If yesterday was brought to you by the letter C for C Bomb, then today’s post is sponsored by P for Plan and B for Beautiful… Yes, with better weather comes a better mood, but that isn’t what really got us foaming at the mouth today.

Those of you that know me, know that I love a good plan. And what’s the one thing better than a good plan? Good execution… Thus, this is the theme from day 2 at the Vets tour. Amateur cycling is basically war, which means, any plan cooked up usually doesn’t survive first contact with the enemy. But, with a massive cycling erection I can proudly say that today was an exception (for the most part). Lets go back to the genesis of today though, when we cooked up the evil Rivet plan last night over a relaxing zoolanderesque hot pool team meeting, this is SO PRO right now:

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Did someone say Otter?

There are SO many things wrong with this photo its actually hard to count them all – If it doesn’t garner much abuse, then nothing will. But, the best and worst plans can usually be traced back to a hot tub, so its important to respect its part in the process. Thanks to Iceman for taking this questionable pic, glad you nailed me with the chip packet, again.

The plan was simple – Gang up with the other big team in the race and send a couple of heavy hitters up the road. Make the top 3 GC riders chase, wear themselves out and then counterattack with our reserve numbers. A classic case of cycle bullying and using our Drone Army numbers to make life difficult. Over a hot beef wellington the deal was sealed and seared with Meo GP and we went to sleep with the sweet notion that Sunday would be an interesting day.

We awoke in our Palatial Rivet Racing Martinborough HQ to a much nicer day, which actually felt like summer. No C Bomb’s here, just sunshine and a breeze that was threatening to pick up down track. The bikes were ready for the plan, well, the BMC’s were anyway (3 out of 5 for the Rivet Racing team):

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The Persian BMC team

And given that a big day was ahead, AT had the mother fucker mapped out to the max:

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Who needs race radio when you have race tape

Showing that he was ready to execute the plan with extreme prejudice, AT rolled out early to ensure a proper warm up was banked. The intent of today was very clear, note the deployment of the AERO jersey here, meaning that its business time:

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“I’m not giving into your drive by yelling antics DN… Just leave me to my power numbers”

Stage 3 was 83km’s and with our GC/PC lads less and one minute off the lead, it was still all to play for and we had the plan to get it done. But, before the final battle unfolded for the Rivet Racing Vets team (I’m the youngest FYI), it was time for the team photo. Sunglasses – Check. White shoes – Check. White Helmets flanking the black helmet – Check. Everyone in matching kit, especially shorts – Fuck:

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The single point of failure

I could write a thesis or doctorate paper on today’s happenings, but for your attention span sake I shall limit it to an essay… An essay of enthralling middle aged people trying to shank each other, suffocate one another, plotting, whispered exchanges, mind games and a sprinkling of intimidation. Today had so much drama it made Game of Thrones look like fucking Playskool.

It started early – Straight away Backy from Meo GP attacked, which triggered a major response, sure he was 6 mins down thanks to a flat Di2 battery from yesterday, but he was a dangerous man, which is exactly why we wanted him up the road. I then countered, but my advantage was ruthlessly snubbed out by a hill and my penchant for Raspberry & Lime tea cakes.

My attack being wiped out though gleaned a pleasing piece of intel – The Race leader (McMachine) was doing the chasing and work, which was a wet dream for our little plan. Then, not even 10km’s into the stage, BOOM: AT and Backy surged off the front and got a gap, a decent gap. I sat up and let it go out and sure enough, giving us a strategic stiffy, the race leader took up the chase into the head wind, unassisted. This was too good, but it got even better. Very soon we had the following scenario:

  • Backy and AT up the road by a few minutes
  • 3rd on GC trying to bridge across, but unable to and cooking himself in no mans land
  • 1st and 2nd on GC chasing by themselves, surrounded by Rivet Racing and Meo GP riders
  • Stunning rolling hills scenery that got the massive DN seal of approval

