After a grueling TT the day before, we had to get up really early(the one thing I HATE about bike racing) to get ready for our 71 mile day. I knew from the climb out of town that it was going to be a rough day for me because I was already getting dropped. I think that I just need to learn to be in a better position in the pack because I’m always at the back! The course profile was either flat or rolly with a long, steep climb at the end(aka Mogollon). Normally this would be great news, but getting dropped and chasing back on multiple times will tire a person out very fast. I kept trying to go to the front of the pack, but it seemed every time I did that, I’d end up at the back again so I just quit wasting energy trying to be in the front. there was one advantage to being in the back…. all of a sudden, there was a huge pile of bikes in front of me. I guess someone crossed handlebars and there was a big wreck. I got lucky and was up on my front wheel trying to stop and managed to avoid it. Among the chaos, I didn’t know what to do. I thought in a wreck, you wait, but apparently not! I saw a group take off so I began chasing hard. This went on for like 10 minutes and I was completely red-lined. A looked back and saw a group coming, must have been the people who went down in the wreck. I hopped on the wheel of a Webcor girl and did the best I could to hang on. It was tough because my legs were already so tired. We got up to the main group and I thought it was going to be okay. Of course, I was at the back of the pack again, and was right behind Merrill Sapp. Suddenly, I saw metal parts fly in the air and she came to a screeching halt. I almost wrecked right into her and it turned out her derailleur exploded. I got dropped at that point since I had to slam on my brakes and again, was working really hard to chase back on. I managed to catch the group again, but by then we were close to the sprint line and the pack started attacking. I got dropped for good at that point and for awhile was going backwards and forwards in the caravan. After about 20 miles, I almost caught the pack again. They were only 50-100 m in front of me and even the sag motorcycle got behind me. I just couldn’t make it and I totally blew up. The people in the caravan kept cheering for me, but it just didn’t happen. Shortly after, I got superdehydrated(I had FOUR bottles) and could barely pedal. I had to make it up the big climb in the hot sun with no water. My back was killing me from being in a TT position the day before, my shoes are WAY too tight on my feet after a few hours, my neck hurt from being tense in the pack…bad… all around. I just needed to finish. The climb didn’t seem that bad, but I could barely turn the pedals over. I saw the 1 Km to go sign, and after what seemed like an eternity came to the 200 m to go. At that point, I almost got off my bike and walked because I felt like I was going to pass out. I crosssed the line and the official said, “You get to ride tomorrow!” Meaning they weren’t going to time cut me.
I rode over to the medical tent because I knew I was in trouble. They saw me coming and approached me. I got off my bike and fell over, and the medical people had to help me walk to get on a stretcher. I couldn’t talk and was trying to motion that I needed water. The guy took my pulse and wanted to give me an IV(which I should have taken for better recovery), but I HATE needles and told them no. They insisted I have some oxygen and I drank a bottle of saline solution, and it actually tasted good. I finally regained my strength to walk around again and was amazed to see Merrill come across the line. Someone who had crashed and couldn’t go on gave Merrill her bike and she had to solo it out too. I came back to the house, had to finish up my homework(which took FIVE hours), took an ice bath, and went to bed.