Saturday, April 7, 2012

Basque Interpretations

What else can be said? This race is hard! The tiredness has become evident on everyone's face and in their actions. The laughter at the table comes easier for really dumb comments. The movements to scoop pasta or musili, or shred the parmesan cheese over your plate have grown slower. It is an interesting progression to watch!

After yesterday's stage, each one of us was closer to our limit of mental and physical exhaustion. Stage 5 was pure survival really. It took every last bit of energy and will power to make it from the start to the finish. The break finally escaped after over 1.5hrs through the rain, up and down the hills (unclassified mountains included). I gave my effort to get into a few, but I am no exception to the exhaustion. The break finally went about 5km from the feedzone, so natural thought was that we would ride easy until the feedzone, then take on the chase. Team Sky had different ideas though as they began to drive the race immediately, I think because they missed the 16 man breakaway, a certain no-no in many books! So we trudged on until the breakaway was brought back after another 30/40km I think. It was probably one of the shortest lived breakaways in the history of cycling!

With the capture of the break, the race didn't stop though, it only amplified. The race was on now for gc guys. It was the last opportunity to try and make some escapes. Several dangerous guys eventually got away, and Katusha chased really hard. It was single file for at least the last 50km of the race. I fought hard to stay in there, but my battery had run empty. We hit the final categorized climb of the day, and my race was finished when the slopes went up steeply. My legs and mind just couldn't fight anymore. I succumbed to the pain and watched the group ride away. The climb eased a little, and I tried to make an effort to go back to the group, but I just couldn't ask anything else out of my body. I ended up with 3 other guys for the last 25km of the race. I could barely hold their wheel! I happily arrived to the finish, searching desperately for the warmth of the bus, completely empty.

1 comment:

Big Cahunico said...

Great post for those that think bike racing (especially at your level) is a big group ride with a sprint/climb at the finish. Fantastic effort to stay strong, represent the stars and strips, and build for the future. We're proud of you Matthew.