For a while, Cat’s hamstring was bothering her and we could see that while she was still holding up her speed, she was struggling a bit on the climbs. We were worried about her, but after several massaging sessions over an hour long each, her leg muscles got soft again and she felt much better. Jeanine did have a similar trouble but to a lesser degree than Cat and we hope the massaging will help Jeanine too.
Apart from knots in the muscles, our girls are still riding well. We are hard pushed to keep our speed average up, especially with the traffic lights. We however may be able to make it partly because I watched Isabelle and Cat ride between TS 38 to T39. They had to stop at 4 or 5 traffic lights, one of them being the roadwork light (where we waited for about 2 minutes.) This 4-hour block was also one of the blocks when Cat’s hamstring was talking to her and the short but steep hills weren’t helping much. Despite our disadvantages, we did 19.23 mph for this TS! A fan told me that if we compare this to the TS 39 speed of the top five 4-men teams, we are doing extremely well.
The big question is whether we can continue this. Our riders are feeling "okay" overall, which means they are starting to feel the miles. They however are still doing 30-minute or 10-mile legs, a strategy we have used for about 80% of the way across USA so far. Knowing our riders, we are confident they can hold on. But we will need to watch them carefully and pull out anybody who experiences spells of “overtiredness” early instead of having them grind it out. That way, they could recover more effectively and bounce back. For example, Isabelle did a 16.7 mile pull at 1 AM when Cat’s van got lost for an hour (along with 6 other teams at the same time.) Near the end of their block, Isabelle was tired and pulled out after she did only about 2 to 3 miles. She will most likely recover by her next 4-hour block.
We regretted not pulling one of our riders out early back in Kansas when she was going 13-15 mph instead of 18-19 mph for the given conditions of the block. This rider was appearing to be tired and we didn’t want her to grind it out like that. Even so, she appeared to recover from her “bad” block. (At the moment I am writing this in Ohio, this same rider is averaging about 20 mph and cranking up an 8% grade 1-mile climb at 16-17 mph and looking very good.)