Ossola Sport

Irena Ossola – Dedication and Determination

Cycling in Tucson, Arizona!

Since November 17th I’ve been in the USA!! First I arrived in Santa Fe, NM, and spent about a week and a half there for Thanksgiving and going to doctor’s appointments and getting everything settled so I could come to Tucson.

The past week I’ve been in Tucson, AZ and feeling the luxury of cycling paradise. It’s about 50-70 degrees on each ride and I’m enjoying the warmer weather so much. I’ll go back to Santa Fe next week for more doctor’s appointments and for Christmas. I’ll have my final dental work for putting crowns on my teeth by Dentistry for Kids, which is an amazing group and they have done so much for me during this time. I’ll have a minor face surgery and to reduce the scar on my arm. And more therapy on my hand, oh and with friends and family for the Christmas holiday. It will be nice to be back with family and friends again, I love Santa Fe for that.

 

 

It will be for a short time however, as I’ll head back to Tucson soon after. I will spend January, and February and possibly March here, training hard and getting ready for 2019. The March time depends on my plans for 2019 and team set up…. This means that big news coming soon, I can’t say just yet, but soon you’ll find out. I’m excited for the new year and my riding so far.

 

 

 

Training here has felt amazing and I am feeling good with the time on the bike and off the bike also. I use my days to do exercises and strength work aswell as miles on the bike. This will continue into Santa Fe as it won’t be so warm, and gym time will be at a top priority and mountain biking too. But my body feels good and I am feeling great on the bike.

 

 

 

 

On more of a dietary note, I’ve also been doing a juice cleanse since I’ve been here.

And after your shock settles, I feel that juice cleanses get a bad reputation for how they are negatively represented. They come across as being a “starve yourself”, “lose weight fast” kind of diet, that I really disagree with. I have done juice cleanses in the past, and just like those instances, I am doing this as a cleanse for my body and a reboot for my digestive system and intestines. We bombard our bodies constantly with food that is difficult to digest and put it through so much work, that I figure why not give it a break and let my body restart as I myself am also restarting with this season from now. This is also the perfect time to do it, because I am in a lower point of my season and just building up again for training. So no hard workouts, or even workouts at all. I am just going out and riding about 3 hours a day and I feel great!!

 

In this past week I have done 5 days of just juice, and then 2 days of raw food, and now I will go through another 5 days of just juice, and then some more days of raw food to finish it off.  Right now I am on day 2 of the second round of juice. Then on Monday I will finish and head back to New Mexico for some Christmas turkey dinners.

 

Throughout this period of juicing, I have been well nutritioned and with plenty of vitamins from my local supplement sponsor Health Product Distributors.

 

 

 

 

They are really amazing and have kept me going strong through this cleanse, even with just a juice based diet. I still feel like I am getting stronger and fitter everyday. And yes, there is the benefit of losing weight as well. I arrived at 158lbs. and my goal is to get to 145lb. Which is my ideal race weight. So I am doing it gradually and very smart and professionally. I am feeling great and this really is a great reboot for my overall system and body.

Going forward I am optimistic of the future. I feel great in training and look forward to coming back in January for harder training!! I know I will get stronger and be fast next season. So hold on as more news to come

A BIGGGG shout out to my sponsors who have helped get me here!! To David and Mellowvelo who have hooked me up with this AMAZING Orbea bike that I am using now and will be using this year to train and race. To Health Product Distributors who keep me alive during this training “camp” with all your amazing supplements. And to everyone out there that has been so supportive of my career and training and racing.  To Dentistry for Kids in Santa Fe, who has helped me smile again and feel confident!!  THANK YOU!!

Guide Life in Italia

I arrived in Italy on August 23rd , and I have been non stop since August 23rd.  To explain this a bit more and to prove how go-go-go I’ve been; I arrived at my dad’s house in Northern Italy on the 23rd and on the 24th I left in the morning for Tuscany to start working in tour guiding. 

