|65km with 2250 metres of vertical ascent|
The Alpine summer ended on Saturday night when torrential rain and thunderstorms arrived. With no respite forecast I found myself stood on the start line in full waterproofs! Once the race started we were immediately splashing through deep puddles - the shock of the cold made me gasp - and within minutes thunder rumbled and lightening brightened the sky! The first climb took us through steep, narrow cobbled streets and eventually along a switchback forest track where the soft ground sucked at my wheels. My legs didn't feel great, perhaps because of the cold, so I decided to ride at a comfortable pace while I warmed up. Jane Nussli was approximately 10 seconds ahead of me when Michela Benzoni passed me; I followed her wheel and eventually we reeled in Jane who didn't come with us.
Michela and I reached the top of the first climb together; however I was able to pull out a 30 second lead on the descent, which I gradually extended until the finish. Throughout the course there were some excellent singletrail descents, including steep, narrow switchbacks; rocky singletrails; and rooty sections, all of which were made more technical due to the rain. I really liked the course in the dry, but I loved it in the wet :)
While I loved the descents, I just didn't seem to have as much power in my legs as normal on the climbs - perhaps it was because my legs were too cold. On the last descent I got so cold that I had to change gear with my palms and on the last steep singletrail descent I had to stop completely because I couldn't brake anymore! I eventually stopped shaking once I'd changed into warm clothes and drank hot tea, but it took a while for my blue lips to regain their colour!
1 Sally Bigham (GBr) 3:52:30
2 Michela Benzoni (Ita) 3:55:48
3 Jane Nussli (GBr) 3:56:46
Full results can be found here.
Next stop: Round 4 of the UCI Marathon Series, Ornans, France on October 2nd.