So the legs pulled up well after stage 1. Stage 2 was always going to be a battle for me being a crit race consisting of 30 laps on a 1.1 Hotdog type circuit.
The changes in speed out of every corner is the killer. The goal was to see how long I could last before getting dropped and then roll around until the officials removed me from course. The good news was that I was not first to go. The reality is that I lasted 5.5 laps before I got dropped and then only 9k.
Was an exciting race with the lead riders lapping the entire field, so I didn't feel that bad.
Here is my garmin file from the ride, notice the changes in speed often..
Stage 3 was a 102k Road Stage. The wind direction was a cross tail so the speed was always going to be high until 30k to go where we turned into a cross and had 2 laps of a 12k circuit to finish off with.
The bunch was rather controlled as the tail wind meant very little chance of a break getting away. I only saw 1 solo rider have a crack. As we approached the turn into the cross wind a few attacks started as riders wanted to get into a good spot. This was where the damage was going to be done.
I maintained my position in the back 3rd of the peleton and was feeling pretty good, knowing what the team plans were (for when they were going to bust the race open) I was starting to prepare myself to move up and also have a big surge.
Before I knew it riders were falling in front of me and I had to take evasive action. I locked up the brakes and was sliding towards a few fallen riders. I was just about stopped when I got a little nudge from behind, this was enough to just send me over the handlebars (in slow motion) and land on a poor rider who was already tangled in the web of fallen bike riders.
He let out a little moan as I landed on him, I apologized (no idea why, wasn't my fault) and before I knew it I had Damo on hand checking if I was ok. I quick check of the bike and just had to fix my front brakes and was away. If you have never seen a bike crash have a look at this video to give you some idea of how fast it can happen.
Once got going again, there was riders everywhere in 1's and 2's up ahead an behind. The main peleton was a fair way up the road by now, but a few of us rallied together to try and get back on. Some team cars went by and assisted their riders to the peleton (motor pacing) however I just don't have the legs to surge onto the back of a team car going 50+.
The best I could do was just work with the bunch I was in to see if we could rejoin the race. A few riders started dropping off our little group so I was left with just 1 other rider to work hard and see what happens. Sometimes the main bunch will ease for a bit and if you just keep plugging away you can re join.
The final 2 laps of the 12k circuit had a block head wind for about 5km. This just destroyed me trying to work into it. My legs were now starting to go on strike and I just had to hang onto the other guy. I dropped him and was in no man's land for a bit. Once I turned into a cross tail, I worked to rejoin him and started rolling turns again.
The last lap was the same, we could sense the finish line and just worked together towards it. I crossed 7 odd min behind the winner and actually moved up 3 spots on the GC (General Classification) to 74th. After only losing 19 sec yesterday, I dropped 13min 30 sec today over the 2 stages. Losing 7min on the road stage was a little disappointing as I was feeling ok whilst sitting in the bunch.
I am just happy that no damage was done in the fall.
Now, being the competitor that I am and knowing that there are still 3 x 100+ Km rides to go, I might have set myself a few goals (without being silly) to motivate me a little more.
The garmin file is below. By looking at it I went from 48kph to 0 kph very fast. It all happens that fast.
This is the pro life...
Todays stage is a 140k road race, the weather is a bit cooler and wind is down again from yesterday. Will be another fast race. Just hanging in there and staying upright..