Stage One Redlands: Oak Glen 71 miles. Thankfully, the first QOM (queen of mountain) effort was not so tough... I`m not really sure why...but I am not complaining. It made the five mile climb leading up to it much more tolerable than I had anticipated.
Naturally, my role as a teammate is to cover attacks so that my "climbing teammates" can reserve their legs for the six mile climb at the end of the stage. Well..... somewhere between QOM #1 and #2, I cover this incredible attack, and suddenly find myself in some serious company. This break would basically be the decisive move of the day and man! -- I hurt so much after awhile in that break that I just fell right off. My legs started cramping something horrible and all I could do was watch the small group ride away from me as we headed toward the second QOM. The pack then caught me and the front portion of the main group passed me right by. I was able to connect with a small group that was just barely split from the main group and by the end of the descent after the QOM, we managed to attach to the main field.
I was still recovering and my legs were on the verge of cramping again, when I was instructed to go back for water bottles
--and although I had a sneaky suspicion that I would never see the field again if I dropped back for bottles, I went anyway.
By the time I was loaded up with bottles and heading back up to the field, the race ahead had strung out single file, not to mention that there was a fierce headwind. My teammate Lara, and I did everything thing we could to attach back on, but sure enough...right when we got onto the back of the field, we popped off!!
Soon after --every team car, the medical support and even the police escort all passed by. I just kept pedaling....Lara had dropped back and I was on my own.
You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet...all the hubub of the race was well up the road, far out of site. I think that there were still 10-12miles left to go and six of those were climbing. I came to the base of the climb completely alone and with noone in sight. I just kept pedaling.
About halfway up the climb, I started to see the cars again and a little ways up from there I began to see a group of riders. That was a welcome sight for my eyes! And by the time it was all said and done I had climbed my way back into being only 45" seconds back from a group that was once clean out of sight. Thank goodness I saw those riders, because that is what kept me motivated to keep on going even though I had spent so much time all alone.....
Tomorrow is another day and I will live to see it. Kori is in the Sprinter`s jersey so we will have some work to do!