Friday, August 22, 2014

So Close and Soggy

Let me begin with the excitement in Colorado Springs yesterday. I think the number one objective was for Jens to be in the break and go for the stage win. He was clearly very motivated. Things went to plan with Laurent and Jens making the break. The gap grew nicely and it looked very promising as the kilometers dwindled. I kept myself out of trouble to preserve my gc place and rode on anxiously just hoping Jens was going to pull off his magic one more time. As we raced into the final 3km I could see Jens just in front of us. Finally as we took the turns into the final kilometer I could see Jens was fighting with everything he had, but it wasn't going to be enough. I was heartbroken as we caught him with about 700 meters to go. Nonetheless it was another inspirational and heroic effort. It's really incredible how Jens rides. I'm not sure anyone else has or ever will ride as hard as him. It's been a true honor to be his teammate.

After the fireworks yesterday, it would only be fitting that we'd have a little more excitement today. The rain drops were sprinkling on us as we rolled out. We had a few moments of dry roads, but that was temporary. It took nearly 50km of pretty difficult racing for the break to get away. Laurent played it perfectly and got into it. Finally a moment to breathe, eat, and drink something. There wasn't much of a slow down though as BMC began to set a steady tempo to keep things under control. As we rolled through the feedzone, it was evident that the weather was going to get ugly. For the next 50 or so kilometers we had some miserably cold rain. I wore my rain vest and rain jacket to try and stay warm. Still it wasn't enough. My savior might have been Markel offering me a spare pair of long finger gloves he had. I happily accepted them even though I had already asked Jens to grab my gloves and another jacket from the car. I never did receive those items though. I came to find out after the stage that Jens was so cold that he had to stop for a bit to have the mechanic put his gloves on. By the time he fought his way back to the field it was basically too late. Thankfully the rain had let off and I was able to warm up a bit.

We arrived at the base of Hoosier Pass and Optum set about trying to blow things up. I simply tried to follow. At the top of Hoosier there were only a few of us left. Garmin set about driving the pace down the descent into the final KOM. I followed and prepared for the last steep climb that blew things up last year. I wasn't familiar with the climb because I was at the Vuelta last year, but I knew I needed to be patient. Saxo took over the pace making as we hit the climb. Finally about 300 meters from the top Tejay attacked. It was the final steep section. I reacted a little slowly and tried to chase. By the finish I was 5th of the gc guys and 5 seconds behind the lead 3. It was a good way to finish up before tomorrow's vital time trial.

A nice bonus to the day was hearing after the stage that Laurent had won the stage! I didn't mention above that the break would stay away for the day. We had our action behind, but they also had action in front. Laurent played it perfectly with a late attack at the top of the final climb. He was able to hold off the chasers to take the stage win. It's great to see him win because he's always working so hard for the team. Overall it was a horribly miserable day that sapped some serious energy, but it was awesome at the same time because Laurent took it home for us today!

**I apologize if this blog is horribly confusing and scattered. I think I'm completely drained and in need of some food!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your time trial. That was very impressive!