Saturday, August 22, 2015

Independence Back to Hoosier and Breck, Plus a Trip to Fort Collins

Ok so let's get you caught up. Stage 4 started with the opposite side of Independence Pass from the day before and it went bananas. I tried to be present and go for a couple breakaways, but I also knew that I needed to meter my effort to make it over the top of the climb. As it was, I came unglued with about 1.5km to the top but kept a reasonable gap and was able to close it on the descent. After shoving some food and drink down the hatch, I helped to keep Julien protected as he was our best overall rider. At some point the wind got pretty crazy and the field began to split. We helped keep Julien in the front and out of trouble as best we could. Eventually the wind gave way to Hoosier Pass, so things didn't get any easier! I battled to stay with the diminishing peloton hoping I could help Julien in the final through Breckenridge before the final climb up Moonstone Road. I made it over the top and then we roared down into Breckenridge. I lost contact with Julien as we sped through town, but he managed to get himself up into the front group over the top of the climb and move into 9th overall. I simply got myself over the top and to the finish.

The next day was the TT that included the same climb over Moonstone Road as we had done in the finish the day before. I would do the TT without my TT bike because we wanted to let Julien use it to try and stay high in the overall. Admittedly I was a little nervous about the time cut because it was so windy and I would be racing against the guy who won the prologue of the Tour de France and has obviously been the strongest rider here. When it was all settled though, my time was only 2 minutes slower than the winner, middle of the results, and well within the time cut. Mission accomplished! Also, Julien had a good TT and remained high placed overall, although he dropped to 10th by 1 second.

So finally that brings us to today, when we drove down to the "low lands" of Colorado with the start in Loveland, a mere 5000 feet above sea level. I think everyone was kind of hoping for an easier day today, but it certainly wasn't to be. The first factor was the wind that was whipping around and the second was the fact that many guys wanted to be in the breakaway. It took a LONG time for the break to establish itself, something like 70km I think. I gave it a good nudge and had a few promising moves, but the cards weren't in my favor today. Leonardo, one of our stagiaires, managed to follow the right move and get into the break though. He ended up 3rd on the day as the break stayed away to the finish. That didn't mean our day in the peloton was easy though. The chase was on all day and there was more than one moment where the squeeze was on REAL tight. I'm not sure when things got all split up, but I think some guys were dropped as far out as 50km from the line. Laurent and I were in the front group with Julien and helped keep him safe to the finish.

Only one more day with one pretty good climb stand between Denver and me now. All things considered, I'll walk away from here feeling pretty happy that I was able to even race, but that I was able to finish the race feeling pretty good. Obviously it hasn't been the week or result that I hoped for, but I have to be realistic about what I was working with. Hopefully I'll get a big boost from this and be ready for good things in Alberta. That's about it for the update!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Sounds rough out there. You have a good perspective: you're lucky to be racing after that UT crash and even luckier to be able to help your teammate in the GC AND finish the race.