There is no debating that the conditions of today's second stage were brutal. I don't know where you draw the line on excessive or potentially dangerous, but I guarantee the conditions of today were very close to that line. The distance and heat made the already tough parcours much harder. In any case, the stage was pretty "boring" until the final 6km climb. The break was given a relatively long leash of about 12 minutes, but they were reeled in before the base of the final climb thanks to a combined chase of several teams. Our goal for the day was to protect Andy and me as much as possible and deliver us to the base of the final climb in a good position. The team did a good job of getting us there, then it was up to us. Unfortunately Andy wasn't feeling it, so it was left up to me. Laurent made a great effort actually with an attack at the bottom of the climb, but it was short lived once Mathias Frank of BMC began his work. He single handedly rode the group to 5 guys with only one, Philip Deignan, up the road. I hung on as best I could, but when Tejay accelerated at 2km to go, I was cooked, literally. I slowed to a crawl by the finish line and was so happy to be finished. I sat on the scorching blacktop and slammed waters and sodas to try and regain my composer afterwards. The final climb was super deceptive. The stats said it was about 10%, but it did not look that steep as I was riding it because it was a wide, straight road. As I reflect on the final climb, I can remember seeing signs that said "steep grades, turn off A/C", and all I could think was how nice it would be to have some A/C and "shoot, steep grades?!?!?" In all seriousness, I'm obviously disappointed that I lost contact with the leaders, but I know I went to my limit. There's a lot of racing left, and I know I can move up a few spots by Sunday, so I'm definitely not giving up! For now, I'm happy to have the A/C on in my room, a comfortable bed to sleep in, and a few "easy" and hopefully cooler stages ahead. Good night.