Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DAY 5 – Must Stay in the Draft!

Last night’s dinner party was definitely one of the best I’ve seen of all TAs. All-you-can-eat pan-fried chicken with side dishes and mega desserts. Only dish lacking was a green veggie. All the Cdn gals devoured quite a few chicken pieces except for Leah with her own Tupperware conconction. Tanner and Greg took a few days off support duty to go hiking in Italy so we won't see them until Sat.

It seems like the smaller the village, the bigger the food spread and excitement at the event. Same goes for at home as I doubt many Albertan residents know Transrockies exists though Canmore, Fernie and Invermere residents are probably well atuned.

Finally I had my first great night’s sleep. Must have been the fried chicken!

The joke was that Day 5 would only take us 2-hours. Well, I was finished in 2 ½ hours though it wasn’t a super easy effort. It was a day where staying in the draft was critical or it would be pretty lonely in the headwinds.

The morning started with a dense fog in the village at 0C! One of our coldest starts. Bummer the race didn’t start 2 hours later as it would be a short race day and temps would be warmer later (race plans for the later start next year). The first 15-kms ventured the scenic route thru a few villages until we hit the open highway. The race opened up once we hit the first climb which was a reasonable grade average 8%.

I just dropped off the pace of Leah’s group and barely hung onto the group with Team Paola Pezzo. I slipped off but had one guy for company which helped as we rode and groaned next to each other.

I was super happy to have a strong guy to follow on the descent. We picked up two more riders on the fast descent and one guy caught us. We worked together with me mostly hiding at the back of the pack on the descents. I put in an effort but my 49-kg was no match against gravity and the headwind vs the bigger boys.

Going fast thru one village, a driver got confused with one of the race flagman and DEAD-stopped in front of us. The rider I was following just barely escaped by swerving left around the car, and I miraculously escaped with millimeters from the rider colliding into me. Phew!

On the 3-D demonstration last night, the course didn’t look exciting. Yet as we rode, the scenery was outstanding especially as we approached the mountains high above us. The first view of the glaciers clinging onto the side of the mtn near Fitzmoos was breathtaking. Half-way the roads seemed to continuously gently climb at 3-4%.

Our little group split again on one of the climbs. We could see a small group with Team Paola Pezzo in it just a couple hundred metres ahead. So close yet so far.

The ride on the mountain roads was beautiful and quaint. My group of three worked together to the last fast descent into Ramsau am Dachstein. Most racers sat outside and nibbled on a cold pasta meal, and chatted. It was the most social time we’ve had post-race with the short finish time. It was abit cool sitting outside though the sunshine kept us warm.

My B&B is only 400m away. Super quiet and peaceful here. I was eyeing some of the goats in the yard wondering about access to raw goat milk! One of my recovery drinks calls for it though it is hard to come by. (photo- my b&b on right, farmhouse with goats, free range chickens and teeny horses on left) Hope my morning egg came from one of those happy chickens!
Pic of the huge mountain Dachstein that looks very typical of a Canadian Rocky mountain. This area looks like a fun place to explore with hikes and bike rides.
Sidenote on gear… Each racer was provided a huge bag for their gear, clothing and personal stuff. The race organization then transports all the bags to where the racers are staying each night. In advance, we needed to provide them our booked list of accom. It is so nice to ride up to my home for the night with my bag waiting for me. The only downside is my bag has to be outside by 7 a.m. each morning for the race organization to pick up. That leaves no last minute decisions on clothing choice as the weather changes from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. race start time. After I put my bag outside at 7 a.m., I then walk to breakfast at the B&B in my socks!


Doug said...

Marg! Great recaps so far - wish I was there to race this one as I've been through a few of the towns you've stayed in. Race hard and have fun!

Marg Fedyna said...

Thanks Doug! It's a good event to catch someday.