 

 

It is such a different experience and life style from which I’m used to while cycling.  In the past month and a half, I have been to Tuscany (central), Puglia (south), Piedmonte (north), Tuscany, Piedmonte, Puglia, Tuscany (1 day) and now again in Puglia. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s all been over about 1 week spans since I arrived.   I haven’t really slept in the same bed for more than 2 nights and I eat at restaurants almost every night. 

And through all of this traveling around I also managed to race in the World Championships of Gran Fondo, which was in Varese (northern Italy) where my dad’s family is from. It was an amazing experience and I am so happy and proud to have been able to ride in it. And I do say ride instead of race because I wasn’t in the form or fitness to be at a competitive state. I participated and enjoyed being in the group, but again couldn’t have really pushed as hard as was needed to win. And that’s ok, it was great to do it and now on to be guiding and focusing on being stronger for next year on the bike.

So back to guiding talk now….

I love this life that’s exciting and a change of pace from the usual flow of day in and day out training and routine.  There are certainly things from back home which I miss.  And I do miss being on the bike everyday and training all day.  But for the time being, I enjoy and am grateful for the change.  I still get to ride almost everyday with clients and the lifestyle of top restaurants and hotels is something incredible that only Butterfield & Robinson can offer.

This lifestyle really is all encompassing.  I work about 18 hrs a day to prepare for or be with the travelers. Which is ok and completely my choice too, I like to be on top of things and am a little A type 😉  for perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When on trip it is this full time work schedule that is so on demand that I don’t have any personal time.  

But I love it too, the multitasking and organizing I am so good at.   Then when I’m off trip I have a complete introvert meltdown where I just want to have a salad and be alone in a bedroom to rest.  Since August 23rd I really haven’t had any personal time until now, 10th of October.  So just a little bit of time.

I just realized that today is the 10th of October.  wow….It’s been 11 months since I almost died.  I am so grateful for everyday I am alive and know I am a different person for having survived this.  Everyday I learn so much about myself and I have grown and adapted and become a different personality for it.   1 more month till my new birthday.  And I really do consider it that.  It was a birthday for me.  I lived in a moment when I should have gone.  This is truly incredible. I am truly grateful.

 

This is a picture from yesterday, riding in Puglia to scope out the routes that we ride with the clients.  It was so beautiful and warm!!

This is a view from riding in Piedmonte (north), it was so beautiful there and loved the hills!!

 

Home Life

For the past couple weeks, and for the next couple weeks I am at home in Santa Fe, NM.  Training, therapy and lots of lawyer appointments.  It is great being back and getting to settle a little.  I like the routine of training in the morning and helping my dad or running errands in the afternoon.

For racing my next one is planned as Colorado Classic from 16-19 August in Vail and Denver, Colorado.  I’m excited to get back into the race scene and test my legs again.  I am especially happy that I am already acclimated for altitude, so while some racers will be struggling with the high altitude it will be normal for me.

After, I will fly to Italy for my next round of tour guiding with Butterfield and Robinson.  They are an amazing company and I love being able to work for them.  I will be guiding in Tuscany (walking), Piedmonte (northern biking), and Puglia (biking).  I am really excited to get back out and to guiding again.

 

BC Superweek

Currently, I am in Vancouver, Canada for BC Superweek.  It’s a series of 9 races in 10 days (6 to 16 July),  7 of the 9 races are criteriums. Short fast races. like 1-2 mile courses and we do about 1 hr on it.

