When I wrote my last blog I was quite a happy girl, because I thought that in my final week I would be thinking of three things: shopping, home and a small one day race in Switzerland. When Carlee and I went shopping in Milan (pictured), we bought nothing. When I thought of home, it only made me miss it more. And when I found out that our 'small' one-dayer had turned into a category 1.1, racing our Teschner's on carbon wheels, with Shayne Bannon (AIS head coach) directing...I felt sick. After feeling sick, I actually became sick, suffering a head cold that would see me placed in quarantine for the remainder of my stay. Quarantine, according to Wikipedia, is the voluntary or compulsory isolation of something considered dangerous that requires containment. So I headed into my final European race labeled a 'disease', but that was the least of my weekend wars.
I woke up in a classy hotel :) on a fold out couch :( in Switzerland :) to the sound of rain on the window pane :(. I had an upset stomach, it was that 'time of month' and I couldn't breath out of my left nostril. After attending a buffet breakfast followed by a buffet lunch, the skies cleared and the decision was made to ride the 4kms to the race. As soon as we departed the hotel (pictured), it began pissing with rain and we arrived at race start, with 1.5 hours to spare, absolutely soaked. To warm the muscles, I decided on a pre-race leg massage, where I finally realised that I had forgotten to shave my legs. To warm us up, a combination of goanna oil and deep heat were combined, and within minutes my legs started to freeze! I thought the feeling would pass, but goosebumps turned into pins in needles, which turned into a stabbing pain while riding. I was FREEZING!
Alcohol wipes didn't ease the pain, and toweling off the excess oil made no difference. So after pinning my numbers on my long sleeve, I fronted on the start line sporting a short sleeve jersey, a long sleeve and a wind vest...and I was still cold! With teeth chattering, we rolled off the start line, and then the sun came out. In between covering attacks, I was folding the wind vest into the back pocket and rolling up my long sleeve jersey. Not all hope was lost...as soon as we hit the first categorised climb I was able to discard some clothing to Shayne, while I fought my way through the convoy :( I suffered through one lap doing what I could for the team (which was extremely little), and left the hard work up to Carlee, Tiff and Nikki Egyed. Turns out I didn't require the race food I had conveniently forgotten to put in my jersey pockets, because I ended with a DNF.
Clearly my head wasn't in it today, because when I returned to the start area to shower... communally...I did so in the mens showers. I didn't realise this until later, which proves that my German is poor...and the fact that nobody walked in on me was my only stroke of luck for the day! Then karma kicked in... Note to self: Never ever, ever again, towel deep heat off your legs prior to a race, and proceed to wipe yourself down with the same towel post race! My face, and entire body for that fact, was burning for multiple hours after the incident...some mistakes you'll never make twice. The girls rode well. We missed the lead break of five that saw Bronzini run away with yet another win, but had Nikki bridge to the chase bunch of seven and finish eighth on the day. Carlee had her first communal shower experience, while Leonie boycotted her drug testing (hard to perform considering shes in a different country!).
I have finished my race season! Well, technically I didn't actually 'finish' it, but you all get the gist. I will be back home in 4 days, 8 hours and 3 minutes...1 week and 4 days if this is my boss reading :) Carlee (pictured above with Bridie and I) and Tiff depart on Wednesday; Carlee to Australia and Tiff to one of her multiple holiday destinations (which include Italy, Portugal, Columbia and Singapore). As I look ahead to a few weeks off the bike and many hours of study, nine girls look ahead to the Road World Championships here in Italy, after the team was officially announced early last week. Rochelle and Emma are recovering from a crash suffered at the recent Holland Ladies Tour, while Vicki and Bridie are reviewing performances from the Italian Time Trial they competed in yesterday. It goes without saying that I wish upon the girls (and boys) huge success through the Championships and many special memories!
Results: Zuri Metzgete, Zurich, 100.2kms