Saturday, March 18, 2006

GA, 3-16-06 the queen stage.

Ok today was epic. By far the hardest ride I have ever done. I was lucky enough to be at the 04 tour and watch lance make the alp look like someone’s driveway. The day before we embarked on a ride of only 85 miles or so but climbed the col d’ galiber and then back to the top of L’ alp. That was awful. I felt horrible, I’m sure being wasted on wine at 7000 feet and eating pizza for dinner at midnight didn’t help. Either way it’s a hard climb. But I wasn’t “on” by any stretch. Today I felt good. Real good, and I needed it all. We did the 6 gap loop we did earlier this week. With the addition of Brass Town Ball (infamous finish at the tour D’ George). From the side we climbed it totaled 45 minutes or so. The last 3 miles in the park with sustained sections of 15 and 20 percent. More details in the training log.A quick play by play: 1 hr to hog pen gap, then up. 20 some minutes of very steep roads, 10+%. Felt pretty good. Next another gap but we tock some back country dirt roads. I was having visions of Deliverance. 90 minutes on the dirt and we see a bear. A baby cub “ how cute” I thought. He was so Cute!, and where was mom? If mom finds us we are all going to die. Well, at least one of us and I was the slowest descender. We tip toed down the road following the cub until he hoped up on the side of the road and we gunned it to the main road. Another classic decent. And we turned towards brass town. Brutal! 26 minutes on the upper section averaging a 189 heart rate. The first half was all right. But after a long section of 20% or so it was impossible to recover. The last km. I was stopping between every pedal stroke, zigzagging across the road. I lead the whole climb 50-100 meters ahead of my teammates and pulling away until the final 500m or so when… you guessed it. Eric Pearson came up to me. I attacked hard and pulled away fast but paid for the acceleration fully. Almost having to unclip and put my foot down. He passed me and we congratulated each other at the summit for our efforts. back down. A quick stop for some food, water, coffee, any thing we cold get. We were already 4:30 into the ride with 3 climbs still to go, over 8000 feet in the legs, and barley halfway through. up Nells gap. I attacked again towards the top and again paid for it fully. I pushed hard and despite being caught by Joe and Eric my sprint won the KOM, not that we were racing. Down, and another turn to start the long gradual climb up woods gap 45 minutes or so we stayed together and Jay Baer laid down the tempo. Steady and strong. I was now paying for my attacking as we approached the 5 hr mark. Towards the top. Eric Pearson came to the front and lifted the pace. Nothing dramatic but I was in full suffer mode. Concentrating as hard as possible. Every pedal stroke prying that the top was around the next corner. The caffeinated cliff shot I tock at the start of the climb did nothing. Or did it? If it did I was worse off than I realized. Upon reaching the top I was shaking. Taking some deep breaths I fired down a cliff bar. And a few mouthfuls of sports drink. Shock out the legs and tried to relax. Everyone was suffering as much as I was. We skipped the last stop with only 1 hr to go and one climb. Wolf pen gap. Not so bad from this side it rolled upwards, slowing gaining altitude with frequent down hills until the last 5-7 minutes. I drank my special gel flask mixture that I have been working on. It kicked in fast and I started to come around. Still feeling I had more to give and show that I was still strong after a 7 hr ride and 30hr’s this week. I went to the front to set the tempo for 15’ or so leading into the last climb. As it started to bight I dug deep feeling better now. Eric P. came around to set the pace up the climb. ¾ of the way up he accelerated fearing an attack from me, he later said. There was no attacking to be had from me any more. I was able to match him for a 1 minute or so then I started to fall back. I held my pace and maintained the small gap in between us. I kicked again at the top but could not catch him. We all regrouped and road hard and steady, single file for the last 30 minutes home.
The dirt road slowed us down a lot. Descending at 15 MPH does the avg. speed no good. All in all it was a ride for the books and one we will ever forget. Sorry no teammate spotlight today. There all great guys but I’m barley keeping up with the daily reports.

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