Giro Della Tuscana

Thursday 17th September 2009

by catherine williamson

Day 1
Finally we left the team house and Satan dog (the damn thing decided to eat my ipod yesterday) to drive an hour or so to the coast. A 5km team time trial, 2 laps as an out and back. Team Fenixs displayed a good example of how not to do a team time trial with no plans before we went, some saying only 4 of us would work but not slot back into that 4th place, only 3 of 8 on TT bikes and so on. Our team is also made up of one of the strongest in the field and a couple of girls that are at the opposite end so gaps formed as soon as we set off. I also happened to be on the front virtually every bend so we all tip toed round them! The Russian leader made some massive turns so we used all our energy getting round her and near the end she dropped all but me who was glued on her wheel. I finally got round her but by then we’d dropped our next 2 finishers. As bad as we thought it was though we were still on the first page of the results, 9th team out of 18 teams and every big team is here preparing for the Worlds.

Day 2
Dreaded the day as heavy rain and soaked roads. Have acquired a mental block when it comes to riding in the wet especially with carbon wheels after a terrifying Croft one wet night and when I went for a warm up the thought really occurred to keep riding and hide somewhere so I didn’t have to race, seemed a better idea than crashing and trying to break the bike which seemed my only other option. .. And I say this is a hobby!! It looked like it might dry up but then rained so heavy as we rolled out and half thought they might cancel with flooded roads, wishful thinking. I sat just off the back, the pace was fast and it was hard work sitting there but at least safe, the crashes tend to happen mid field where everyone is bunched up. No crashes though and no splits. Up the GPM I climbed through to a safe position, dropped back on the decent but was around some big sprinter’s team so knew pretty well it was a sprinters day and it bunched back. Same happened 2nd GPM, even going 50mph on a straight bit I was still passed, insane Italians! Going to the finish I decided not to contest the sprint, in the last km was 2 90 degree bends, a round about and a tight turn 200 m to go. However it finally dried up and I moved up. Came in 22nd from a group 100 big. 3 out of 5 DNFs were from our team so more space in the bedrooms now, more chance of a massage and more bread at dinner!!

Day 3
Weather a lot better today though had to laugh, it must have rained on each decent, someone up there is testing me! 120 odd km again with a short 3rd cat climb, a long flat section then 2 mammoth 1st cat climbs up the same mountain. Did my job by covering moves on the flat though think I was also supposed to be leading our leader up the mountain too. Fat chance of that too and soon dropped into a group that was more my pace. Boiling sun on the way up, wet on the way down! Dropped off my group and had to chase like hell on the flat. Have to admit I had a little help from a motorbike as I gave that desperate exhausted look! Once back on the mountain I rode away from half the group with some girls who were ‘training’. Crossed the line dizzy… had forgotten to drink or eat for the last 20km with that stressful decent and all..upps! Must have done something right as our manager gave me new arm warmers and a gillet, new kit is like gold dust in our team, it was given to me in secret! Team tears today, not from a rider but from the guy feeding who got the blame for not standing in a good place, bless, don’t know how half of them cope in the real world!!

One Response to “Giro Della Tuscana”

  1. Dan Says:

    🙂 Keep em coming Catherine, that’s another cracking read… Did your feeder get a MASSIVE bollocking? Your 3rd day reminds me of Romania last year… climbing a mountain and it’s boiling hot and bone dry, then you get over the top and it starts to bloody rain. I have the same mental block as you in the wet by the sounds of it, and following the crazy Italian fools round the hairpins is one of the scariest things I’ve done. They clearly have no self preservation instincts.

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