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by Scott Penzarella on September 05, 2012
Col de la Madeleine.
This would be our last stage which was anything but sweet. We would have a 20 mile flat section before attacking the timed GC section of the Madeleine. A 12 mile climb ascending almost 5000 feet.
Today it was my day to step up and duplicate the great riding that my teammates had put down the past two days. I was determined not to disappoint them. As was the protocol from yesterday, each team could send out two of its riders early with the rest of the team following shortly thereafter. Craig Parker and myself along with Jim Nowak from dZi set off.
I had my game face on right from the beginning and was determined not to let anyone pass me! The rest of our team was sent off a short time later.
Scott and Thomas, our indefatigable leaders, had a chance to get their photo taken along the way. I've never known Scott to pass up a photo opportunity!
As my trainer Jason told me going into this event, you are going to have to turn yourself "inside out" to reach your maximum. He also said when your at that point float like a feather. I now know what he truly means. This was definitely the hardest ride and effort I have ever put down. About 3 miles from the top, I got the final inspiration I needed from Thomas,Scott and Craig Lewis who were closing in on me yelling " GO Bill ". They shortly reached me and joined in to give me their moral and physical support. I will always remember Thomas leaning over and relating the little train that could story:
" I think I can. I think I can. I know I can. I know I can. " The final two miles, with Scott and Thomas on either side rooting me on and watching me dig deep, will remain an unforgettable moment for me. We crossed the finish line together. I had given everything I had for the TEAM !
When the rest of the team reached the summit we had quite a bit to celebrate. A great event. A great day. A great climb. What more could a cyclist ask for?