We ventured in the mountains on stage of the giro. Normally its the type of stage I love, long, hard, and a couple of climbs to shake things up in the end. Unfortunately for me considering my health I had strict instructions to go as easily as possible today and start the recovery process. Well as best as possible whilst racing the giro d'italia! Anyways I did as told and on the final climb took it nice and easy in a back group and I am sure my body will appreciate it.
The course today was spectacular, a 200ish km journey along the amalfi coast was pretty distracting all day. It was up and down and windy and when you combine that with a fresh peleton you always get a nervous stage. Fortunately despite a number of crashes all the boys in the green cannondale colours stayed upright. I will definately come back here for a holiday and to be perfectly honest there were moments during the race that the water looked so good I considered uncliping and dropping in for a quick dip in the ocean! Anyways I refrained and kept my mind on the job, coughing and spluttering my way though 220km and finally made it to the finish.
The stage ended up having more fireworks than expected and while I did not figure in the final climb I certainly in my own way enjoyed a bit of drama along the way. The final bottle collection is always the hardest one to do, everyone is tired, the race pace is ramping up and above everyone is thirsty! As I had the day off pass and strict orders to go easy on the climb I wanted my teammates to know I was there and contribute something. I knew this bottle grab would be an absolute dog fight to get back to the front, the rd was up down and never straight and all 207 riders were in a single line due to the fact that katusha at that moment decided to turn on the gas and line out the bunch.
Basically it meant onces I was loaded up with 8 bottles for my team mates I had a 5km prologue tearing my way through the bunch absolute full bore and at all times seconds from exploding completely, spotting a gap, sprinting full gas, then repeat and repeat and repeat until I finally got my men in green who were professionally riding right at the front. As our team captain damiano caruso was the first man I found to ensure he was ready for the final climb then distributed the rest about the boys. I knew this was an important bottle drop and no less than 4 of my team mates were out of water, a clear sign on a tuff day and not exactly easy to pop back and grab a fresh bottle!
So once I had dished out the bottles to all my mates, I settled down and started drifting to the back as planned and looked forward to enjoying a nice easy final climb. At this point I reached for a bottle and realised I had given my bottle to sabatini as he also wanted a malodextrine bottle aswell as water which I had on my bike. I knew at the time it was my last bottle also but in this situation you always put your team mates first and hand over whatever you have. Unfortunately today If I ever needed a bottle while racing my bike this was the moment! I was full block of lactic acid! Sickest I can remember being on my bike and I was just wanting that satisfying moment of pouring water down my throat and relaxing for the casual stroll to the finish. But I realised I had no bottle so a moment of relief turned to desperation as all I could think of was water. I looked back for the car but we were on the climb and riders where scattered all over the place and the cars way behind. So I went without till I saw a mechanic I knew from 2010 holding bottles and this was where I realised more than ever, never burn your bridges with people in the sport!
As politely as possible asked luca who works for another team for a bottle he was holding out for his riders. Upon seeing it was me he quickly thrust the bottle infront of me and I made no fumbles with this one, I grabbed it as smoothly as gary ablett marks a football and finally that satisfying moment of cold aqua to cool me down after such a let's say trying day. Content now I settled into a nice easy group and trundled along toward the finish with a little smile on my face at my good fortune.
So while today I learnt absolutely nothing about how the race was won and lost up the front I was reminded and learnt two very valuable lessons. Firstly never ever hesitate no matter how desperate you are like I was today to put your team mates first. Its highly likely that if you have this relationship with your team mates its because you know they would also do the same for you. And second never burn your bridges, luca probably saved me and health to some extent today and I will ensure I sort him out in the morning to say thankyou. What goes around comes around could not be more applicable to my final 40km today. Cycling's professional peleton is certainly not exempt from this age old addige!
220km 5Hrs 45min
Heart rate average 135
Power Average 235
Nice easy day (ish) just what my achy sick body needed. Fingers crossed tomorrow is the same!
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