Thursday, July 7, 2016

Epic Camp France Day 11

Today was a day filled with internal turmoil.  John said that he would not be tacking on today, and I was just over two points away from yellow.  If I tacked on, then it would come down to whoever won the triathlon race today.  Tacking on after the race is a little unsportsmanlike, but it’s technically within the rules.

I decided to tack on in the morning before the race.  I wanted to do an easy 30k ride just to close the points gap a little.  Closing the gap a little would give me a wider buffer for the triathlon race.  I’ve been getting up really early this entire camp, so getting up early to ride at 6:30am was no big deal.  I just headed towards Thonos again since it’s a reasonably easy downhill on the way out and an easy spin on the way back.

I was back by 7:45 for breakfast and had a lot of time to mentally prepare for the race.  We rolled out at 9am and spun up the hill to the lake.  We set up our transitions and got a ride to the far end of the lake to do the swim.

The swim was a long “drag race” from one end to the other.  I FINALLY was able to swim in my wetsuit, and it felt fantastic.  The freezing cold water didn’t seem so bad.  Actually, it was quite nice and refreshing.  I stayed within sight of John for most of the swim, but towards the end he got away from me.  I wasn’t sure just how far, but I imagine he had three or four minutes on me.

I got out on my bike quickly, but as soon as the climb started, I dropped my chain.  It got jammed between the crank and the frame, so I had to muscle it out and sliced my thumb in the process.  It was bleeding a lot, but with the adrenaline, I couldn’t feel a thing.  Given that I didn’t know how far ahead John and Shannon were, I dug super deep and biked as hard as I could.  I knew there was a big descent that I could recover on, so I wouldn’t give up much going hard.  About halfway up, I caught Shannon, and I could see John with 1km to go to the summit.

I am a pretty good descender, so I figured I could probably catch John on the way down.  I wasn’t suicidal on the descent, but I was definitely a bit reckless.  It paid off though; I caught John just before the bottom of the descent before town.  We still had a short 2km climb back to the lake, so there was still a bit of riding left to do.

John got to T2 just as I was leaving, so I stepped on the gas.  I didn’t feel like I was running all that fast, but it was enough to hold John off.  At each turn around the lake, I looked back and saw him slowly fading.  I was still expecting him to surge, so I kept the pace as high as I could for all three laps.  I crossed first and heard that John had fallen back quite a bit.  I finished right at 38min 10k pace for 9km.  Given that this was the last day of camp, I’m pretty blown away by that.  We all hung around until everyone finished.  It was the activity of the camp for most, so it was pretty emotional.  Some smiled, some laughed, and some cried.

Now this is where the internal turmoil starts for me.  Given that I won the race, I was less than a point behind yellow.  I could tack on and take yellow, or I could let John have it.  He said he wouldn’t tack on, so it was essentiall my call.

I decided to do it.  I tacked on a 30k bike for that last point that I needed.  A lot of people are going to make me feel bad about this, but I don’t feel bad for a second.  There are a lot of reasons why I did it too.  I was handicapped this entire camp.  In case you didn’t know, I got my bike and wetsuit at night on day 9 which meant for nine days I was fighting and uphill battle.  On day one, I missed a competition that would have netted me three points which meant I would have had a solid lead for yellow for the entire camp.  For that reason, I needed to make up points whenever I had the opportunity, and it just so happened that that opportunity was on the very last day.

And that’s a wrap.  Another Epic Camp in the books.  I look forward to enjoying future camps and not chasing any jerseys.  I’m done with the points competition.  Future camps will be all about drinking beer, eating ice cream, and enjoying being on my bike with cool people.

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