Today is the rest day and we’ve done 3 races already. It’s really tough but I’m loving it and it’s getting my legs back into racing mode.
The first day was rough and sucked a lot. I didn’t do very well and dropped off the pack and was pulled out of the race. this was really hard mentally as I’m always expecting myself to do well and keep pushing and be on top.  So it was really disappointing and lit a fire in me. I hate doing that bad in races and it hits me mentally.
The next day I pushed hard and stayed in the race the whole time and even with 5 laps to go put in an attack and broke away solo for 1 lap. they caught me but still, i did something and put in a move which i’m proud of. I finished with the pack and solid.
Yesterday was 1 of 2 road races. 105km and pretty tough. I stayed in the pack again and it went well. with 2 miles to go i was in good positioning but then it was the 2nd to last curve and a girl swung wide and pushed me into the weeds. literally road on the side walk for about 1 block. then got back in but had to put in a big effort to get back up and so wasn’t there for the final sprint. finished again and good solid effort and push and feeling good.
I’m happy with how I’ve raced and now its been solid and body is feeling good.
I’m hoping the rest of the races go well and I am resting very hard today.

checking out the fitness spot where my friend works

recovery power to the max!!

easy cruise

10 November 2017, What Really Happened

The other day I was picked up by my host here in Knoxville, TN.  She said she didn’t know what happened to me and figured she would ask in person for the actual account.  At this, I realized most people don’t know the actual account of what happened.  So I thought I would post with the explanation and some pictures of what actually happened.

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10 November 2017

4 hour training ride became a horrible near death accident at 3 hrs in Santa Fe, NM

This is what I am told, as I don’t remember the accident and don’t remember anything until about mid December (1,5 months after the accident). I was riding on West Alameda above the round-about, coming down the hill toward the Silar rd round-about. So I had slowed to 22 kph/14 mph, as I am apprehensive of round-abouts in the USA and the drivers ability to use them. As I came down the hill this man turned in front of me and I collided with his car. He says he could not see me because the sun was in his eyes, but the woman behind him could see me and she was scared when he turned in front of me and saw the collision. I was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe, NM, and then flown by helicopter to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque.

I am very lucky to still be alive.  My dad say’s he got a call that day with the doctor asking how fast he could get to the hospital because they didn’t know how long I would live for.

I’m so grateful for all I have and have experienced, but going through this is just a little motivation to anyone that is thinking “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”, because YOU CAN, it’s not that hard to just try.  I am coming back from a near death injury and something that I can’t make excuses for.  I live my life to the limit and love all in my life.  Everyday is a gift and I am grateful for that.

 

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List of the injuries I sustained:

TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury

Dissected carotid arteries in my neck

Broken orbital –  leading to orbital transplant surgery

Broken nose

4 broken front teeth – leading to root canals and crowns on those teeth

Broken scaphoid (wrist) – leading to surgery for screw placement

Broken hand – leading to surgery for pin placement

Broken humerus and surgery for a plate (arm)

Broken collar bone –  leading to winging scapula

2 collapsed lungs –  leading to 2 chest tubes

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Hospital stay:

Coma for 6 days

Hospital for 2 weeks

Rehab until 16 December (20 days)

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After I went to live at my mom’s and recover in Taos, NM. I went to therapy about everyday for speech (my head), my hand, or physical therapy for my body. I continued improving slowly but the process has been long. It is not just physical but a mental recuperation as well. Many have been close to me and helping me through this process.

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I have gradually reintroduced myself to riding a bike and now racing. I am a go-hard kind of person, so for me to just sit and wait to get better doesn’t work for me. I have been on the bike slowly since the hospital and as my hands and body allow me, I am back to riding continuously.   Now I am in Knoxville, Tennessee for the USA National Championships. I am learning to be patient with myself and understand that I won’t be in the same fitness or mental state as I was last year.  Nearly 8 months and I am still alive

I am thankful to all my sponsors that stood by me during this period and supported me.  They are so wonderful and help me to come back strong and want to be better.  Currently I am not with a team and this is hard as expenses are 100% on me. Travel, registration, lodging, etc. are big and something more for me to handle.  But there is also a positive because in this way I can choose what races to go to and recover at my own pace.  If you are interested in supporting this process or know someone that might want to sponsor please contact me:  ossola.irena@gmail.com

Races so far:

Javalina Chase, NM

Redlands, CA

Gatineau GP, Canada

UCI World Championships Qualifier Gran Fondo, Canada

USA National Championships, Tennessee

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Below are some pictures from just after the accident.  They are quite gory and show the real side of what happened that I won’t post on facebook.  So if hospital beds, stitches and blood don’t bother you, then be my guest to look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to Life

The past couple months have been tough. Loaded with doctor’s appointments, training, and trying to organize my life for racing and travel.

