By Clara Hughes
It’s been since the Exergy Tour in May that I’ve been with the team. Riding this morning with teammate Ally Stacher reinforced what I felt at Nationals last week: it’s no fun to ride, or race, alone. I did my best as the sole Specialized-lululemon rider in the road race in Canada but came up short in the end. Somewhere on the internet I read that I ‘did not contest the sprint’ which made me really sad as I was sprinting for all I was worth.
But that’s a whole other story. The point of this one is that I missed my team.
And now, here I am in Italy with the best teammate a girl could hope for, Ally Stacher. I’ve written about her before on this blog. Even posted a cool video of her schooling a guy twice her size on somebody’s front lawn in wrestling. After arriving late last night I kept her up until almost one am. Poor thing. I think it helped her jet lag (and mine), though, because we both slept like logs.
This morning, just when the streets of Naples started to roast close to 11am, we set out on our skinny tyres in search of a decent ride. With a map in the pocket and a GPS on the bars, all I knew was ‘go north’. These instructions came from Beth. Beth is our team Goddess and when she says something, you follow instructions without question. She just knows. And she didn’t let us down.
Gunning it through the congested city streets, Ally and I somehow managed to (a) not get hit by crazy Italian drivers (b) keep going north and (c) practice our bike handling, cobblestone riding, people, bike and car dodging skills and (d) have a great time finding some fantastic roads to cruise on.
Reminded me of just how much I love this team.
We are the first of two riders to arrive. Our team is eight, the maximum allowed for the Giro Donne, the reason we are in Italy at all. Of all the years I’ve raced this is one tour I’ve never done. Now that all of Canada knows there is a men’s Giro and that real men can indeed wear pink after Ryder Hesjedel’s stunning victory last month, i’m stoked to represent in the women’s version. It’s ‘only’ ten days long and I can’t wait to see what our team can do on a daily basis.
We start each race to win and I get to be a part of this attitude of excellence once again.
Forza Specialized lululemon!