Barbara Howe diary: Heat, Hills and swimming holes

The Nevada City weekend was one of great highs and lows. Sunday was the 47th annual Tour of Nevada...

The Nevada City weekend was one of great highs and lows. Sunday was the 47th annual Tour of Nevada City and I was eager to race having won the 45th edition of the race, and was hoping for a good result. Nevada City is a very cute old mining town in the foothills of the Sierra, meaning that there is nothing flat: everything is either up or down.

The course starts and finishes on a steep downhill, and at the bottom of the hill is a sharp left followed by and even sharper off camber left. It then heads up, up, up around various corners and up various pitches to the top, 120 vertical feet later (36.576m). Finishing speeds regularly exceed 40mph and the bottom corners have claimed many victims.

The spectators are great at this race - they line the course and get rowdier as the day goes on. Josh and I found a great parking spot, often a trick in a tiny town with narrow streets. I headed out to overheat - uh, I mean, warm up before the race. Two years ago when I won the race my legs had been divinely inspired and I would have gladly raced a few more laps. This year, the deity responsible for my legs has not been responding to my sacrifices and offerings.

We started, I struggled, and a few laps later I was popped off the main group and rode around with my teammate Stella for the rest of the race. After an eternity Shelley came past me following the lead motorcycle, thank goodness, I had about as much as I could take. Plus I was starting to get goose bumps from the heat on my arms despite repeatedly dousing myself with water.

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