Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stage 4 Amgen Tour of California

The first day in the mountains with the cancellation of stage 1 and half of stage 2. The only good thing about today was the later start because of the shorter distance on the stage. But the shorter distance came at a cost of 9,000+ft of climbing.

My job along with two other teammates was to get into the early break. More specific I was to go right at km 0, and that is what I did. Unfortunately that didn't work like it had the previous day. I was soon back in the field waiting for my turn to cover the next. It came quick as Roman flatted. Now it was up to Jim and I to cover moves. After swapping off turns for a while and thinking I didn't know if I was going to be able to get the next one, Jim ended up in the move. Things settled for a while before the first short KOM a few miles away.

From that point on the race was on and up. As we crested the KOM the pace never settled and Radioshack kept the pace high and the field lined out. After two small KOM's we came up to the first big climb of the day, Mt Hamilton. The field strung out and those that could followed and those that couldn't settled into their own pace or that of the groupetto. Over the top I was in the second group on the road. We bombed the decent as some Type 1 riders were full throttle down it. It's been a while since I've bombed a decent that took 20+minutes. It's easy to loose focus for a second and freak out a bit. It was a lot of fun though as the descending basically took us to the bottom of Sierra Rd., the uphill finish.

Our group just rode it to the top, some a little harder, and some easier. The crowds on it were amazing. I could only imagine what it would be like to be some of the first riders up, as the crowd had died a bit 8 minutes later as we rolled up. Still it was pretty amazing.

Then came the scariest scenario I ever imaged. Imagine yourself descending a 4mile mountain that averaged around 10% with race vehicles, riders, 100's of spectators walking, riding on mountain bikes and cruisers, and tour buses coming up. If I only had a GoPro camera for that decent. That would have been the best footage taken all week. To bad one spectator was out of control and smashed into the Sram car around a corner. Word is he was critical, but ok. Please people be safe, you are not impressing anyone with your descending skills or lack there of through a crowd.

From there it was off to the hotel for food, shower, massage, food, and sleep.



Breeze On

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