Friday, July 5, 2013
Well, first the bad news. Can you believe that the tour is already 1/3rd over? Didn't it JUST start?
Lots of drama as surprise thus far this year, there's no debating that. Crashes galore as usual, but I think the thing most surprising (so far) was during Stage 6. It's the first time in my memory of a pro race with NO breakaway (I don't count the one guy...he gave it a go and not ONE other rider would go with him. It was just crazy! Sure, they're going to get caught...but just ask Jan on Radio Shack if HIS breakaway was worth it? SOMETIMES they don't get caught...and you can't guess which times that will be. Maybe with all that crosswind, a good break with 6 or 7 unknown guys all working together all the way, it could have gone the distance. But now we'll never know.
Certainly the crashes have featured heavily...lots of beat up riders trying to survive on off the back. I must say the teams have all done an admirable job of hiding their GC guys thus far…Froome, Evans, Contador, Schleck, Ryder (cuz I can't spell his last name)…and then poor CVV and his crash…on his LAST TDF…I was really hoping he could just stay upright this year thru to the end….there’s just so many guys riding hurt…I thought sure it was his collar bone when they were helping scoot him off to the side of the road...but then a few minutes later he's up and riding..I thought sure he was gone. And then there's poor Ted Kind…yeah, yeah..it's the TDF and they have rules, blah blah blah...I can’t BELIEVE they didn’t grant him a pass on 7 FREAKING SECONDS after the TTT…I mean, come ON....he rode the entire thing solo…he could have just stopped or abandoned at the start...but no, he soldiered thru in pain for the entire agonizing distance (at a pretty fast pace mind you). If that isn’t a show of bravery and defiance worthy of allowing him a one-time gift and letting him stay in the race, I don’t know what is. I certainly don’t agree with the decision to eliminate him…I think that was pathetic judgment from whoever is in charge of that...just my 2 cents worth...it's actually worth far less than that sadly.
I haven't seen today's stage yet (7)...just got home from work a bit ago..it was a rather quiet day (seems like there were maybe 15 of us from the typical 100 or so in my main office area...I just didn't want to burn a vacation or sick day...I had stuff to do and it was a good day for it...nobody was bothering me. ANYWAY...tomorrow we hit some MOUNTAINS...ta-DA!!! FINALLY!!! Sure, the flat stages are important, yada yada yada...what can I say...I live for the mountains. And quite honeslty, in person I detest the flat stuff...in the big scheme of things I'm an OK climber, but I'm quite pathetic on the flats/rollers, and seems like EVERYBODY descends faster than me....so the climbs are the only thing I've got going for me! The longer and steeper the better (up to a point anyway)
Anyway....I'm assuming today's stage will be another bunch sprint....maybe their last for a while as the mountains will shed the sprinters like a duck sheds water... and we can finally see the GC hopeful’s come out of the woodwork to play. We'll also get to see how the GC guy's teams stack up in the mountains.
Hopefully everybody had a safe and wonderful 4th of July. My brother Greg sent me a link this morning of the big fireworks display in Simi Valley (his hometown) last night that went awry. The professional display started and just a few big booms after it began something went terribly wrong, and one of the big stands tipped over, firing the big mortars INTO the crowd of around 10,000. There were no deaths, but there are some severely injured and LOTS of lesser injuries...mostly from shrapnel and burns (imagine that!). Nobody he knows was there thankfully...it sounds like it was a real terrifying ordeal...there was some video and it looked horrible....those big mortars shooting their load parallel to the ground into the crowd...explosions everywhere...that would be SO frightening! It's just amazing nobody was killed.
OK. Summer is FINALLY upon us. Yesterday (the 4th) I had my first HOT ride of the year. I'd forgotten how bad HOT can be, and went for my solo Tepesquet ride, thinking "really...how bad can it be?". Turns out pretty bad. I have no idea how hot it was (my Garmin 705 doesn't have temperature, though I wish it did)...but as I descended over the top of Tepesquet into the Cayuma valley it felt like I was suddenly riding into a giant hair-dryer. I got to my half-way turnaround point down at Rt 166 and stopped....briefly. It was HOT, with the heat just radiating off the blacktop, standing there was horribly uncomfortable...so I kept going just to get some tiny shred of breeze. I hit the base of the climb and knew I was in trouble....I typically do this ride with just 2 bottles of water. As I climbed I sprinted from small shade-spot to shade spot (sprinting meant I upped my speed from around 7.1mph to 7.2mph as I CRAWLED up the mountain in my granny just trying to keep the bike moving). I finished the 2nd bottle on the climb back up to the saddle, figuring I only had about 7.5 miles of downhill and could refill at the winery....(my usual spot for hot days water).
WELL...they were CLOSED! I hadn't counted on that at ALL....and I was totally out of water! I altered my route to cut a few miles off and take me past a small deli/market in the town of Garey...praying it would be open (if not I'd be knocking on somebody's door). IT WAS!! I was toast when I got there (the temps were much cooler on that side of the mountain, however the stupid WIND was howling...and I was about as wasted as I've been in a LONG time....holding 15mph into the wind on a 2 to 3% downhill grade was very sad. I chugged the first of the 2 bottles I bought...the 2nd went into my bottle cage for the remaining 9 miles home. The lady who sold them to me said she lives over in Cayuma...and yesterday (the 3rd) it was 120 at her house.... the hottest she's ever seen it (and she's been there over 10 years). I know it wasn't THAT hot when I was climbing (it was only 11am thankfully) but it was surely around 100 or more. I'll certainly remember that one for a while and choose my routes more carefully for the remainder of the summer...(at least until I get a little bit acclimated to the heat). The first hot ride is the hardest.
But I survived...on to the WEEKEND!
Make it count!