Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Epic Camp France Day 9

Day 9 was by far my lowest point in this camp.  It was the most mentally challenging day that I’ve had in a long time.
The day started off pretty well.  We had a relatively late breakfast and started rolling at 8:30.  It was an easy 5k descent into town before hitting the first KOM of the day.  I started off pretty strong, but Newsom, Shannon, and JB were on my wheel.  We were all pushing fairly hard, but halfway up the climb the three of them took off.  It was very disheartening to see them all slowly pull away.  With about 5k to go, I saw JB struggling a little bit.  He was falling off of Shannon’s wheel, and I felt like I could catch him.  This gave me a second wind, and I caught him with two km’s to go.  With 500m to go, I looked back, and he was too far behind to sprint which meant I could soft pedal to the top.  I later found out that Shannon out  sprinted Newsom.  This was BIG news because it meant that I was solidly in the lead.  I was already ahead, but only losing one place to Newsom meant that the KOM jersey was safe.  We quickly descended and regrouped at the right turn at the bottom to make sure everyone made it.
The next climb was not a KOM, so we took it slowly together.  And then disaster struck.  The road was entirely gravel, and a pebble jumped up into my rear derailleur.  As a result, my derailleur ripped off and got stuck in my wheel.  DAMMIT.  Not again!  This is exactly what happened in Canada.  Everyone else went on, and I waited for Ian to save the day.  Only he couldn’t.  He had three spare derailleur hangers, but none of them fit my bike.  I was destined to finish the ride in the van.
The ride in the van was demoralizing.  I saw my fellow campers out there crushing themselves, and all I could do is sit and watch.  Even though it was totally out of my control, I felt disgraceful wearing the yellow jersey.  Oli and I supported everyone for a bit, but we eventually drove on to the accommodation in Montriond.
Once we got here, I immediately grabbed my run and swim stuff and headed to the lake.  It was a 2.5km run uphill to the lake which I was not happy about.  I ran slowly, and once I got to the lake, I ran even slower around it until I hit 8km.  The trail around the lake is total crap.  The rocks are way too big, and I felt like I was going to roll my anlke with every step.
Once I hit 8km, I put on my sleeveless wetsuit and got into the water.  Holy shit was it cold!  I swam as long as I could, but I could barely manage 1700m before my body was ready to shut down.  I got out and shivered for about 10 minutes before I could even think about taking off the wetsuit.
The one saving grace as that my bike was scheduled to arrive in Morzine today.  We hired a taxi to drive my bike from La Grave to Morzine.  We agreed to pay 400 euros, but when the guy got closer, he told us that the price went up to 450.  And when he finally got here, he demanded 512!!  This was insane, and both Ian and I were fuming.  There was a minor confontation, but the guy eventually let me have my bike.  The three of us were shaking as we walked back to the chalet.
I was reinvigorated as I put together my bike.  It went together smoothly, and as soon as it was ready, I headed out towards Lake Geneva.  I rode an extra 66km to make up the distance that I missed earlier.  This meant that I wouldn’t miss out on any points from the day.
When I got back, everyone was just finishing up dinner.  John rolled the KOM points into the yellow jersey points, and I was about three points ahead in yellow.  This felt fantastic.  I beasted through dinner and showered and went straight to bed.  Tomorrow would be a huge day, and it starts with a fast 10k at 6:30am.  I need to be ready for that.
Thanks to Brigitte and Sam for keeping my spirits high despite my incredible low today.

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