Stage 4: Agua de Solares - Fuente del Chivo145.7km, ascent firstname.lastname@example.org - Cat 3, 2.2km email@example.com - Cat 1, 7.2km firstname.lastname@example.org - Cat 1, 7.1km email@example.com - CAT HC** 32.3km climb
As we began our fifth day in the pouring rain, I was sure that the conditions couldn’t get worse than the previous days. But I was proven correct as, things can always be worse! The conditions as we began to climb higher became so extreme, my body literally began to “shut” down and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it other than to suffer on and finish in the “autobus”, loosing half a day to the amazing solo performance of the Café Colombian ex-under23 World Champion.
I started really hard, trying to force an early break or at least put myself into one so that I could stay out the trouble of the conditions in the bunch, but as luck would have it, no matter how many move I followed in the first hour, nothing went.
I paid the price as we hit the first climbs, being so cold and battling to keep my fuel intake up, I had got shelled and had to spend the day in the “comfort of the autobus”. The only humor in this was that Stoff managed to ride back up to us and help keep the motivation required to complete the day. Jaco in the meantime had done extremely well to hang onto the front group until the first HC climb, from where he would be on his own to the finish.
Despite the following, armwarmers, kneewarmers, booties, Long finger gloves, under vest, cycle shirt, sleeveless windbreaker, full rain jacket, hat and helmet, climbing up to 2250m in the snow, I had no feeling whatsoever. I could not shift gears, let alone feel my handlebar in my hand despite all the clothing.
Luthandho who had done well until the last HC climb would later be dsq’d for hanging onto a car for too long, even though many Spanish riders did the same trick.
That was day to remember which goes down in my own history books as one of the hardest stages I’ve finished, all due to conditions.
On the brighter side, perhaps they may let one of the three remaining SA riders get away in a break now. If the legs come back, and especially if, just for one day, we could race in anything else other than pouring rain.
I have to say, as I sit here, it’s still raining though!
Hasta lanother wet one!