After a brutal xc mtb race, what would you normally to the next day? 66km around one of the Mediterranean’s top beauty spots? No. that would be silly.
Still Dave Henderson and I somehow managed to steel ourselves and get to the start line alongside half of southern europe (at least that’s how it felt when the gun went and I got caught up in their tyre dust).
These things settle pretty quickly and before long the elite women who finished 2nd, 4th and 5th yesterday were locked in battle. The 3 of us rode together out along Croatias’ Kamenjak peninsula sharing wheels and scrappy lines through dusty single track. Until Polands’ Katarzyna Solus – Miskow kicked on a hill and we dropped the Ukrainian Belomoina Yana of the Superior- Brentjens MTB Team.
I managed to stay with yesterdays’ 2nd place finisher and together we rode steadily around a 22km lap before she kicked again and this time my legs said no. Actually they screamed it.
I rode the remaining 30km alone being battered by a vicious cross wind and my own fatigue. Some friendly Croatians stepped in to hand up some bottles for Dave and I but in them was only water which I was grateful for but wished it had some fuel in too. In the remaining 15 kms I was out of energy and tried to eat a bar. Big mistake. 1. I could not breathe and had to jam in into my cheeks like a greedy hamster 2. when it eventually hit my stomach, the protestations that recently took place in my legs shifted to there and said bar promptly made a second appearance. Enough said.
I pulled out a lead of over 7 minutes on Ukaraines’ Yana but never saw first place agin after she disappeared with some guys in a safe wee group round a headland. I was bereft.
I came over the line after 3 hours 11 minutes of brutal rocky, beautiful trail and flopped in a heap in front of the High Five tent where, without a word, a kindly soul took my bottle out of my hand and filled it up with fresh water. The people here are lovely.
I recovered a bit and an hour later was able to get onto the podium (with a helping hand) where I recived all sorts of prizes my favourite of which was a Strawberry Slag (pictured above). It was delicious. From now on my favourite flavoured Slag will always be strawberry.