I tried to contain my dismay, but the pain in my face and the frustration of missing out on being in the front group for another day was too much! I rolled through the finish with the second main group and kept going beyond for another few hundred metres so I could have a little “moment” alone to let it all out. From experience I know it is much better to have a good short cry and realise that it isn’t that bad than to keep it bottled inside and feel worse for longer. By the time I made it back to our team cars I was already feeling a bit better.
Emma had another good day and though it was a tough race to the finish with many attacks for her and Tiff to cover, she placed 4th in the sprint and kept her lovely orange jersey. It’s a good reward as a team to keep the GC lead when you bury yourself everyday and not make it to the finish with the front group like many riders who sit in all day and do nothing!
HUY, BELGIUM - APRIL 18: Evelyn Stevens of USA and Team Specialized Lululemon celebrates victory during the women’s race of La Fleche Wallonne on April 18, 2012 in Huy, Belgium. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
On the second day of team camp here in Italy, we got caught in a rainstorm during a brutal interval session. As we battled a cross-headwind, spraying rooster tails of red mud from our wheels, our legs and kit became heavy with wet and cold. Still, we pushed on through the blur of splattered glasses and cold spray, fighting the sour ache of loaded legs over rough road, chasing each other through mud, effort after effort. Boy it was ugly! And by the final set of efforts my legs felt even uglier. After, we filed into the entryway, dripping with grime, quiet and empty, gratefully accepting the hot tea prepared by our souigneur.
It ain’t pretty, but it is. This is the time when an exhausted, ugly pedal stroke isn’t just ugly: it’s perfect. It’s when success means failing over and over again, because pushing to failure is the whole point.
And that is why these are also the most beautiful kilometers of the year.
Lovely blog on the Diadora Pasta Zara’s training camp - with photos that make me green with envy!
It was Daphny van den Brand’s final race before she retires, so apparently Marianne Vos suggested all the riders wear Daphny-style plaits, in honour of her - such a sweet idea!
Let me finish. You got kicked in the heart. You got kicked in the head. You got kicked in the soul and in the spaces where disappointment hurts an athlete most. But you still have your legs. So kick back.
The switch flips. My sadness turns a corner and runs smack into self-reliance. No matter the mental obstacles, an athlete is still in control of her body, and that has to be enough. I do have my legs, and should the UCI ever rip them off, I’ve got plenty of duct tape. So, here and now, I’m kicking back.
On the bike today, I kicked out the last of the sadness. I kicked out the burden I cannot control. I kicked myself into a reestablished dream. I kicked out higher watt averages than I have all year. I knew nothing good would come from kicking the governing body of my sport. What’s done is done. So instead, I kicked where the sun don’t shine. And laughed while it cried.
So go ahead, UCI, take my points away. I’ll get more. And while you’re at it, take my disappointment, my heartache and my frustration. I don’t need those, either. Here are some other things you can take: take the high road when it comes to helping federations that are still growing in the sport of cycling. Take caution when taking away what an athlete’s earned. Take care of your cyclists, fight for them and not against.
Kathryn Bertine has been documenting her quest to get to ride for St Kitts & Nevis at the Olympics - but it’s taken a blow when she found that the UCI points she thought she’d won had been rescinded. Read the link for more, but I think it’s completely insane that the UCI are on the one hand promoting “internationalisation”, and on the other, penalising riders who rode a women’s race in South America! It’s hardly their fault that the sport isn’t big, or other teams don’t travel to race there! Aaaargh, it makes me so cross! I hope Bertine can get it sorted out - and huge props to her for her positive attitude in the face of all this!