and I was in the front group. I was shaking like crazy, and it was over 3km section of cobbles, the worst thing of my life. I lost both of my bottles here and almost all my food. My gears were bouncing everywhere and my right break jammed and stopped working from this point on. The next set of cobbles appear directly after the last. This section was a few kilometers as well. These cobbles cracked almost 40 riders I would guess. Another Canadian got popped off here. The main peleton split up into about four groups here, and I was lucky to hold onto one of the groups. These were the roughest cobbles of the bunch I found. The third set of cobbles was again 2km or so, wayyy to long for cobble riding. All the cobble sections were full blast, cranking the speeds up so the entire group was strung out. I was suffering on these cobbles. We legs and hands weren't used to this and I was starting to crack. I had ridden 20km with no food and not a drop of water and at maximum heart rate. On the cobbles i couldnt even hold my bars, I couldnt break, my hands and arms were shaking everywhere. I can't even start to explain the feeling of this, it was just awful and terrible. I was hanging on for dear life, then I threw up all over my jersey. At least I knew I was working hard. The follow cars and soe of the caravan tried to make their way up to the front group (stupidest thing ever). There is SO much dust and sand flying up I couldnt even see the ground. I must have inhaled a litre of dust and sand and my teeth were covered. I had my glasses pressed right up against my face as the was so much dust in my eyes I couldn't even see at this point. I struggled to hand on, and there were cars whipping by. There was a sand trail off to the side of the cobbles and i road it for about a km, swerving in the sand, but I didnt feel like bumping on the cobbles anymore. I was struggling to hold onto the group and finally a smal 10m gap had been created with 25meters of cobbles to go. I was out of the saddle chasing with all my might. Turned my head to the side and heaved again. I did have much left, and the caravan started to pass. I was chasing so hard and could see them about 30 seconds up the road, but I never caught them. This was close to entering the small finishing circuits and was time cut. I road for a while and Michelle got me in the feed zone. I was just time cut, but you know what, i wasnt that angry. I was so proud of how I road. Almsot every other girl that was up the road, I bet everyone, has ridden cobbles many times before, and this was my first time. I m getting so much stronger already, I can tell. I ws the third fastest Canadian again today, and I'm proud to have even recieved the opportunity to race at a World Cup. It was a thrilling experience, and there was a million people out cheering and watching around the course. There were helicopters flying taking video for tv coverage, and there was scentences and words in the grass field made out of wood, just like the Tour DE France. It was amazing. We have another race tomorrow, Gelderland, I know nothing about it yet. I hope to finish in a group tomorrow, there are no cobbles..YAY! I can't wait to come back next year and better all my results. This was the best experience today racing this World Cup. I can't wait for more. Time to stretch, prepare myself for tomorrow, get a massage and eat some pizza!!!