Ok, so I realise that yesterday’s post was brought to you by Negativity and the Letter C for C Bomb, so, I am going to attempt to be a LOT more positive in today’s update from stage 1. At times, this positivity may present itself as being mildly sarcastic, but just ignore that and focus on how much fun cycling is!! Yay!!!
Righto then gang, grab your gingerbeer and off we go! I am a little at a loss to describe quite how today was, but will do my best to convey its variety and character building elements as we go! Whilst I may have been a bit slow getting up this morning, this piece of beautiful artistry was absolutely set to roll, resplendent with my odd wheel choice due to that silly old flat tub, gee, you conti tubs crack me up when you puncture at races! Classic:
Over breakfast I made the mistake of telling the Goat that it was pretty much anatomically impossible to Fellate oneself… He strenuously objected to my assertions and spent the rest of the morning doing his utmost to prove me wrong… Luckily for everyone involved it didn’t seem to work out:
Enough of this monkey business, it was time for a Race/sodomy lecture… They lay it on pretty thick here in Indo, even rolling out the red carpet when the Dirty Nomad entry was confirmed, lets get into the race village atmosphere! There were even some gents to the right checking the public works were in order:
Soon, it was time… we were placed in the pen like the cattle we were, prepared for the slaughter ahead. For some, this was a happy place and time, soon, suffering and hardship would be the norm:
I was equally excited, mainly as my medium jersey was looking more like a Mountain Bike top, and I had nabbed a front row start:
I spoke of him yesterday and called him the French Beast, but I stand corrected, silly me… He’s Swiss, which really only makes his power more precise and less emotional, all set to go in the Yellow… His plan to defend the jersey? Simple: Attack
Well, this is where the racing starts and the photos pretty much run out I am afraid… So into stage one of Tour of Bintan!
It was a fairly standard opener really… I got involved in a few half breaks and chased on to a few bits and pieces, with Roberto in the mix as well… All was going swimmingly, until km number 9. The road suddenly narrowed and a squeeze was on, I could see the verge that was gravel, rock and a ditch. I tried to slide back to avoid a collision and almost made it, until I saw a flash of a Lapierre bike and team kit and then something I haven’t come across in an amateur race much – An elbow. Not an elbow that accidentally catches you, but one that is quite purposeful and designed to send you off the road, which is exactly what I had to do.
Wow, fancy that… I’ve been pushed off the road and am about to crash on rocks and gravel, yikes… this is tricky isn’t it… (must remain positive). Ok, so somehow I save it and have to unclip and walk back to the road side and back on the road. Peloton is gone. Well, this is interesting… Didn’t see this cunting, oh, I mean coming. Guess I may have to use my slight (maybe extreme) rage and hatred to ride back on (for Star Wars fans, it would have taken me about 3 mins to become a Sith clearly). On my 2km chase I focused on the ‘Feedback’ that I was going to give the white Lapierre rider when I got back on. I eventually did and had a ‘chat’ with the Dutch Hamburglar, only to find it was the other Lapierre Ang Mo that had been the culprit.
I won’t focus on the negative aspects here, but will do a little PR – If you like French Avanti’s and want to fuck people over, then buy a Lapierre. If you have balls and want a real bike, not to mention class, buy a Cannondale. Another way to look at it, Peter Sagan rides a Cannondale and some dude who can’t go downhill rides a Lapierre. Enough said I guess…
Next up to the plate was Snozza and Rob, who got away in a handy little break for a while, to be brought back along the red road of hell. There were then a few surges and attempted breaks, but nothing was sticking until we got to the coast.
I spied one of the Lapierre team trying to sneak away 4km’s before the sprint point and now that they were my new best friends, I decided to go with him. We were joined by one of the Indonesia team riders… And then eventually by Ben from the Mavs and a while later, by another Mav and another Indo team rider. Given yesterday and my general state, I didn’t really think I was going to be in the main break of the day, but here I was and with 6 riders, it was clearly on.
The next 1 hour and 5 minutes and 43km’s were among the hardest I have ever suffered to be frank. Its a bit hard to explain really… My turns weren’t great and Ben was smashing it like a machine, but I had to stay there… we had to be represented in the break, so I just could not give up. Sure, I was vomiting in my mouth, couldn’t really eat and my right shin was shooting pain through my leg with every pedal stroke, but wow, what a character building experience! (Ed note – Fuck it is hard being positive about this shit).
I was sure we were going to get caught after 10km’s… Then I thought it would only last 20km’s. By the time we had been away for 30km’s I started to scratch my head and couldn’t see the peloton. I was also starting to get dropped on every climb and was having to chase back on each time. I have never chewed so much handlebar or starred at back wheels like this. I had to miss turns and when I did take one it was pretty shit, but my one goal was to stay there at all costs. My mentality was the longer I was here the easier it would be for the Snozzinator and Roberto, so they could chill for the finale.
