The road race turned out to be a nasty little smack down. Closing roads in Turkey usually causes a disruption of Tiananmen Square proportions, so the road courses are usually out an back like a TT course. Ours had one diversion that was also out and back, so picture a course that is T shaped. This means that any hills that you climb, will be climbed again in reverse on the way back. I was pitifully shelled on the first windswept one miler. Actually, I wasn't shelled so much as dropped by the 6-7 leaders, which also included fellow team mate Murat Akyazi. I let myself get swarmed by the field and put my head down and dragged everyone up to the leaders with help from a couple of others. We caught them right at the turn around point of the first leg of the course. From here it was a very gradual big ring climb for 3 miles, then a nausuating corkscrew descent, followed by the back side of the original hill where I got gapped. This time I really chewed through my handlebars to stay connected and probably made some womanly noises trying to stay on.. The hills out here are wind blown and the roads are extremely heavy and rough. I was dropped again, but this time I exploded completely and ended up having to ease off until I got over the top. For a minute there I felt like my race was over, but I pulled myself together.. From here, it was a long straight downhill with a tailwind. I was last over the climb, except for maybe 10-15 guys who were shelled for good on the first climb. After getting my lungs to retreat back down my throat, I started to attack the road with vigor, picking up one then two then three others and getting them into rotation with me. I took the longest pulls! We could see the field 30-40 seconds up the road and it took about 5-6 minutes to close it and latch on. Unfortunately, six of the tops guys went clear on that last climb and had about a minute on us at this point. Our group never closed the gap and I got 2nd in the field sprint, so 8th again! Doh! I can tell you that Murat and I had the field strung out single file for the 2nd half of the race. We got away a few times but kept getting caught- and then no one else would work with us.. We rode an honorable race. Murat ended up 16th after blowing his wad in a solo kill with 2km to go. A very exciting race!
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