I couldn’t have scripted it better, seriously, this was like some sort of dream scenario! How to make it better? Add a dose of cuntiness to it. Yip, thanks to tactics taught to me by a certain Pro-Conti team in Asia, it was time to disrupt the chase and slow the pace down. Leonard and I worked for KM after KM to slow things down to a crawl, even to the point of it being fucking embarrassing! I think in the end we carried this behaviour on for a good 50 to 60km’s? Evidence of the Rivet pace control at the front? Well, its not often that you can pull out your iPhone and take pics in A grade, but T Bone took the chance to do just that to capture evidence of our meddling at the front:

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Up front, we are chatting, eating and admiring the rolling hills… Ah… a light training ride

The best thing about slowing down the peloton and disrupting the chase here was that everyone was too polite to either say or do anything about it. A few times a random gent would come to the front and attempt to up the pace, to which I would enquire what they were up to and/or ride over the top of them and slow it down. General rule – If you can’t be in the break, be a total bastard. The seasoned vets appreciated the work, but from the looks, many other didn’t. Still, the plan was beautiful and its execution exquisite as the break disappeared up the road: 2 minutes became 4… 4 minutes became 5.

Yes – 5 minutes… This now meant that AT was the virtual yellow jersey on the road! Fuck me with a chocolate croissant if we weren’t excited as a pack of Lima’s on acid. With 20km’s to go and a 5 minute lead we had basically taken out a mortgage on the top step of the podium and we still had T-Bone and GP safely tucked in the back pocket to play later on if needs be. This was the true definition of why cycling is beautiful. It was like a game of chess, but played out on the most lavish landscape, with stunning scenery and where instead of moving little things around on a board you take to your opponent with a baseball bat, but in a classy way.

Up the road, Backy and AT continued to hammer away, KM after KM, the rebel alliance lapping it out with the on the road agreement of Stage for Meo GP and Overall GC for Rivet, what an excellent deal. Even better, 3rd place on GC was still slow roasting in no mans land. At one point I was asked if we wanted to bring him back, to which I gleefully replied: “fuck em, let em cook”

However, McMachine wasn’t about to roll over and wipe our asses with his yellow jersey, here is the exact moment second time up Millars that he decided to drop the hammer and commence a proper chase:

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McMachine turns the screws (left) and a desperate and slightly worn out Nomad scrambles to respond (right)

A real fever and some serious mofo’s now attempted a concerted chase, which we continued to meddle in like the Scooby Do gang, at one stage resulting in a very firm hip push from the race leader, getting pushed clearly means you’re an effective bastard, so always smile and say thanks. But, shit was getting sharp as we approached the last major climb of the day with about 10km’s to home. Making it sharper, it was time to unleash T-Bone, who pumped out a 1300w effort (for the non-cyclists, that’s like towing a train with the line wrapped around your nuts) of an attack before the final climb, it was fantastic to watch the GC contenders struggle to match it.

Then, it was final climb time. This is the moment when a series of events collided:

  • The gap to the break shrunk dramatically
  • Ango blew his lights
  • My legs gave up and I was dropped

Yes, my climbing legs are still on holiday somewhere in the French Alps in 2012, so it was a slow and windy crawl to the finish for me… As for AT, he felt that painful sting of the peloton swallowing him and then passing him out the back like a bowel motion… The dreams of a yellow jersey dashed. BUT: An amazing effort AT and a huge day on the road, the stuff of legends to be away for about 70km’s or so, epic stuff. Backy went on to take the stage win, which was an extremely popular outcome from the day. AT’s glove shows the hardship of being in an all day break away with just one other for company:

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Break away jiz

And the men of the moment, lavish mucho kudos here on these two, chapeau lads:

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The double team, cycling’s version of Tango & Cash

So, whilst we didn’t get the final result we wanted, it was an awesome day of racing and tactics and AT rode his heart out in legend fashion. Its never been more satisfying to see a plan unfold so beautifully and to exert some pressure on the GC boys, a great day at the road office. I also learned an important thing this weekend:

Good idea = A bubble bath with Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence (strictly to discuss tactics for tomorrows stage)

Bad idea = Turning up to a road stage race unfit, 3kg’s over race weight and with only mountain biking for training

But, turns out that while its painful and you’ll be on the back foot most of the time, you can still have some fun. Thanks for the Rivet boys for making it a blast, well done for the team work, hard riding and solid racing action.

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