Saturday, September 5, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
Starting stage two with yellow meant we had to go to work. We let a small break go and controlled the rest of the day. There was some action on the second of the final three climbs, but we stayed calm and kept control without a lot of stress. Eventually Green Edge came to pull the final sprint and our job was done. Mathews won the sprint and took the jersey from Bauke. All good though.
So that left us with today. After a bit of rain and cold weather yesterday, we were really hoping for some sun. It took until the last 20km to see any sun though. Instead, we rode in near freezing temperatures and on/off rain for the first 150km. It wasn't the coldest I've ever been, but I was quite bundled up and pretty well prepared. Once the sun broke the clouds, spirits and motivation rose a bit for everyone. We raced toward the two finishing climbs. Bauke told us he wanted us to pull, so we obeyed. Jesse did a big pull at the base and put a lot of people including me into the red. I had to pull through after him though. I tried to keep the pace, but I think I slowed a bit. Eventually I was overtaken and began to go backwards. I fought to try and stay in touch with the group, but I lost touch. I chased the descent but there was no coming back. I didn't see the finish obviously, but Bauke was a very close second and retook the yellow jersey. Back to work tomorrow!
Saturday, August 22, 2015
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!
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Today's stage from Copper Mountain to Aspen had us tackle the infamous Independence Pass for the first of two times. Prior to that though, we had plenty of climbing starting from the gun with Fremont Pass. I tried to get into the breakaway and paid for it. After only one or two efforts, I was already feeling my legs and lungs quite a bit. Before the top of the pass, I had lost contact with the peloton. I had a whole gambit of emotions going through me at that point: pain, frustration, embarrassment, anger were a few. I kept fighting to stay close and after an acceleration near the top I was able to regain contact. More than a little frazzled physically and mentally, I tried to gather myself and focus to try and help the team as best I could. Eventually we arrived at the beginnings of Independence Pass and I committed myself to try and help protect Julien and Julian. It was quite windy and a real dog fight to be at the front. Around 6km from the top the efforts caught up with me and my legs went flat. I suffered to the top and then took the long descent down to Aspen as easy as possible, surveying what I will climb up tomorrow from the gun. Certainly I'm nervous about the start, but all I can do is try! Notable highlight for the team today was Laurent snagging the most aggressive riders jersey for his efforts in the breakaway. That's all!
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Pretty plain and simple, I wasn't good enough to be with the best on the way up to A-Basin and I'm obviously disappointed. On the bright side, we had Julian and Julien pretty high up there. Moving forward, we'll work for them to finish high in the overall and I'll try to catch a breakaway and go for a stage win.