Words by Eben Horacek
FLAGSTAFF — Day three was a tough day. We started with the usual routine of getting breakfast and then getting ready to ride. We did not have to weigh in today as today we were only doing the flat 5k intervals and were not sending these files to USAC. We rode out for about thirty minutes and then started in reverse GC order.
The 5k intervals were our flat tests, they ran so that we would do one interval out, one back, and then one more out. The interval out was slightly downhill and we had a headwind making it longer and more difficult. We then got to the other side, spun around for a minute, sat in some bushes under a tree by the road, and then get up and did it again the other way.
The way back we of course had a tailwind which made it faster, but still just as hard. I was definitely hurting by this time and did not feel great. The previous days had been tough and the heat was getting to me. We repeated this routine after finishing and then headed out for our final effort. I was worried about my spot in GC as the kid in third place weighs about forty more pounds than me and is a year older. Luckily I did not lose too much time after those efforts. The way back was a slow procession and I was hurting just to get back to the dorms.
Once we got back we cleaned up and went to lunch. For the afternoon we were planning on practicing how to go back to a team car to pick up bottles for the whole team and then bring them back up. The main points of this were to keep pedaling so that the team car does not slow down and to do it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately less then fifteen minutes into the ride one kid’s derailleur cable snapped, another kid had an uncontrollable nose bleed, and the traffic was terrible. Because of this we only rode for thirty minutes. None of the riders were particularly sad about this because every one was so tired and barely moving.
We rode back to the dorms and stretched out before going to dinner. Evening presentations consisted of a video that outlined what exactly l’Abitibi entailed. It has 150 junior racers, is the longest and oldest junior stage race in the world, and is a very hard race. The race is aggressive and very physical, most of the race will be spent in our 52-14 or 52-15, which means cadence is extremely important. The race is an amazing experience and there is nothing like it in the world. The staff and riders were all very tired after today and we had a fairly short meeting. We all went to our rooms and passed out shortly after.