Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stage 4

The final stage of the Tour of Walla Walla was a 91-mile road race around the backroads of Waitsburg, WA.  This was probably the hardest road race I have done.  The combination of speed and high winds made this race extremely difficult.  For the first time in a road race, I got dropped.  After 78 miles, on the final lap of 3, I could no longer sustain the speed and constant accelerations of the peloton.  I haven't hurt that bad on a bike in a long time.  Looking at the number of DNF's and the total number of riders that finished this race vs. the number that started is a good indication of how hard it was.  This was a battle of attrition.

The Tour of Walla Walla race has certainly become a priority race for some big teams.  The last time I did this race was nearly 7 years ago and I don't remember it being such an important race.  However, the number of Canadian teams that were in town for the race definitely meant something.  

With about 13 miles to go, I was slowly losing sight of the peloton and knew it would be a dog fight back to the finish with the high winds ahead.  I was caught out in "no-man's land" for about 4 miles before catching up to a few other riders that had been dropped.  A few more miles and we were catching more riders.  The 10K to go sign came and it seemed to take for ever to see the 1K sign to the finish.  After crossing the line my body had been completely zapped of energy, however, I now had to ride back to the staging area for another 4 miles...ugghhh! 

Considering this was only my 2nd race of the season, I know that this will only make me stronger for the season ahead, so overall it was a successful race for me.  Sometimes getting dropped and having to suffer alone can make you mentally stronger as well.  It's always good to find out your limit.  Now it's time to rest up a few days and let the muscles adapt and recover.

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