The first stage of Basque Country was not a let down for the style of racing we expect here. There was no shortage of climbing; and steep ones at that! We repeated different parts of stages from years past and I relived some memories from those races. In general the stage was fairly controlled, but that didn't mean it was easy. I believe there were 8 "classified" KOMs, but there were easily 4-5 other climbs that could've been rated. I'd like to try and explain the direction the course took, but we turned left/right, lapped this/that, climbed, and descended so much that I'm not sure where we rode! I do know that we did the finishing climb twice and it was hard. If a climb is short here, it has to be steep, so this one being only about 2km meant it had to go straight up a hill... no, mountainside. It supposedly averaged 13%, but I will wager that the real average was closer to 18%. We had 34x28 gearing and that didn't even seem like enough. Some of the suffering was buffered by the incredible Basque fans that were out in force already. There were even some yelling my name! At the end of the day we had lower results than hoped for, but our gc guys, Frank and Robert, held their own decently. There's lots of racing to be had yet, so hopefully we can find some success in the coming stages.