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Cycling - 11. May 2011.

Tour of Chongming Island, China

Team-Lotto-Honda--China.jpg


Wednesday the 11th of May. Stage One; 73.4km.

What a crazy day in my world! Today’s stage could be described as one of the
most boring races we’ve ever done but in my world it was a little more
eventful, or should I say challenging?

Yesterday’s temperature was reported to be 36-37 degrees, and today was
about 16 degrees and poring rain, that’s right- it doesn’t sound that cold
so why did I suffer and shiver so much? I really don’t know. I was looking
around at the other women wondering why no one else wasshivering as much as
I was. Most people will immediately comment that it’s due to my low
percentage of body fat but there were plenty of lean women in thebunch who
looked considerably comfortable!

After 20km I ask Marissa to come back to the car with me, at this point I
was already shivering at a very uncontrollable rate! I asked for a jacket
and Wes held a rain jacket out the car window, (I was already wearing; a
sports bra, undershirt, jersey and wind/rain vest) I told Wes ‘um no, I need
the biggest warmest jacket you have!!’ He passed me a nice warm long sleeve
jersey which I had trouble getting on over all my layers- Marissa gave me a
hand, together we managed to get it on and then Marissa towed me back into
the bunch.

It was only 3-5 minutes before the jacket was soaked through and I was
shivering uncontrollably again. I kept tellingmyself that the pace in the
bunch would pick up soon and I’d warm up. I started to ride on the side of
the bunch in the wind, trying to work harder in order to get warm- nothing
was working. I was taking deep breaths and concentrating on relaxing my body
but upon inhalation, my body would jolt and the shivering would start again.


The pace started to increase but little did I know (as I couldn’t remain
still enough to focus on my speedo reading) that the first intermediate
sprint was approaching! I was positioned well but completely missed the
first sprint- I was too busy worrying about my health and how cold I
actually was- it also crossed my mind that I had picked up a bug and was
actually sick!

Once the first sprint was completed and the pace settled again I felt the
sudden urge to pee… this doesn’t happen often and not so early in a stage
(at the 40km mark). I asked Cherise to drop back just in the case the pace
picked up and we needed to work hard to re-enter the bunch. No dramas.

We were now 10km away from the second and final intermediate sprint of the
day and I wanted to have a go. The problemwas, my mental state was not good.
I had completed the first half of the race telling myself that I’ll warm up
as the pace increases but I was now thinking about pulling out of the tour
on day one. The other little voice in my head was saying- just hang in there
and get to the finish- not far now. The two voices argued about pulling the
pin, or pushing on! I’m glad the latter voice won the argument, as the
weather prediction tomorrow is 27 degrees and dry.

Anyway, Marissa took me to the front so I was positioned well for the second
sprint but not for a moment did my jaw stop chattering or body stop shaking,
even when I was pushing hard in the string of sprinters I was shivering-
crazy! I didn’t really get there for the second sprint- I was forth which is
useless. Although, I did feel good power in mylegs so I was motivated for
the finish.

There was about 25km to go and the bunch was moving pretty fast so I kept
telling myself to hang in there. I couldn’t eat or drink as I was simply too
tense, also, my gels were under a couple of jackets and my fingers were
numb!

I knew that all the shivering would have used up a lot of energy and that
having not eaten any of my scheduled 5 gels that my power could be down a
little. The circumstances for a good sprint were not ideal but I was trying
to stay positive!

A little negativity entered my mind with a few kilometres to go, I couldn’t
believe that even though the lead out trains had commenced and the speed was
high, I was still dangerously jolting due to involuntary muscle spasms.
Sometimes I was scared that they’d throw me off my bike and/or cause an
accident.

It was a very messy lead into the sprint, the road was wide and there was no
organisation. One second I’d be third wheel, and three seconds later I’d be
ten rider’s back. Vicki was around me until a kilometer to go which is
always helpful. I was not really focused in the sprint- I was just drifting
with the front riders until the final 300m when I actually had to start my
sprint- I found myself in the wind and drag raced to the line; I didn’t take
over anyone- and no one over took me so I finished where I started- 6th.
Lizze Armitstead won from Ina Teutenberg.

What a day! I jumped straight in the car and told my director to drive
directly to the hotel, just 2kms away- with the heater running full gas! I
told him that he’ll have to come back to check the anti doping list etc… the
other girls were already riding back. I jumped in a hot shower immediately-
before removing my helmet and shoes!

I was soon warm, drinking protein and eating rice in order to replace all
those calories I had burnt up!!

I’ve had a nice massage and I’m now recovering in my skins recovery tights,
and eating High5 protein and energy bars to keep the calorie intake up!

It certainly was a challenge day on the bike, I’m relieved that it’s over
and I’m hoping for a better day and result tomorrow!

Until then…

Rochelle
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