I started the race with several layers on, including a rain jacket. I had Shammy Butt'r Hot Embro, or hot warming balm in other words, on my feet. For anybody who uses warming balm, you know that the ''hot'' stuff is SERIOUS business. I used the mild version on my legs (even on the glutes, on Adrian's advice, he is our wise mechanic) and slathered a layer of oil on top before putting my Champion Systems leg warmers on. It's not ''Euro'' to race with leg warmers apparently, but that doesn't change anything for me, I'm North American. I didn't regret wearing them.
Several km after the start a huge crowd of school children cheered all of the riders on. There were tons of fans on the hill of the main climb in today's stage. Others were scattered throughout the course with their cowbells in hand. We might not acknowledge them when we race by, but we hear the cheers, and we know they're there, and we LOVE the support.
Briefly, how it played out:
There were a few breaks in the race, and Optum was present in all of them. Leah went in the first break, which stayed away from the main field for quite some time. Then Jade, Carmen and Janel caught up to her group. This was good for Optum. Near the end of the race, with just over 10km to go, the main field was all back together in one pack. Carmen, Jade and Janel worked the front for a bit. There were several attacks that had to be covered, so I went with them, but none stayed away. When there was a slight lull in the peloton's pace, I took a flyer, and was reeled back by Specialized-Lulu Lemon after a couple of kilometers, and Jade counter-attacked right away. She too got brought back, and Carmen, Joëlle and Leah worked hard up at the front to make the sprint finish.
There was a huge crash with under 1km to go. No Optum Orange spilled on the road. Good. Thanks to some excellent teamwork, Leah still managed to get a 4th place finish. Jade also scored enough points in the QOM sprints (Queen of the Mountain) to stand in second place for the competition.
Theresa Cliff-Ryan won the stage.
You can watch the Exergy Tour live, and check out all of the race stats on Tour Tracker here: http://exergytour.thetourtracker.com/
|A screenshot of my flyer at the Exergy Tour on Tour Tracker, courtesy of Michael Foley|
Unfortuantely in the crash, World Champion Georgia Bronzini went down. We hope she is okay. Especially after Kristen Armstrong who broke her collarbone yesterday at Exergy, and cycling superstar Marianne Vos breaking her shoulder in Europe as well. Enough bad luck, it's got to be over now, right? Right.