Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2 Down in Utah

We're two stages into Utah and I'm ready for the first rest day already! Oh wait, we don't get any here. I'm plenty tired from these first two days of racing though. The course profiles have been anything but easy. Yesterday's stage was relatively calm, but it had a lot of climbing, which was a fairly rude introduction for me after the Tour and coming to altitude just before the race. I managed to keep everything together though. Altitude is definitely a funny thing. There were numerous occasions during the stage where I'd do one simple thing such as take a drink from my bottle and I'd have a sudden rush of lactic acid or feel like I needed to gasp for air. It certainly takes a toll on the body to have less oxygen available!

In today's stage, all control was out the window and life was not easy. It was a little crazy for the breakaway and we managed to have Jens jump into the move. He ultimately couldn't hold on and came back, but it was good to have him represented in front and help keep us from needing to pull. The field was mostly controlled by Garmin with a little help from Belkin and Cannondale in the later part of the stage. There was rarely a moment to breathe today. We had a lot of descending, but even that was full gas to try and keep the breakaway on a short leash. And if there was a lot of descending, that means there was a lot of climbing too! And to add to that, there was a fair amount of wind that kept coming from different directions and making life just a little bit harder in the peloton. Thankfully I had a great team around me today to keep me out of trouble. Hayden Roulston was particularly awesome. He rode in the wind almost all day for me. I'm not entirely sure how he did it because I was suffering a lot just being on his wheel! There were numerous occasions, especially on the run into and on the final climb of the day where I thought I was in big trouble. My bike felt stuck to the road. Thankfully I think everyone was feeling that way a little bit. And even more thankfully no one really tried to crush it on the last climb because I think I would've been in trouble. That said, the group was awfully small at the top, so maybe no one could go much harder! I'll believe that and take some confidence from it! :)

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's nearly flat profile and just praying to the weather gods that it won't be windy. I could really use an easier day to try and recover/adapt a little bit. I'm hoping that I will get better day by day with the altitude. Time will tell!

Oh and I'll give a shout out to Michael Schar for an incredible ride to a solo win from the breakaway today. Impressive.


Scott K said...

Looking good Matt. Yes Schar busted one to pull off the stage win. Coverage had him pegged for a slow death for the last 10km or so. Keep forging ahead, you are the man!

Eric said...

It blows my mind that you are racing already after such a brutal tour! We are keeping up as best we can on steephill.tv. Thanks for keeping the blog up and going.