The first stage from Entracque to San Damiano Macra was 74 km (46 miles) with 2782 meters (9,200 feet) of climbing. We started with a "Special Stage" right at the beginning. It was a mass start on pavement, which turned in to a steep dirt climb after a few kilometers. I thought it was going pretty well and that I had put some time on Katia Tomatis, but when the climb got steeper and rougher she caught up with me. It was a pretty warm day (later found out it was 34 degrees C= 92 F) and I didn't stop at the checkpoint to fill my camelbak so I ran out of water several kilometers from the top of the last climb. With the top in sight, suddenly of my hamstrings cramped so bad my leg completely locked up. When I got off the bike, my other hamstring cramped and all I could do was stand there and grab my legs. I tried to move, but every movement I made, caused my hamstrings to seize up. Around me I saw other riders in the same dilemma. How could I be so stupid?? I asked one of the other cramping riders if I could have a swallow of water, so I could take a couple of salt pills. Within a couple of minutes my cramps stopped and I was able to get back on my bike and finish the stage which was a pretty technical downhill. I hoped I hadn't lost too much time to Katia, and found out later that I was 3 minutes behind at the end of the Special stage.
In San Damiano the camp was at a sports facility. We put the tents up in a field and after a shower and some food, I was able to get a massage from one of the 4 great massage therapists that were working at the race. Eric and I found a bar in the town which served gelato and we sat down and watched the last stage of Tour de France with several of the other racers.
In the evening we had a pasta dinner followed by a briefing about Day 2. The top 35 racers were being bussed to the start at 7 am with a 5 am wake-up call. The rest of the riders had a 6 am start waking up for breakfast at 4. I was number 36 in the general classification, and both Eric and I were on the early bus.