I went to California for Redlands. And SURVIVED!!! I raced everyday, which is pretty incredible. I didn’t feel so great, but getting through to each day was pretty incredible. Especially considering I had my accident about 6 months before.

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I went back to Santa Fe with a new drive to train and push hard to get fitter. I started doing 2 a days with a morning spin then a later workout. That was also tiring and not so easy on my body. But it pushed me and was good overall for my fitness.

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Working hard with my friend Sam in Santa Fe

Then at the end of May I left for Canada and am here now. I raced the UCI GP Gatineau Road Race and Time Trial. This was a real check of my fitness and push to see how I am progressing. I finished and felt good, but it was a tough race that put me in my place. I need to keep growing and getting better. It hasn’t been that long and I have to understand I won’t be where I was for a long time.

I need to increase my fitness and feeling better also. I am now at my coach’s house outside of Toronto and training here until Nationals next week. I leave then (18 June) for Tennessee and am excited to race that again this year.

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The amazing dentist Dr. Kris that I ride with and is helping to fix my teeth.

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I am having to learn patience and to curb my expectation because I want to be just as good as I was, but also have to consider that I was in this accident about 7 months ago and in the hospital for almost 2 months. I have to understand my body won’t be back to where it was for a while.

I have a lot of therapy and self growth to go through. It will take a while and I can’t expect to be just right back to normal again. When I see old friends or people I know they are surprised to even see me racing. Which to me is also surprising because I love to race, but understandable as most people that have gone through what I have wouldn’t be here or at least what I am working towards.   And that is just it, I love to race and be on my bike. So I guess that’s what keeps me going and in this sport. I want to pedal and get better.   I just have to be ok with progress at my own pace.

I know it won’t be fast, but that is hard for me to completely understand and accept I want to be better and ok now. Back to how I was and normal, but it won’t. I have to be ok with my hands, shoulder, head and body for needing recocery and go slow. So I will get it…. Eventually.

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Some of the Vitamins that keep me going strong and recovering right. From Health Product Distributors!!

After the Near Death Accident

The accident happened November 10th

Now my hands are staring to do better and my body is also on the recovery. I feel the struggle in a lot that I do, but overall I am improving slowly.

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I feel the difficulty when I get dressed and my teeth are the biggest issue. I just had 4 root canals on my front teeth, and will have crowns after they are extruded a little (pulled down). I also have lots of doctor appointments these days: occupational therapy for my hands, speech therapy for my head, and other for my teeth and face.

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Training I am doing what doctors allow me to do. I can not give too much information on this, but I stay busy and am happy to continue forward and helping my recovery.

Mentally I am doing ok. I am staying positive, and although many said I would have down days along the way, I have kept myself busy with training and appointments to not allow myself to have the time for down days. Since I have so many appointments and I am involved with keeping my body healthy by training I don’t allow myself to have a lot time to think about what is crossing me.

Sometimes I can’t believe what all of this has done to me. Had this not happened, I would be in Europe racing right now and feeling great. I would be on a top team and working to be better. Instead I am here in Santa Fe, with my hands just coming back to me, my face having a giant scar across it, my teeth being knocked out, and a TBI that I may never fully recover from. But even through all this I guess I am always an optimist and believe in myself to get back to normal and feeling good.

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Tour de Kermesse

Yesterday finished up my Tour de Kermesse here in Belgium and The Netherlands.
17 races in 34 days

Finished up with 2 wins, 1- 3rd, 7- top 10 , 15th in a UCI 1.2 RR, and all but 2 top 20. The last couple felt like the end of a stage race, all money in the pain bank to get stronger. So much fun and such strong racing here. Pretty solid overall I think. And an incredible experience meeting new friends and racers.

