At last a top ten! Tuesday’s Durango Durango Emakumeen Saria race went much better than my Valladolid World Cup on Sunday. I placed 9th in a top class field, 21 seconds down on race winner Marianne Vos.
The race started in Durango, Spain with four 18km laps followed by two climbs of 2.7km and 3km respectively and a 11km descent to the finish line in Durango.
Once again, my race was not without incident!
The first four laps went well; I held good position in the bunch and even got into an unexpected breakaway on the descent of the small climb. This was never going to last, so I played in cool waiting for the bigger climbs later in the race.
As we crested the first major climb of the day at 84.1km, in a group of about 30 girls, I dropped my chain whilst changing into my big blade. Even with a few pushes from some girls in my bunch, I was not able to get the chain back on, so was forced to stop, get off my bike and put it on myself. I lost some time on the bunch and was forced to work very hard to get back to the bunch, but giving up was just NOT AN OPTION!!!!
Luckily there was a bit of a plateau at the top of the climb, so I managed to rejoin the front bunch just before we started to descend. This cost me some valuable energy, but at least I was back with a chance!
Hitting the second major climb, I made my way to the front part of the bunch. Emma Pooley (Garmin Cervelo) attacked nearing the top of the climb, taking Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) with her. After my hard chase back effort and not having had much opportunity to eat or drink as a result, I just didn’t have enough left in the legs to go with Pooley and Vos. I decided to stay calm with Judith Arndt (HTC Highroad) and Emma Johansson (Hitec Products).
On the 11km descent to the finish, I lost Arndt and Johansson’s wheels. It was quite technical to start, and with a back wheel that had a slow leak, I was nervous to take too many risks. Arndt and Johansson managed to join Pooley and Vos on the descent. I formed part of a 5 girl chase group and together we tried to catch the leading four.
They were just in sight all the way to the finish line, but we unfortunately did not manage to catch them. Entering the sprint, I gave it my all, but with a soft tyre and a hard chase back, I just didn’t have enough to outsprint the others.
I was happy with my top 10 finish and relieved that things are slowly but surely coming together! I am still waiting for that perfect race, but for now I am happy to know that I am growing in strength, experience and confidence!
Today I start the Emakumeen Bira Tour. It is a 4 day, 5 stage race in the Basque region of Spain. Stage 1 starts this afternoon at 16:30. It is a 75km stage with one category 3 climb. Read more here