55km, conditions good, leg not so much…..
So in Brunico (Italy) this morning my Transcontinental journey came to an end, and I scratched (withdrew) at 9:30am.
It was an incredibly tough decision but in my heart I know it’s the right call.
I felt good energy in the body leaving the hotel but the minute I put that first pedal stroke down, the quad pain was worse than yesterday even with the strapping. I tried various positions on the bike and adjusting my stroke but even on the flats it was too much. Knowing that I had the tremendous climbs of CP3 & 4 to come, I knew the pain would be significant.
Pain I can cope with and have struggled on through this in the past races, but what made the decision for me was that I was now outside of race timing (CP3 closed at 5am this morning – and I was at least another 48hours off that point) and the prospect of touring the route in significant pain without the justification of holding a GC place meant I could not muster the sheer strength of will needed to suffer on.
I phoned race HQ and informed them of my decision, location and reason for scratching. I also went to lengths to thank them for an incredible journey. The 2000km were extremely tough – way tougher than we all expected – but in a way that allowed me to take so much out of this experience than had it been a road tour with big mileage. I liked the mad parcours and insane route choices – it broke me but it tested us fully, just what a Mike Hall envisaged – well done Anna and team!
And so now my emotions of withdrawing are temporarily suspended while I manage the logistics of catching trains out of the Tyrol in Italy north towards Munich where I hope to catch a flight back to SA tomorrow.
To family and friends – thank you for the love and support along the journey – it certainly has been action packed and eventful. Being able to share the days adventures is not only cathartic but hopefully gives a window into the world of ultra racing and shows just how super human these athletes are that are going so deep for so long stretched out across the continent. I am in awe of all of you and wish you all the best. For my fellow scratchers we shared some fantastic highs and lows along the road – each one of those memories is worth cherishing as tight as possible, regardless the number of stamps on the brevet card.