No one knew what to expect for Kitzbuhel, except that the bike was going to be hard. Since I’m fairly new to the bike, Jamie Turner and I knew we had a lot of work to do.
I had four weeks leading up to Kitzbuhel to focus on cycling. Before joining Jamie Turner’s group, I went on one, or maybe two four-hour rides in my life. But once I was with Jamie, that changed very quickly. The past four weeks changed my cycling dramatically: my outlook went from scared and dreading rides over three hours, to embracing and exploring new roads around Vitoria. I actually felt like a cyclist, and was blown away at how enjoyable long rides can be. I got excited to pack food and look at maps, trying to figure out how many category 1 (hard) climbs we were going to do for the day. Jamie and I didn’t (and still don’t) know how long it will take my body to adapt to a cycling block because I’ve never done one before. It’s exciting to try new things in training to see what works and what doesn’t.
I was training mostly with Ryan Bailie, Jason Wilson, and Patrick Lemieux leading up to Kitzbuhel. It was really nice to have Pat on the rides with me: he would go my pace up climbs, and give me advice on form. He may not have enjoyed my company as much I enjoyed his as I could get pretty cracked (which usually turns into crankiness) on long, hard rides.
Riding 120k was not uncommon in the lead up to Kitzbuhel. One 120k ride in particular stands out in my memory: I was 100k in to a 120k ride and I was craving a chocolate treat. Earlier in the day, Pat and I went to the International Food Festival in Vitoria and bought treats for the ride. One treat Pat bought was a baklava-type granola bar with chocolate. Before the ride, I asked Pat to save me a bite of the chocolate treat (obviously he didn’t get the memo). Fast forward 100k and many hills later: I was ready for this treat! I turned to Pat and asked for a bite of the chocolate bar. He looked at me in shock and pulled out a different treat. I said, “No, I want the other one. Don’t you remember? I asked you to save me some?” Pat didn’t know how to respond. He apparently ate it without realizing and when I found out my legs stopped pedaling and I was almost in tears. Seems silly to think about it now, but I had been waiting 100k for that treat. Pat claimed I didn’t miss much as the treat was not great, but I had three other treats from that same place earlier in my ride and every one was delicious. Lesson learned: take the food I want before the ride.
When we arrived at Kitzbuhel, I was ready to go. I didn’t expect to win, but I was ready to put up a fight. I had improved in four weeks, but my biking was not up to par with the girls who podiumed. Those girls road amazingly, and I wasn’t able to match the pace on Saturday. The truth is, at this race, if you had a great bike, you were in a great position for a good result. I had a mediocre bike and ended up 18th on the day. I have a lot of respect for the course and the girls who suffered up the Horn with me.
My parents were able to make the trip to Kitzbuhel and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the historic event. The media coverage was not an easy task, but Barrie Shepley, Kris Gemmell, and the ITU did an amazing job commentating and keeping everyone up to date on how the race played out. They deserve a special thank you from all of us racing and those spectating.
I now have two weeks to recover/prepare for Hamburg. Hamburg will be a two-day event with a sprint WTS triathlon on Saturday, followed by a super sprint relay on Sunday. I’m extremely excited to go to Hamburg – the fans are amazing.