That’s a wrap folks. The season is over. Fifty-four races in just under 9 months has flown by and my body is in the state to prove it.
The traditional throwing of flowers and standing ovation at the end of the last race was skipped at the Grand Prix de Faucigny. Well behind the leaders on the final climb, I crept up the last 6km but the 9% gradient felt like 15%. My legs, apparently already on holiday, were turning no faster than 55rpm so, instead, I treated myself to a few glances of the awesome view and tried to enjoy the last moments of climbing.
On my solo drive home, I took stock of the season. The 54 races the team had done included everything—hill climbs, team time trials, night criteriums, day criteriums, road races, mountain top finishes, stage races—everything you can imagine over every terrain you can imagine. I was walking away with 20 top 10 finishes, that included a 2nd place and 2 wins. Great experiences and solid results had translated into good progress so I would be leaving France happy.
With the Alps in the rearview and the Ardeche still a few hours away, the car clicked over 255 000km and I realized the one thing I had done more than ride my bike this year was sit in a car. Travelling 150 to 200km or more to each race, the amount of hours I had spent in the team Fiat Marea was scary. The trusty old Marea…The list of barely working things on the Marea far exceeded the list of working. The suspension bottoms out on speed bumps, the radio pretty much just crackles, it’s more suspect when dashboard indicator lights aren’t on, and the brakes are dodgy at best. But after so many kilometres, it had become like a teammate. I imagine after another countless season of shuttling riders to and from races all over the country it was in need of it’s annual winter break as much as I was.