Sunday, February 7, 2016

From South America to the Middle East

Last time I checked in I was in San Luis, Argentina and in the thralls of an unexpectedly windy and hot race. Well now I'm in Qatar and getting ready for the expected chaos of this typically windswept race. To catch you up quickly, San Luis finished up pretty well. I recovered ok from my stage 2 crash, with the worst problem being a lingering bruise/sore spot on my hip. It didn't seem to affect me while riding too much, but it was obvious during sleep and massage. Stage 6 was the queen stage of the race, finishing on a series of three climbs categorized 3, 1, and 1 respectively. Essentially it was an hors category climb though because they were all connected by a couple short downhills. When we started the final climb(s) I stuck my nose in it and battled all I could. I didn't have the highest confidence after stage 4, but I tried to forget that and deal with the task at hand. I happily found that I felt much better and was able to hang in for a lot longer. I did come undone on a steep pitch midway through the second climb, but I was happy with the better sensations, especially because when I came off I wasn't completely cracked. Now you're wondering, "why did you come off then?" Well, sometimes you just can't go harder than the current speed/pace, so you can't follow and then it's kind of over. I continued to fight, but after coming off there was a ridiculous, New Mexico-esque wind that pounded me from all sides (but the back!) and made it impossible to chase back on. Without the shelter of the group, I had no chance. I soldiered on to the top, fighting every pedal stroke of the way against the swirling, whipping wind. I know several guys got blown off the road and maybe have even crashed. I did not crash and was happy to finish the day. The final stage was fairly ceremonial and I helped out as much I could, but the sprint was no place for me! I was happy to be headed home, mostly intact.

After a marathon travel and a couple quick days at sponsor/training camp, there was no better greeting for me than my family picking me up at the airport. Noah is walking now and he gave me the best greeting I could've ever asked for, basically running and yelling with excitement to see me. It was pretty emotional actually. The knowledge that he truly knows you and apparently is excited to be reunited is both invigorating and saddening. It certainly makes leaving home harder again, but it also makes you value each moment you get with your family that much more. I had a quick week at home with Lisa and Noah between San Luis and Qatar, but it was reenergizing and productive. I had a few good training sessions, some good coffee and dinner dates, and got to reconnect with home nicely. Nothing better than that!

So now I've shipped out to Qatar, arriving yesterday evening, and we start racing tomorrow. I had a real struggle with jeg lag last night, being awake from about 2:15-5:30am, but I'm hoping tonight will be much better. On a positive note, I felt quite ok during training today, so perhaps I can dig out of this hole quickly. I have no clue what tomorrow will hold as I am a rookie here, but I'm kind of expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Everyone knows the stories of the crosswinds here, so that makes me a little anxious, but at least I won't be blind sided by it. All I can do is fight for it and hope I'm in the right place at the right time! That's all from the desert. Good night.


Anonymous said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...
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