Today's 217km stage from Seaside to Paso Robles was long and beautiful. The stage started through the beautiful Carmel Valley on a road I had trained on a couple years ago. It was cool to ride through and recognize some of the road. After a less beautiful middle of the stage, the ride into Paso Robles was again beautiful scenery; although, the pace rose and the suffering reacted accordingly.
The stage started with a few hard rollers and KOMs. The break went just before the summit of the first official KOM, and we were happy to see it go because it was only 4 riders, which makes our job of control throughout the day easier, and everyone's legs were a bit fatigued after the short but hard day in the saddle yesterday. Unfortunately we screwed up by not giving the break enough leash in the beginning, so some other guys started jumping across the gap making us resume a hard chase. Eventually things settled down again, but the break grew to 11 with a few dangerous men, so the chase was a little bit harder. The day was not easy for me riding in the caboose at the end of our train, but Ben, Jason and Markel were machines today doing 90% of the work on the front. Hats off to them. In the end, the team rode great and no damage was done at the finish.
Tomorrow is the time trial in Solvang where Levi has won three times. The race is not between Chris and Levi, but they are both racing, so naturally a little competition exists. The team morale and spirit is great though, no animosity is there. Both Chris and Levi are in great condition, along with the rest of a strong field. It will be a great show. For me, it is a "rest day" because my goal is not the gc. My goal is to be as recovered as possible to do work for Chris and Levi on Saturday and Sunday. There are going to be a lot of fireworks still. Stay tuned!
I wanted to post the picture of the new addition to my bike's paint job. Stay strong Aunt Mary, we love you.
I want to make a small note to any of my Luther alums, too. I don't necessarily believe in good/bad omens or superstitions, but while on the massage table the night before stage four, the song "Psychokiller" came through the playlist of the soigneur. After hearing the song, I knew the next day would be good, and Team RS delivered a great day! Go Norse!