I must congratulate the giro organisers on designing such an exciting course for 2013! In all seriousness and truth you go to the start line everyday basically having no idea how the day will transpire! Nobody could ever brand this years giro predictable or boring!
Today was much the same but this time the surpize was a course change an hour before the start. The bonus was we missed the climb to sestriere however it was the decent that we were most worried about as it was snowing ontop. With the course change however came an extra 12km so not a bad trade off. The forcaste was for dreadfull conditions and at the start was only light drizzle. This was just to get us into a false sense of security as soon after rolling down the road it started pouring and would continue to do so until the final few km of the stage were it turned to snow!
It made me think during the stage that I had never experienced so many different circumstances in a race before and also such extreme conditions. The most important thing you need to think about on a day like to today is dressing properly. For me this always causes quite a period of deliberation but after having frozen to death on a couple of occassions this giro I have decided I would prefer to be too hot than too cold! So how do I dress for a raining freezing cold day! On goes an undershirt, over the top the race jersey. Arm warmers are next followed buy a neoprene rain jacket which fits tight and keeps you toasty. This is a starting point and as I get cold or too wet a simply add an extra raincoat as required. Today I took a long sleeve rain coat after an hour and a short sleeve one to go over that after about 3hrs. I would have grabbed another after 4hrs but I did not have any more in my rain bag! As I was ceremoniously dispatched from the peleton with 20km to go had no need to consider taking anything off as I would not be charging up any final climbs at threshold today.
Gloves are crucial and today I went with the neoprene dive gloves. Usually a great choice for the rain but found out that when combined with freezing cold they are like riding with you hand in a bucket of ice! Infact my hands got so cold today that I just took them off and kept them warm by waving to everyone and anyony on the side of the road! Anything to just keep them moving! This is an area I still need work on! Overshoes are easy as sidi seem to have a product for every occasion so the feet are always tickedy boo and it cap things of quite litterly with a cotton cycling cap. Again I am not convinced this should have been my weapon of choice and will look for a waterproof beenie think that also give the ears a little cover and warmth. Oh and the 3/4 leg warmers for the pins. Not totally convinced they keep you any warmer once they are soaking wet so will probably flick them next time and just enjoy rolling ice bath for the quads and calves, who knows It may be an excellent during racing in the rain recovery trick!
As far as the race goes it was a stock standard drag race to the bottom of the final climb before the GC men were let lose to do there thing. Sky again took control in the valley gradually climbing up to the climb and this dislodged more than half the field, me included with around 15km to go. Our plans were unchanged for a mountain stage keeping damiano up front and fresh and ready for the action. He had another awesome ride finishing 10th on the stage and moving up another place to 18th on gc. A place a day continues so his effort is really providing a great purpose and motivation in the group for the hard stages going forward.
I am certainly not seeing to station that's allows me to get off the pain train! From feeling lousy I have decided to focus on the positives I can and the skills I am learning basically to survive in the race are ones that will serve we very well going forward. I am learning the art of when to use the group on climbs to get over as easily as possible and certainly when to put in the efforts to charge forward in the peleton. These are areas I have certainly taken for granted this year and wasted a bucket load of energy getting to whereever in the bunch I wanted to be as I have just felt so good in all the races so far, until the giro that is! Now I basically don't have the energy so I need to use the bunch as much as I possibly can so its a very good exercise for me. When its a case of survival its amazing how inventive you can be when I comes to saving energy! Better to learn late then never hey!
So tomorrow should see more of the same, freezing cold, rain, climbs, and most likely some snow. Will give me an excellent opportunity to put into practice my survival and dressing that I have been forced to work very hard on!
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