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Suze Woods Diary
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 7/12/2002
Suze Woods Diary


STAGE 1 - 74miles (approx 120km) - over 7000ft (2300m) of climbing - way too hot!!!

OK, I know I said I wouldn't complain about the warm temperature (cause its probably raining and cold in Wellington) - but this is crazy...the max temperature while we were racing today was 114F (well over 40C) and the average temperature was 98F (about 40C).

Today's stage was an epic, they are describing it as one of the hardest in America, with some 7000ft of climbing. The women's race got off to a good start, the first 20miles was pretty much downhill, so tucked in the peleton life was sweet! At 20 miles it was time for the first mountain pass of the day - awesome climb though huge pine trees and I was actually feeling pretty good, sitting nicely in the second by one the riders were pinging off the back. About 2/3rds of the way up the climb (which went for about 20miles!) National USA road champ Kimberly Bruck ner put the hammer down... I couldn't match her pace, but found myself in a nice chase group of seven (there were 2 riders between Kimberly and our chase group). As we neared the top of the climb we came out of the forest and into these amazing lava fields, with huge snow capped mountains on either side (not that I took in much of the scenery) and the temperature really started cooking.

The descent was awesome fun, I was charging...not sure what was up with the others they all seemed a little nervous..I guess all that practise trying to keep up with Marco down Dowse Dr. has paid off!!...hmm well the bottom of the descent was pretty much where the fun ended...from here it was about 10miles of flat into a head wind before the start of the ascent up the Twin Sisters.

By now the heat was really getting to me...20km to go and the road started to climb and our bunch was shelled to pieces. I managed to hold the first chicks wheel for a while and then fell back to the next girl...

Man, I got total heat stroke, that was the longest 10km of my life....I was pouring water all over myself in attempt to cool off...I'd drunken heaps but knew I was in trouble, cold prickly feeling through my legs and was going to be a lonely grind up the last 10km. 5km to go and the gravel edge on the road looked so appealing, why couldn't I just fall off my bike and crawl into the shade?? I tried telling myself it was just mental and I guess it kind of worked, well I kept turning the pedals anyway. Ahh...the 200m sign to go...but there was nothing in my legs, I'm guessing this was the slowest 200m of my life. Finished the stage with heat exhaustion and downed about 4 bottles of water! Somehow I think I managed to finish in 6th place...I've never seen a field so spread out - Kimberly Bruckner (Saturn) rode awesome - a solo effort and some 10mins ahead of me.

Its amazing how the body recovers after a shower and some dinner I feel somewhat recovered....tomorrow we have a 1mile uphill TT and then a criterium in the evening - hopefully plenty of time to recover...just my luck though - it looks like the heat wave is going to continue...they recorded record highs here today!

Hope everyone is well...wish I could send some of this warmth your way....


For full results/picture of us suffering see....

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