Yes the tradition lives on: burgers and fries the night before a rest day! Nothing like a little pick me up in the middle of a race. And this is the second burger night, which means we've done 15 stages and have only 6 to Paris! Only a few mountains and a short 54km time trial stand in the way. Let's not think about that now though. It's better to focus on happy things: burgers tonight, easy ride tomorrow followed by seeing Lisa. What could be better?! Needless to say I'm happy to get another recharge day before the final push.
Regarding the stage today, it started kind of badly. The break went easy thankfully, but then we continued on these small, bumpy roads for what seemed like forever. I'm still struggling to hold my bars well with my ripped up palm, plus now I have a horribly torn up "undercarriage" from all the abuse it's been getting the past two weeks. I was very uncomfortable and quite grumpy to be honest. The grumpiness did dissipate and I did garner some hope that with only two guys in front that maybe we'd finally have a civil sprint stage. Oh how horribly wrong I was. The last 100km was hectic. First it was the crosswinds. Then with about 40km to go the rain started. At one point it was raining so hard that the roads in the city were completely flooded. I brought back nightmares from Worlds last year. I fought through the winds but the rain had me panicking again. I did lose contact with the peloton with 20 or so kilometers to go, but I kept pushing on despite the fact that I could see NOTHING through my glasses. I was in the cars for several kilometers chasing all out. Somehow I managed to claw my way back to the rear of the peloton, but that's where I stayed until I finally pulled the plug at 5km to go. I wasn't helping the team and didn't need to take any more risks. I just wanted to get to the rest day without any more crashes. Success! Let the rest begin. :)