Thank you to all those that helped me make this possible.

Heres a quick zoom through the past couple weeks in pictures

 

Netherlands

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Bike paradise, real life ginger bread, important recovery

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Back to Belgium

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Winning on Monday / 12 Aug

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3rd on Wednesday / 14 Aug

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Loving Life

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Cobble Stones and Chocolate, gotta love Belgium.  So sweet and yet so cruel

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Race day #17

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Racecation- Belgium and Netherlands

Over the past 20 days I’ve been in Belgium and The Netherlands solo racing.  Just me, my bike, and a rental car.  The first 3 days were a bit uncertain what would play out.  But I came up with a rough list of races and ran (or rode) with it.  Things came together with host housing over that first week. Through friends and connections, I am so grateful for those that let me stay with them during this time.
Once I started the first couple races I realized how much racing there is here and just wanted to do more.  I put together my map/list and got busy sending emails to preregister.  The process was a bit difficult not knowing Dutch, because the websites were all JUST in Dutch.  But figuring out that Weg means road (for the races), Vroumen is woman, and elite … well means elite.  I could get my way through the information to what I needed.  I learned that some races are invite only because they try to set up the race for a certain participant to win.  I was in one of these and interestingly enough she didn’t end up winning.
Most of my drives to get to a race are between 40min and 2 hrs.  Which the Belgians think is incredible to travel 2 hrs for a race.  When I told them in the US most people have to fly just to attend a 1 hr Crit their jaws dropped.

race maps

In these post Tour de France crits in the Netherlands last week I raced with some of the best in the world.  Marianne Vos, Annemiek Van Vleuten, Chantal Blaak, Anna Van der Breggen.

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And overall the level of racing in every race I’ve done is a step higher then that of the US.  So that dream of racing in Europe that most American cyclists have, we’ll it has some substance.  Cause this is the place that will make a good cyclist a great one.  And kick the shit out of a beginner.

-The speed is faster in the overall general time of the race
-There is more and constant attacking, so very little time to relax or recover or sit back.
-Much more aggressive riding as a pack and individuals.  If there is space to move into, it will be taken very fast
-Close riding and no/few crashes.  Lots of touching, elbows rubbing, and leaning on each other.
-Everywhere is free game, if there’s not a barrier you can ride there.  I can’t even count how many curbs I’ve jumped, sidewalks I’ve cut across, gutters I’ve ridden and trash cans I’ve avoided just to save myself in a race or to get in a better position and move up.

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My first week I spent with a host family in southern Belgium. Near Kortrijk, which is very close to the French border. They are really nice and their daughter, 14, is the Belgium junior cycling champion. I traveled out from their house to the races which were mostly road/circuit races.

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My second week I spent in The Netherlands with a friend/guy that my coach used to coach. He lives in Utretch which is a really nice city and good location for racing.   I had heard that the Netherlands was big for biking, bike paths, and commuting by bike. But didn’t know it was this incredible. Almost every road has a bike path or bike lane, and if it doesn’t then the road gives priority to bikes. Everywhere people are getting around by big cruiser granny bikes. Its amazing!! The weather doesn’t seem to bother them either, even if there is sideways wind and rain there were still people on the paths getting wherever they had to go.

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Bike parking in the Netherlands

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Racing this week was mostly crits, the short nascar style racing. But these were not the normal 1hr hard-easy-hard-easy- sprint kind of American crits. These were all out almost all the time, 1-1hr30min crits. Involving technical courses, cobbles, punchy little hills, and fans everywhere cheering. Also unlike the American crits, when a break gets away it actually has a chance of staying away. Most of the races I’ve done has a breakaway take it to the finish. This keeps the race really fast and aggressive. As I’ve established myself as a strong and aggressive rider that likes to break away, I’ve noticed now that when I attack either the top racers come with me or bridge up to me for the break. It was a lot easier not being known and just getting away solo and powering away for the finish.  But I guess this is a good thing that I’m being marked.

