Anyways, Stage 12 was our chance to say goodbye to the Alps and head out on the flatlands to southern France. As you all know, I love the climbing so today was a little sad but I'm stoked to get into the Pyrenees soon too! Overall the stage was hard, as usual, long, as usual, and awesome, as usual!!! Actually, the stage was about 150miles with 2 big climbs. Let's just say it was a long long day in the saddle. But we made it and that's what counts!
But the real story from this stage is all about teamwork! The good, the bad, and the ugly sides of teamwork are something totally new to me. Check out this Peloton Magazine and Cannondale video where we talk about it a little before heading out here. As I say in the video, I don't do team sports. Never have. The closest thing I've come to team sports is being on a relay in swimming and that's still just you and your lane and swimming as fast as you can.
But today was my real introduction to the dark and the light (mostly light) sides of this strange and foreign concept.
I had my first bad moments on the bike. I'm not sure if it was from not eating enough for breakfast, a bad sleep, or maybe that second glass of wine the night before (nah, definitely not the wine), but I was not feeling it in those first 50km. I was struggling. Mentally and physically. I knew to expect this, that we'd all have bad days, but I wasn't really expecting so much support from everyone around me. Jennifer noticed right away and was keeping her eye on me as I drifted off the pack and back on during our first climb. Kate put her head down and just drilled the flat miles without even looking for someone to take a turn. Heidi and Kym circled back to see how things were going and to keep us all together. Thank God for these ladies. They were my heroes today.
|Kate and Heidi's "serious" faces...|
But the teamwork doesn't stop there either! After doing two HC or Cat1 climbs and riding for nearly 75miles, we rolled into lunch only to be informed that we needed to haul ass for the next 75miles so we could catch the Dutch group's bus so our van could be used to transport the people lagging behind us. Not the ideal situation or what we wanted to hear, but we knew what we needed to do and all of us sucked it up and put our heads down, drilling out the second half mile after mile.
At the end of the day, as we were pulling into the finish, I could't help but get off my bike and give these ladies a huge hug. I am soooo not a hugger, so this was a weird feeling for me. But I was just so proud of our team for sucking it up and getting it done.
If this is what teamwork is, I'm into to. It's amazing to feel so loyal to others and want nothing more to see everyone succeed. We made a huge step in Stage 12, we finished the Alps, and we came together as a team.