To be honest I thought for the last 20km of todays race what to title my blog tonight. I came up with a few options, but the basic message is lessons. Today school was in session and the first of many European lessons was had. I began the ascent of the category 1 climb about 110th of 120 riders: NOT A GOOD IDEA. Now obviously I did not "voluntarily" put myself there, but the long descent prior did. I am working on my descending skills and today was another confirmation I have a little work to do. Anyway, long story short, I started near last, had a lot of ground to make up and that does not help in the bid to make the front group...
Yes I did make it to the first group of about 45 riders a ways up the climb, but I was in the pain cave at that point. I did a little recovery and thought I might be able to make it, but then the wheels seemed to come undone... or so I think. I came unhitched and went over the top probably 60-90sec off the back, but still close enough that if I had been able to catch a group of 4 guys who were about 10meters in front of me I probably would have reintegrated on the descent. Well, my legs did not cooperate to close the HUGE 10m gap and I never reintegrated, left to ride it in feeling a bit dejected/disappointed.
I have been lucky enough in my short cycling career to finish near or in the first group in nearly every race. I knew coming to Europe that was probably not going to be the case, but it is still a hard kick in the face to take. It really makes you wonder if you have what it takes or if you could have made it. "Did I give up?" "Did I wimp out?" etc, etc. the questioning goes on in the head wondering if you were making the pain up and should be in the group or "what could have been". Whatever, what's done is done and I didn't do it today.
I am sure this is just one of many times this could happen and I have to keep riding hard and training hard and use it as motivation to make me get to the front group next time. And now I have opportunity to work for my teammates and hopefully help them to high finishes. It is a team sport and everyone has ups and downs. And it is my first race and I am sure I will get better as the season progresses. For now, I take it as one of those experiences I have said all along I want to learn from. Stay tuned for more reports as the race goes on. Check out www.teamradioshack.com for other updates. Or Google Giro di Sardenga if you can read Italian or Spanish, whatever the website is in. Ok, sweet dreams to me!