I’ve been pushed and stepped up my level of racing to read the race and what is going to happen based on the course, racers, conditions, and distance.   These are the key ingredients for how the race will play out.  I’ve learned so much over the past couple weeks and it’s incredible what this experience will do for my ability as a cyclist.  I’m living the dream and grateful for every day that I’m here and can go out to ride or race on these amazing roads in this amazing place.  Even through the wind, and rain, and crazy weather it’s beautiful out here and all the towns and cities are really unique.

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I’ve had the chance to do a little exploring.  I went to Amsterdam for a day and explored the small winding streets with so many canals, bridges and shops.  Since I stayed in Utretch, most people don’t know about this small city, but it is the perfect size to get out for a small ride or see the center, it’s kind of like a mini Amsterdam with less tourists.

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This upcoming week I’ll be back in Belgium, staying with the family again and racing in Belgium. I’ll have 6 races over the next 10 days. The races will be back to road race/ circuit style racing. And good too as I’ll have top world tour races coming up and need to be in 120km distance race shape, and not 60km race shape.

I’d like to thank Health Product Distributors for all their support and helping me to race so strong.  Using the Rejuvenate product and vitamin supplements I’ve been able to stay healthy, in top form, and recover so much better after races.  I feel the difference in fatigue and energy level using the Mayomag (magnesium supplement), and mix Rejuvenate in all of my recover drinks post race.  Thank you for being a part of this journey.

USA Pro Nationals and Europe

Quick Recap:

USA- Knoxville and Louisville

June 25th I raced USA Pro Nationals for Road Race.  I felt good and stayed with the front part of the group for the majority of the race.  Unfortunately, I missed the last move up the climb with 2 to go and was stuck in no-man’s land until the group caught me.  Finished 22nd, which I was wanting a better finish.  But I have to learn from the mistake and move on.

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July 2nd in Louisville, KY I raced USA Pro Nationals for Criterium.  I really like the course and felt good going into it.  The pace was fast and aggressive from the start.  When I missed the breakaway of Erica Allar and Lauren Stephens, I knew that was the one that could/would stick and I wasn’t going to make the mistake again.  So I worked hard to bridge early.  But that effort was futile as the main group was still going hard and the breakaway was also moving fast.  So I got caught, took a couple laps to regain energy and attacked again.  I was bridging up to the break when a crash caused a neutralization and stop of the race.  When we started again I was put 30 seconds after Erica and Lauren, and 15 seconds in front of the main pack.  With 6 laps to go.  So I knew it was now or never. So I gave it all I had and pushed those final laps with everything.  In the final lap I was getting so close to the break and half a lap to go I caught them. Using my speed I attacked around them, but they got on my wheel.  I was in full power mode and kept drilling it.  But they stayed on me and in the final turn Erica attacked for the win.  I gave it everything and finished with the Bronze.  I was really happy with this finish and a lot of people said how amazing I made that race to watch.  So exciting and never giving up.

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EUROPE

July 10 I flew to Brussels, Belgium to meet my SAS-Macogep team for our next race.

13-16 July we raced the BeNe Women’s Tour.  Starting in The Netherlands and finishing in Belgium it was a hard and fun race.

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Stages-

Prologo 1.9km- 70th – In such a short race I was just 18 seconds behind the leader, but many factors that add just 1 second and change a lot.

1- 127km Road Race- 40th-  Focused on positioning and had a lot of fun getting back into the feel of european racing.  Hard, fast, close and aggressive.  With strong wind and rain at a couple points it made for a hard race.  I stayed in the front group when the main pack split and finished in the sprint, but my legs didn’t have the kick I needed to be top 10.

