Caroline Alexander speaks candidly

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“After my victory at Sea Otter I came down to earth with a bump!


“The following weekend, unable to disengage from my left pedal, I toppled sideways, putting my hand out to break my fall. A loud crunch was clearly audiable as my wrist slammed on to the dirt.


“I’m not ashamed to say that the tears I cried were from frustration as much as pain. Instantly my wrist swelled and I was convinced that it was broken! However much to my relief an Xray proved negative.


“I spent the next few days consuming copious amonts of arnica, with an ice pack welded to my wrist, only removing it to allow Susan our soigneur to work her magic and by Thursday when the circuit opened for training the swelling had been replaced by a huge purple bruise.


“The course was super rough and even astride my FSR two laps was all I could endure, as the pain from my wrist was excruciating . As my back brake is on the left steering my bike successfully around the courses numerous tight turns was almost impossible. With two days still to go before the one lap time trial, I didn’t completely give up hope , but I had serious doubts whether I could withstand a two hour pounding on Sunday.


“The time trial was run off in reverse order, based on the final overall World Cup standings in 2000. As I only competed in a couple of these races last season, I was one of the early starters. Unfortunately this meant I was caught in traffic and the narrow, twisty nature of the course made passing very difficult. However despite this and the pain from my wrist, which was now encased in an elaborate support, I posted the fastest time of the early starters.
My lead held until Gary Fisher’s Chrissy Redden crossed the line . Infact she ran out the winner, narrowly pipping G.T’s Alison Dunlap and my Specialized team mate Barbara Blatter. I was a further second back in fourth and had achieved my goal – a front row position for Sunday’s race. My wrist, although extremely painfully had withstood the test, but I felt five laps would be a very different story.


“Although the previous days effort had been less than 17 minutes, it proved to be a very accurate form guide. After the first lap the top four finishers from the T.T. had broken away and only Trek Volkswagen’s Alison Sydor was able to join us. I was loosing time on the descents, but had no trouble regaining the group on the climbs. On lap three Barbara upped the tempo on the single track climb and although I was capable of following, the two Alison’s, who were the filling in the Specialized sandwich were not. It was impossible for me to get around them and then on the descent the elastic snapped for good. I was left battling with Chrissy for the fourth spot on the podium . Any time I made on the climbs, she would take back on the descents. With less than two kilometres remaining we were still locked together fifteen seconds behind Alison Sydor. On the final steep downhill my wrist gave up and I lost my front wheel. Although it was not a heavy fall, it allowed Chrissy to gain a valuable twenty seconds, which she held on to until the finish.


“I was elated for Barbara, her victory reinforcing her status as the World’s number one woman, but also disappointed that on this occasion, depite having great legs and awesome equipement and support fifth place was all I could muster. However the season is long and I know that when the World Cup resumes in Europe in five weeks time I will be a force to be reckoned with!

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