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5 horizontal fracture lines on each side, disaster. We sought advice from
numerous competitors and TCR officials all of whom shook their heads, given
this year’s course and particularly the unpaved section over the Assiette
the general feeling was that the bike wouldn’t survive and would be dangerous
for Katie to ride. What to do? We discussed buying a new frame, too expensive,
loan bikes were even offered but this would likely cause injury and make race
completion unlikely for Katie. The situation seemed hopeless then mid-
afternoon we were told about a Specialized store in a nearby village who might
be able to help. Off we set. Amazingly the shop were able to help, they drilled
a hole in the frame and injected resin to hopefully strengthen any internal
damage to the carbon frame. Satisfied this was as good a repair as possible
we grabbed a pizza and set off for the start line.

Nervous tension filled the air at the top of the Muur whilst we waited for the
official start. Flaming torches were lit by the town’s people who had come
out to support us adding to the atmosphere. The town crier started the
proceedings followed by a few words from the mayor of Geraaldsburg and we
were off. A lap of the town followed by the cobbled climb of the Muur then we
were on our own, the race had officially started. I had no expectations of
what was to come but was ready for the adventure to begin.

Day 1: That first day we rode 325km as per Katie’s gruelling schedule, rain
jackets were on and off so many times I think in the end we decided just to
get wet. Then came the cross winds for the next 6 hours. We were to become
very familiar with strong cross or head winds and rain over the next 2 weeks.
Even with the terrible weather conditions it was exciting and we met many
other TCR riders along the route particularly where there was a bakery
offering a natural stopping point. Early evening we pulled in to a McDonalds
for dinner. After about 20 hours in the saddle in the wet/dry/wet conditions
I was feeling a little uncomfortable, I wasn’t suffering from saddle sores but
worse had open wounds were my damp skin had simply been rubbed away. I
was expecting some discomfort along the way but nothing so bad so early.
The only thing to do was tape myself up with medical tape to reduce the
friction and get used to the pain. The wounds didn’t heal until I got home to
London and I became somewhat of an expert at re-applying tape roadside

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