2a- 98km Road Race – 23rd. Fun race and stayed in good positioning the whole time.  Just a small cobble section each lap but didn’t break up the group so it was a full group sprint finish.

2b- 10km Time Trial – not good because of a mechanical problem and my back wheel was rubbing on the bike frame the entire race.

3- 112km Circuit Race- 13th-  Very fun circuit and very technical.  Felt like an american crit race.  Always looking to move up and positioning.  I had fun going with attacks and my legs felt good.  In the final lap I focused on moving up and trying to position well.  Would have liked to work for my teammate for a good finish, but we didn’t communicate as well as we should have and I could only hope she was on my wheel and would pass me in the finish.  Next time.

 

Belgium-

After the BeNe Women’s Tour my team went back to France and I have stayed in Belgium to keep racing.  I have a rental car and my phone and a list of races I want to do.  Initially it was a bit of a nervous adventure as I had no lodging and just an airbnb set up for 4 nights.  Now I have met some people and with contacts organized housing for the next couple weeks that I’ll be here.

 

18 July – Strijpen-Zottegem- 90km circuit of 8 laps-  1st

With just 1 day of rest between the tour and this race I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel.  But I stayed relaxed and in good position at the start.  There were a couple early attacks but nothing to go.  Then halfway through the first lap on an uphill I saw an opening and made a move.  Not thinking I would have a gap, but I did.  So I kept motoring and got more time.  If I stayed away it was going to be a long day.  So I passed the start/finish and with 7 laps to go thought, oh boy.  Each lap I just focused on my turns and staying aero in the wind.  At one point the car said I had 1’25”, so I thought I was gaining a lot of time.  Then with 2 laps to go the car said I had 55 seconds.  With this I thought the group was chasing and I had to put in a big effort.  So I pushed and knew if I could get to half a lap to go with that time I could make it.  Finally after the main hill/small climb the car came up and said “congratulations”.  This was a relief but I still powered until I saw the finish.  I raised my arms and felt this great victory and a victory to show how strong I am.

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19 July- GP Glineur- 7th or 8th

For this race I knew I would be marked from the start.  I also knew my legs were pretty tired from yesterday.  So I stayed patient and in good positioning. A couple solo attacks went but were brought back pretty soon after.  In the last half lap (of 4 laps total) a girl attacked hard where her team had been sitting in the whole time.  The team blocked for her at the front so the effort to catch didn’t succeed, she took it to the line almost getting caught at the finish.  The last 1.5km was a straight road slight uphill, about 4%.  I stayed patient, and in a good position for the sprint.  But when the sprint arrived and time to kick my legs wouldn’t surge. I finished solid in 7th or 8th but wanted better.

24 July- Boezinge- 40 laps-

A more competitive race with a couple of stronger racers and teams.  In particular, Jolien D’hoore, the Belgium national champion and world champion on the track was there.  The race was aggressive as there was a prime every lap of 10 euro. I attacked in the early laps and got a break.  I was solo for about 3-4 laps until I noticed someone with me and it was Jolien.  We worked together for the following 20 laps but the group brought us back.  In the pack there were more attacks, and I also stayed aggressive trying to get away again.  Then with about 12 to go a group of 3 got a way.  They got some time and distance.  With a lap to go they were getting closer.  I attacked with 1/2 lap to go to see if I could get a gap leading into the finish but the group was going very hard.  In the final turn a girl went very far wide and pushed me out almost into the wall.  I jumped onto the sidewalk and avoided a trash can before getting back on the course.  At that point I was too far back to make the sprint for 4th place.  The break ended up making it to the finish and taking the podium.  I wanted a better result and worked hard to get away.  But sometimes the risks and attempts just don’t come through. It was hard racing though and I feel myself getting so much stronger

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I’ll be in Belgium until the 31st July, then to The Netherlands until 10 August, then back to Belgium for more racing.  The next big team race will be Plouay on 26 August in France.

Yellow is host housing, orange was this week, blue is 30 July -8 August, red is 8 August – 20 August