Hi Voxwmen readers!
I completed my first Grand Tour – the Giro Donne! I have never raced a ten-day stage race or completed the amount of elevation gain and distance covered in the ten days before. When I found out I was on the roster for the Giro, I had mixed feelings about it. I knew the courses had a lot of climbing, and I was worried I would be crawling through each stage. I looked at the courses more closely after being named to the team and realised that there was a healthy balance of sprint and climbing days which calmed my nerves a little. I was even excited about the Giro when I was competing in the Women’s Tour of Britain a couple of weeks before the Giro. In this race, I felt great on the bike and made it over all the climbs (3km or less) with a select group each time. I gained a lot of confidence from this race and was looking forward to the two and a half weeks after the Tour of Britain finished till the Giro. These days were supposed to be filled with rest and regular training to keep the fitness going into the Giro.
Everything was looking great, and my excitement for the Giro grew until I caught some virus from the Women’s Tour of Britain that I could not shake. It wasn’t COVID-19, but this virus made it so I had almost seven days off the bike and a max ride of two hours of easy endurance before the Giro started. My most strenuous ride after the Tour of Britain and before the Giro was the activation ride I did before the prologue in the Giro.
To say my excitement had dissipated for the Giro would be an understatement. I knew the Giro would be hard before I was sick, so starting the Giro with lingering symptoms of a virus, no heat acclimation completed, and the most riding in consecutive days I’ve ever done was a little daunting.
I was excited to compete in the prologue, but it quickly confirmed that I was not fit, and the Giro would be a long ten days for me. It was also hard for me mentally when I was suffering on the flat sprint stages because these were really easy days until the end, besides the heat. When the first hilly day came, I quickly found myself at the back of the bunch and barely being able to pedal up the climb. Thankfully, after the main climb, I made it back to the grupetto and finished the stage. That was the story for most of the days for me. Yes, a couple of stages went better, but there were basically only two days I felt good on the bike. I know this makes it sound like my Giro was terrible (I did want it to end), but there were also so many positives and learning experiences that I will take moving forward! In hindsight, I raced my bike in Italy, saw some spectacular scenery, suffered a lot on the bike, played a role in helping my teammates achieve some awesome results (3 podiums and a win!), learned what grupetto life is all about, tried pistachio gelato (SO good), and remembered that taking one day at a time is the only controllable at times.
Since the Giro, I am doing much better and have a couple of weeks to rebuild until my next race!
Thank you for reading, and I hope everyone is doing well!
Keep taking one day at a time – until next time,
P.S: Keep up with me through my Instagram: @meganjastrab