|At the finish. We made it!|
The last stage was by no means easy. It was like racing Monster Cross again after 7 hard days on the bike. There was nothing fun about the stage. We started in the A corral today which meant a fast start and fast pace for the entire 85km. Brad was not messing around. He pushed the pace the entire time. I would have been happy to sit in the pack and ride at a comfortably hard pace to the finish. Brad had me riding at an uncomfortably fast pace, and I was chasing his wheel the entire time. He asked me at one point how I was doing. "Good," I said. My inner voice was saying "ugh, slow the fuck down." But I like being pushed and tried my absolute hardest not to let Brad down on the last stage. We finished 5th in the mixed category and 79th overall on the stage. We ended up in 6th place in the mixed category for the entire race, which I couldn't be more happy about. We were also the 3rd fastest American team there behind Jeremiah Bishop and George Hincapie, so I'll take that!
|Packing up our suitcases one last time|
|The start line this morning for the final stage|
|We definitely sent it today!|
|My trusty and dusty hydration pack and race number. We are no longer newbies!|
|Brad and me with our physios, Heleen and Marlia|
|The entire CTS group! We made it.|
|The CTS group at the polo grounds at Val De Vie|
|Brad, me and Stephen at the finish and after showers!|
I really can't thank my sponsors enough: Maxxis Tires (no flats the entire race), ESI grips (no slip, no blisters), Ridge Supply Socks (so much dust to shake) and Joe's Bike Shop for my amazing bike. Also to Motor Mile Racing, HandUp Gloves, Hunter packs and Hincapie Sports Wear.
To my coach, Chris Beck, for getting me ready for this race and giving we workouts that fit in around a busy residency schedule.
To Brad, the best teammate ever. He pushed me everyday to ride my hardest and outside of my comfort zone. I hope I was as good a teammate as he was to me.
And most of all, to my amazing and incredibly supportive husband, Jeff, who puts up with my crazy schedule and sometimes obsessive training, who held down the fort while I've been away, and who has helped me get so much better at all the technical aspects of mountain biking.
The bikes are all broken down and boxed up, we've had our celebratory beers and we are back in Cape Town now, packing to fly out tomorrow. Thanks so much for reading and following our adventure. See some of y'all at Warrior Creek this weekend!