What a day! So many things I want to record here but time is short so here are a few quick thoughts. We rolled out with about 20 or so riders and I found myself tapping it out on the first climb. The first goal was to reach the 80km mark in good shape for the big climb of the day; Mt Palomar. From a cycling point of view it doesn’t get any better. As we climbed to 5000ft we marveled at the views but knew we needed to keep the fluids up as the temp continued to rise. Going over the KOM was great as the crowds cheered us for our efforts and the reward was a 20 minute descent on smooth hot mix round perfectly radiused corners.
Riding through the valley the temp soared to over 40deg and water became the name of the game. The final KOM was a heartbreaker, down to just 4 riders, we swapped off all the way through the valley. By this stage my water was gone. The climb was by far the steepest hovering between 10-15% and here the crowds urged us on in the heat with water sprays and one lovely lady passing out iced towels.
The heros of the day were our sojeuners, Heidi and Janice. (and Scott) They knew exactly where to be and with the temp rising, we were going through 1 litre an hour.
A welcome pit stop came at the top of the last climb as we regrouped for the final 35km into town. Some of the riders who had gotten a lift to catch up took up the pace with fresher legs and by about 10km to go I was feeling human again having caught up on my hydration.
The roll down to the sprint finish was somber as we thought of the purpose of our cause. A quick drink and we met up with the Cancer Walk group and we rode at the head of the walk.
Finally we got changed and headed for the hospitality and how good it was to watch the end of the race in luxury comfort while refuelling the body. The pro finish was a blast, and it was so good to see the break away hold off the sprinters. My first pro race finish and I was tingling at the excitement of the crowd and the main bunch sprinted for third with Sagan prevailing.
Sitting around the pool with the team now having had a tuna salad for dinner, feeling very relaxed but knowing tomorrow will be a big challenge, as the forecast is for longer and hotter.