Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A roller coaster ride

On Monday afternoons 2nd stage to Bluff, I, like most of the bunch hit the deck in a mass pile-up at over 50km/h. Took a long time to get up and dust myself off after that one... my bike ended up in 5 bits, helmet smashed to pieces and most of my body was grazed and blood riddled.

Finished the stage on the spare team bike and lost 3 minutes by the time the race hit Bluff Hill. It wasn't looking too flash for my hopes of a high GC result going into the tour. Morale was a bit down and I was generally feeling sorry for myself that night.

Day 2 dawned and the forecast bad weather didn't eventuate, what a plus! A massive 165km stage up to and around Gore. The plan was to use this stage as a transitional recovery stage to get over the previous days crash. Thankfully, the peloton stayed together for most of the race, with a small break of 4 skipping off the front in the last 20km. During the stage I went through the motions of bike racing, still feeling the stiffness and soreness from the previous days crash. Was just glad to arrive at the finish in one piece and head into the local Subway to fuel up and recover.

Day 3, double stage, hardest day of the tour. 88km in the morning, followed by 100km in the afternoon.

Morning stage was a shocker from my point of view, I couldn't pedal to save myself. The seat post on the spare team bike that I was using had slipped 15mm, so I was creeping around the bunch. Luckily it all came back together and finished in a group, bar 6 riders who had 30 seconds at the finish. Nice ride by team mate Josh, who took 2nd on the stage.

During the lunch break, I put the seat back up and lowered the handlebars down. I was ready to make up for some lost time.

Plan was pretty straight forward – when it's blowing fifty bastards, be at the front and no where else. Most other riders have the same idea of course, but I kept good position at the front of the race. Sure enough a break went at the 10km mark and it never looked like coming back. I was there along with Gordy and Josh as well as most of the main GC contenders.

We were pushing speeds of 60km/h+ (46.5 km/h average for the stage) and it was a real battle to stay on the road in the strong winds at times. The break worked well until about 40km to go and then the wear and tear of the stage caused the break to split up.

I was sitting on Heath Blackgrove & Peter Latham's wheel (with Gordy and 5 other riders clear up the road), so I put in an attack in the gutter with the cross winds and bridged up to the lead riders. Once on, I recovered for a few laps and then started to put in the work and help set Gordy up for the finish. Gordy took the stage win, yes!

Crown range stage tomorrow, can't wait.



Anonymous said...

You're hangen tuff dude!!!! Way to go. Todd (USA)!

Anonymous said...

Way to go dude, you're hanging tuff. Top 10 that's real cool after that big stage pile up.

Todd (Ohio)

Anonymous said...

Joe, you are an inspiration! Way to go with New Cali, keep up the awesome work :-)

Anonymous said...


Just saying hello while I read through the posts

hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.