The race started with one "neutral" and one hot lap around Shawnigan Lake School. Unfortunately there was nothing "neutral" about the lap. It was red line from the go and you would have thought this was a short track race by the way teams were attacking the small climbs. It was chaotic to say the least. Half way through the lap the course went into a freshly mowed field were 12" blades of grass was jamming and breaking derailluers.
On the second lap on a fast descent and right hand turn two riders stacked it 5' in front of me. Their were limbs and bikes flying everywhere. Not sure how I avoided the melee and after a quick check of the drawers, Andy and I were off for 83km of riding.
The next 2 hours included a rock face descent, 45 minute hike-a-bike through a overgrown fern forest and some pretty neat single track. Then the chills reared their ugly head. I had the same problem several weeks ago at Test of Metal. Instantly I stop sweating and start getting gnarly chills. Very similar to a dehydration problem, the only thing is I am hydrated. Needless to say the engine was sputtering and the eight cylinders were running on four...or closer to two. The worse part, we still had the biggest climbs of the day ahead of us and the sun was only getting hotter.
The second aid station was a god send. I was able to take a break, get some fluids, vomit and then eats some oranges. Lovely!!!! The climb would soon start and the wheels would soon come off. The climb was brutal. The granny gear was my best friend, but even with the help of all her teeth I was still worthless. Andy was doing everything possible to help me up the hill (it may have been the heat, but I'm pretty sure at one point I was riding on his handlebars while he rode and carried my bike on his shoulders). The climb, the heat and my inability to ride my bike wouldn't stop. After what seemed like an eternity we finally reached the third aid station.
The remainder of the ride was survival. We had 10km of wicked fast descent, where we were reaching speed of over 40mph, and then 17km of excruciatingly painful flat double track. I did my best to tuck and draft behind Andy while he threw out some watts that would impress Tom Boonen. However with 3-4km to go my engine let go and I was done. The hurt locker was open, I was shoved in and it shut hard behind me (similar to my high school days, although this time my underwear wasn't wrapped over my head). Andy brought us into the finish line and we passed through at just over 5:30. I was exhausted, in pain, in tears and wanting to be held! I figured my debacle cost us around 15-20 minutes. Luckily we still have 6 days of racing ahead of us and hopefully I can get my crap together and not impede our standings any further.
The temps for tomorrow will again be over 90 degrees and with 128km of riding it is sure to be a suffer fest!
Stage 1 - 5:30:43 - 30th place men's open
Keepin the rubber side down...peace.