Today, the ‘Marathon Stage’, was freaking everyone out all night, I’m sure. It wasn’t really the distance or the elevation gain that was bothering, but the forecast for near-zero on the top of the first climb, plus a 5C start. Rob set me up with some embrocation stuff and toe covers that certainly did the trick on the Col d’Iseran and its viciously cold descent. However, once the sun came out my legs felt like someone was sandpapering them, they were so hot.
But other than the heat and cold, the stage was pretty manageable. I think our average speed was 27.5 kph, which is far and away the fastest Alps stage I’ve ever done.
I had okay climbs and great descents, with good groups to work with the entire day. And, to top it off, Rob and I rode together for much of the day as well.
I saw two accidents (or the aftermaths of them), which makes at least 4 or 5 for the week so far. All of them have been on the descents, unsurprisingly. One broken finger, but nothing too serious otherwise.
And the prize for coolest move of the day goes to ‘Dude’, from South Africa, who I rode with much of the latter part of the day and who, seeing me falling off the back of the pack near the end of the race, said ‘Come on man, I’ll pull you back, or we’ll finish together.’ I was suffering with the pace, but with a super kind offer like that I had to find the energy somewhere to hang onto his wheel. And I did. Adrian is his real name and we had a good chat at the lunch afterwards. Dude, I owe you a 6-pack.
On the day
Mark: 76th place, in 5:57
Rob: 101st place, in 6:07
Gerry: 103rd place, in 6:07
Team Vicious Cycle: 23rd place
General Classification (over 3 days)
Mark: 79th place overall.
Rob: 105th place overall.
Gerry: 109th place overall.
Team Vicious Cycle: 25th place (91 teams)
The numbers seem to be moving in the right direction. Funny how things work in life. Before the event began none of us were really concerned about placings very much. Now I find myself wondering how much time there is to lose or gain on the Time Trial in 2 days. Quite a bit is the answer probably.