Saturday, June 12, 2010

Circuito Montanes

Stage 3: Miengo--El Astillero178.1km, ascent 11.5km@18.6k - Cat3, 2.4km climb@105k - Cat 1, 6.4km climb@151k - Cat 3, 2.7km climb

Stage three of the tour, also the longest, had the worst conditions we had encountered thus far. And we have had some fairly bad weather along the way.
For the entire 180km, it never let up raining, in fact at one stage in the first hour, it was raining so hard that I was convinced it was hailing. At this time there were a few crashes, luckily the worst of them just involved me getting hit from behind as the brakes simply don’t work in the wet. Not knowing it, I had a pretty badly buckled rear wheel, which meant the brakes were on and taxed a fair amount of my energy. I’d only find this out at the dinner table once the mechanic, Magnus, joined us after servicing our bikes. A small break slipped away in the chaos, despite our best efforts to put a man in there, we only have four riders and is really hard to try follow all the moves.
Jaco and I decided to save our energy for the cat1 climb, but the cold and wet took its toll on my body, as I battled to keep warm the whole day. No matter how much I ate, it was simply not enough. In the last 30km, it was not possible to feed and luckily Jaco had enough extra food to see me through to the finish.
The bunch to the finish was really big and I was mid pack heading into the final 2km’s, unfortunately with three slippery roundabouts to get to get through, there were another two crashes. These crashes caused a split in the bunch and I lost about 30seconds.
Jaco was good on the day, and looks like he is getting stronger, as is Luthando who rode really well today. Stoff dug deep to finish another monster stage and hang in still with his sense of humor intact.
Today’s stage is the first mountain top finish, ending with about 20km of climbing up to 2200m, where I fear, the rain which has not stopped yet, will turn into snow.
The legs are sore and I hope the other riders are in the same boat. It’s incredible to see that on the climbs, despite how hard the pace is, the group never drops! I think today it will change though.
The weather however will not!
Results on

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