I made it to km 43 in the break before I popped… I wasn’t just my legs that were gone, it was basically like a central nervous system shut down. I realise my face was screwed up in a cross between what Cadel Evans looks like and how your face looks when you’re crying, I couldn’t even talk at this stage and was dispatched up a tricky little ramp out of one of the quaint towns (others may call them shitholes) we passed through.
After a while, the Peloton arrived and I fell through it like a fat polar bear through thin ice… Eventually getting dispatched out the ass. I dug as deep as I could manage to get back in and after a chase, made it. I pulled up next to Rob and gave him a 30 second debrief on the break up the road before I was smashed in the head by the most massive leg cramp all down my right leg… The kind where you can’t pedal at all and can really only scream like a little kid that has had 4 hours of sugary treats and are stuck in an apartment on a rainy day. So, as you can guess, suddenly I was alone:
Right at this point, I was as fucked as I could get. The commisaire car came up to me and said “Are you ok?”… “Water, I need water!”, he then smiled and gave me a thumbs up and drove off. Awesome. And wow, there was only 60km’s left to go in the stage! Other slight challenges, the pain in my right shin was now shooting down under my foot and heal making it hard to pedal and I was out of water. It looked a bit like this:
No problem, I can’t ride back to the finish, I will find a Commisaire and pull out. I hate to DNF, but this was actually looking a tad dodgy to be honest and I didn’t fancy having a monitor lizard make sweet love to my skull when I collapsed on the side of the road. After another 10km’s of riding, I worked out that this was a particularly hard race to pull out of… There were no officials, no sag wagon and no escorts. I was totally 100% alone. I was 12km’s out from the drink station used for the punters, so decided to go there to pull the pin. Upon arrival I enquired to the chap:
“Excuse me chief, is there a Commisaire here?”
He smiled and nodded enthusiastically… Then he held up a bottle of Coke. Hmmm… let me try again.
“Jolly good chap, but no no, I need an OFFICIAL” (I even tried my Dad’s trick of speaking loudly in Indonesian accented English). This got me a better result.
He nodded, poured me a coke and smiled.
Fucked. Ok then, I drank his coke, took some bottles and boxed on, only 50km’s painful Km’s to go, what else could happen. Well, how about a torrential rain storm and lightening strikes within a few hundred metres of your location? This was the theme for the way home. Eventually Cat 2 caught me and whilst I sat in there for a while, I decided it was better rolling solo as the rain intensified and I watched 4 of them ping off the road like Malaysian drivers. They also seem to like chopping the fuck out of each other in Cat 2 and by the 5th time I almost had my wheel taken out I thought it was best to cruise the last 15km’s alone. How much rain are we talking? Well, aside from the roads turning into rivers, I couldn’t keep the Radarlocks on, but when I took them off so much water got in my eyes my contacts started to move and wash out, so hopefully that gives you a flava.
So, its been ALL about me, but how about I open up the floor to give some love to my team mates, as they were there to. So here are the results:
- Stage win – Shinobu Noguchi with 3.49.47
- Snozza – 3rd (WHAT A FUCKING LEGEND)! 3.49.53
- Uncle Pete – 19th: 3.50.00. Pete worked well today to defend his top 25 GC position
- The Goat – 37th: 4.05.34
- Roberto – 43rd: 4.13.34. Roberto had to make an emergency toilet stop… Of the La Plagne variety
- Shane – 44th. 4.13.34. Great work mate on battling some Dieselesque cramp I hear, sounded NASTY
- Dirty Nomad – Smashed and decimated, 45th. 4.21.48. Still, I DID something and would always much rather be in the break and up the road than sit tucked up in the Peloton, but that’s just me.
I understand that there may have been a protest at Snozza’s awesome third place, but it was thrown out on the basis of no one wanting to hear from a mumbling gimp. Here is the footage of the protest being lodged:
At the end I was so broken I could hardly eat food or drink coke, so I was super pumped when the call was made to ride back to the hotel. Yay, some more cycling! Off we go. It was worth getting back to though:
Whilst we reflected on todays suffering, the Goat started to think ahead to the massage and wondered how long he could hold out during the Happy ending:
Ok, so taking a break from being a positive happy clappy fucker for a moment – Today was pretty much as hard as it gets. In the right form it would be ok, but I was marginal at best, so probably not the right move to get into the break, but fuck it, when shit goes down you have to GET SOME.
For those of you racing tomorrow around the globe, just go out there and smash it to fuck, just keep your class and your elbows tucked in chaps. Stage 2 tomorrow should be novel!