Holy shit… Day 3… 215km’s… 7 hours and 50 mins of riding… 4,277 calories assassinated… 2,216m climbed…Avg Temp of 10 degs… Suffice to say, I am massively fucked.
But – Happy.
Sorry people, but a BIG day means a BIG Dirty Post, so grab a lemon iced tea cake and settle into the sufferfest that was day 3 of 5 Passes.
Last night I went to bed somewhat the opposite of happy… I could feel that sting in the back of my neck… Yes, that’s right, that was PRIDE, fucking with me. What to do? I consulted the Lance Armstrong book to see “What would Lance do”, but didn’t have any human growth hormone handy, so aided by some Chloroform, I did what any pro would do and stole a Litre of Angus’ blood whilst he was unconscious. Thanks for the tip Ryder. As such, this is the theme of todays post:
Ok, so I don’t have magical wings and I wasn’t on fire per se, but today ended up being at least semi respectable. Aided somewhat by waking up to a cold, but crisp morning in Hanmer:
My game plan was simple for today – Stay the fuck in bed for as long as fucking possible, check my form, much better and basically yellow jersey material:
It was time to line up for the first neutral stage, 23km’s to stage 1 of the day:
Neutral was fiddly and windy… But, it did look pretty good, managed to snap this cheeky one hander while almost making a total cock of myself and riding into a ditch, classy:
And here we are, also set to go for a BIG stage 1 of the day… with a Sprint point and KOM to come on this stage:
The plan was to get Pete more Green Jersey points by attacking the stage and making the other sprinters teams chase. As such, I was straight into it with a covering move and a couple of attacks. The boys then kept hammering away, but nothing was sticking. With epic winds and an attentive peloton, it was punishing work.
Then, on the nastiest climb of the day so far, it flattened momentarily and switched back on a smooth piece of road… It was time to have another go. So I went… Full gas and broke the elastic. Ha ha, its on! I got around the corner and came face to face with my nemesis: Epic WIND.
Yes, we were heading up an amazing valley towards Lewis Pass into the most horrendously grovelling head wind I can recall riding into. But, I was away and no one had decided to chase, so on we press. I had about 14km’s to go until the Sprint Point, surely I would not survive…
It was as windy as fuck and I was on long open and dragging roads, my legs felt fucked, but I just had to keeping trying to pump a cadence out to stay away. Speed was rubbish, but unbeknown to me, the Peloton was at a virtual crawl, with no one wanting to chase and my legend team mates doing their bit to finger any organised pursuit.
I pushed on, playing the only game you can play when on a long range solo break away: Trying to keep out of sight. If you can see it, you can KILL it, so I used every trick in the book to get around the next set of corners and keep invisible, my legs felt like total shite, but I still had pride stinging the back of my neck. Then, the 2km to go sign was spotted… It was on, I was actually going to stay away. I did to, taking the sprint point! I looked back… Empty road. Hmmm… I was fucked, but what to do?
Push on son
So, I did… Choking on half a dry Ems bar, I smashed a gel and kept going. It was 20kms until the KOM. No WAY I was going to survive right? NO chance. Especially as climbs were now popping up.
Then I got a tail wind… And better legs (Gel)… and I got something else important when you are riding solo off the front: Self belief. We were going to keep going. I kept pushing on… KM after KM… still no Peloton. then, with 13km’s to go to the KOM, the race van gave me the time gap to the Peloton:
Fuck… What? No way… I double checked and it was right… Fuck… I never expected that sort of gap. Now I had more belief and also terror, if I knew, then they also knew as well… Over to Angus to explain the response when they got the call in the Peloton on the time gap:
“We’re halfway up Lewis pass, support car pulls up and we see the blackboard with 4.45 on it… Whole Rivet team busts out the high 5’s and we’re in virtual yellow… People start asking who is that dirty nomad FFS. I told people that he would stay away… After this, the yellow jersey came to the front and started to smash it, dragging the Peloton along to defend the yellow.”
Unfortunately for the dirty break away, the elevation started to rise and my energy levels started to deplete. I just kept trying to be as smooth and fast as I possibly could, ignoring there was still a long way to go in this day. With 5km’s to the KOM I thought maybe they would miscalculate it and I would double up… I then started to be haunted by ghosts of breakaways past:
- The Lizard on the Aka’s… Even a week after surgery I still couldn’t beat him to the summit
- The Welsh Assassin on Galibier… a 10km break away gunned down 5km’s from the summit
- The Bintan fever… Diesel and I making a slight mess of Roberto’s lead out and breaking away with 2km’s to go, only to be gunned down by the Peloton
Yes, I have a history of getting hunted down in sight of legend status. I want to be able to tell you I overcame my destroyed legs and stayed away to take the KOM… but with just under 3km’s to go, they were on me. As the peloton streamed past me I got a few pushes and congratulations, which was an awesome feeling… then, I was alone. Spat out the back… From virtual GC and almost KOM winner to facing a LONG and lonely (and fucking cold) 20km’s down to the stage finish! So cold, my face froze and when I drank from my bottle it went all over my face like when you are at the dentist and go full spaz after they give you a local. So, I was fucked and dropped, time to do what DN does best when that happens, take scenery shots:
I managed to recover mildly at the end of stage break, but lets face it, I was cooked. Logan then managed to keep the team glory going nabbing second on the optional KOM stage to start what I was dreading next – the 33km Team Time Trial.
So, yes, I lasted 800m into a 6km TTT yesterday, so how fucking bad was today going be? My body was aching, but we had to finish with 3 men, so I had to suck it right the fuck up and get on with it. Out of the gate and we were shambolic to start with, but after a few KM’s we also transformed ourselves into one of the most beautiful pace line formations you’re likely to see outside of a Grand Tour. Angus was so smooth you could almost confuse him with a set of silk sheets, GV was digging deep to keep the pace up and Ben was a fucking machine – So much so I had to reign in his hulkness to stop the beautiful art of our pace line being blown to pieces. The boys did an amazing job and we ended up averaging around 39.2kph or so, pretty cool given how blown we felt. Getting the TTT rolling is a lot of fun.
Another 30km neutral stage and then it was time for the last 47km open stage to Greymouth. Bang, right from the gun a break goes, with Power Pete smashing it away with not only 3rd on GC with him, but later to be joined by he new Yellow Jersey. With 2nd on GC stuck in the peloton, he was put on the front and we all sat in, thank FUCK for that as I was rooted. Pete stayed away with the boys and not only legendarily took 2nd in the sprint points, but also took about 10 mins on GC! So, all in all a massive day for Rivet Racing. Highlighted at the dinner time awards:
Then, thanks to Angus doing an awesome nomination and public speaking effort, I won rider of the day for A Grade, thank Ango! Next we will work on your iPhone photo taking skills:
And to commemorate a big day, the boys even reminded me of my time as virtual Yellow jersey:
So, I am massively cooked now and am even too fucked to proof read this post of MANY words. Tomorrow is a cinch at only 100kms, but finished with an individual uphill TT, which is 6km’s long with an average of 12% gradient. Cock.