Page 12 - DLNnov2015-1000
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compensatory injury as my body tried to remove as much weight from my
knee as possible. In a race like this there is no back out plan, no broom wagon
to jump in; you just have to keep going, slowly. I seem to recover a little as
we leave the tree line, and can keep Katie who is ahead of me in my sights as
motivation. We both make it to the top and at last have our first stamp in
our brevet cards, this is a huge psychological lift and having seen none of our
fellow competitors for a couple of days we are surrounded by them at the
checkpoint making it feel like we are actually in a race.

The next 100km were through the spectacular countryside of Provence then
into the Alps under bright blue skies. Sounds lovely but after 240km and
4000m of climbing we were 2 very tired cyclists. We had a further 2000m
of climbing over 50km to meet our schedule but it was just too tough. The
last climb we managed up into Briancon was a nightmare; it just seemed to
go on forever, the dark night skies removing any visual points of reference to
spur us on to the top. I was struggling and I knew Katie would be suffering
even more but the best I could do was stop and wait at the top, I couldn’t
go back down to support her I just didn’t have anything left to give. After
another dinner of steak and chips we had only 3 hours sleep until the alarm
went off to signal the start of another day which would see us cross into

Day 5: We finished the final climb of yesterday to CP2, we were the first
females to arrive which was a great lift, got our cards stamped, ate breakfast
and turned Katie’s trunk bag into a rucksack with the help of an inner tube
and hair clip! This cunning innovation would hopefully remove much of the
stress from Katie’s cracked bike frame, if we got her bike over the next section
it should make it to Istanbul in 1 piece. We were headed to the Strada
Dell’Assietta a 60km military carriageway in the Province of Turin more
commonly known as an iconic mountain bike trail some 2000m above sea
level. This was described in the TCR Rider’s handbook as a gravel track so I
was expecting something like a fire road, fine gravel which would be slow and
sticky to get through and would slow us down but nothing which would require
technical skills and nerves of steel. The reality of the carriageway is a dirt
track strewn with rocks, rubble and gravel, awful, but you truly are on top of
the world with the most amazing views over the Alps.

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