Another pretty quiet day for me here in stage 5. With a sprint highly likely it was another great opportunity to do as little as possible and continue on my road to full recovery. Fortunately the day worked out perfectly with one of our members of the viviani's green locomotive, alan maranga marangoni jumping in the early breakaway and putting all the pressure on the teams to do the chasing. That meant our focus switched to elia and keeping him as fresh as possible for the hard but not difficult final 15km which included a few short climbs for him to survive through.
The only glitch in what would normally be an easy relaxing day and straigh forward sprint was firstly cross winds and secondly rain. That meant a whole day riding at the front or atleast close to it and staying alert. When the rain came down I rode next to the teams working on the front to bring back maranga the motorbike and keep elia and caruso up front out of danger and most importantly protected from the wind. Basically doing this work is exactly like riding on the front but 10-20 behind as you don't want to contribute to any pace making, just ride there pace and keep your men safe and sound. So its pretty thankless work as when you ride on the front firstly you are generally getting a rest every km or so while other team's riders contribute to the pace making and secondly there is an exciting adrenaline boost you get when you know you are towing along 200 other blokes and chasing the rabbits up the rd!
So anyways I did this for around an hour so a day without fatigue was now a day with a little fatigue and again now that I was a little tired the race kicked of in earnest within the final 20km with the challenging little climb between us and the finish. I ensured elia and damiano were up front then started my daily drift back through the bunch as atleast from behind if they have any dramas I can quickly see and help them out.
I had no intention on pushing hard again so if I could not stay up front easily I simply trundled along at my own pace. I spotted cavendish and decided I would role along with him and if he happened to be in the front after the climbs then I would be there too and if not I would enjoy a nice final 10km cool down to the finish. As I panned out cav was dropped on a climb and while we almost regained contact at about 7km his team surrendered and so did I and has a nice 15min cool down to spin out the time at the front and rain in the legs. In the end it was not cannondales day in the finale with both elia and caruso caught up in the crash and not having a chance to stretch there legs in anger. Tomorrow should be another sprint so elia will get another chance and I will get another quiet day to recover some more. I am almost right, just a little congestion and annoying cough so won't be long now ans I will be able to happily board the pain train again!
Todays stressful stage reminded me of a couple of little habits I have on these such days. Firstly and not only on stressful days but everyday I always carry enough food for the entire race. A couple of reasons. Firstly I like to know I won't ever go hungry! Foods very important to me. And secondly the feed zone is quite a stressful section of rd with team staff attempting to hand out feed bags to a bunch of tired, hungry, and often grumpy riders! Also feed zones tend to mark the middle of each stage and generally prior to the feed zone one way or another the race is reasonably controlled. Once everyone has some fresh bottles and a belly and pockets full of fuel the race generally cranks up immediately and its on for young and old. For this reason by carrying all my food it is not urgent for me to take my bag. Infact I will only take it if the group is going nice and easy or I am in a good position to grab it. There are often crashes with bottles, bags, food, and riders flying every which way and I often use it as a great opportunity to move right up to the front while everyone else is sorting through there feed bags for there little can of coke, gell and favourite energy bar. So a day like today where the pace is high due to motor bike marunga up in the breakaway and stress of crosswinds is one where my little habbit really pays dividends as I did not need to grab my bag if I did not want to. As it turned out we slowed up and I was able to grab the bag easily from my forward position, grabbed out the bottles, put an extra one in my back pocket for a team mate if required and a can of coke in the other pocket. Now I was face with another dilemma! We were rocketing along and I wanted to drink my coke but I don't dare take my hands off the bars in these circumstances. I finally found a moment that seemed great time to snap it open and slam it down and after only one glorious mouthful a speed hump appeared infront of me and I had no choice to abort the mission and toss the coke and grab hold of my handlebars! Another little reminder to me of how unpredictable and sometimes frustrating the whole feed zone process can be! Suffice to say I want be changing my habit of always carrying a little extra just to be on the safe side. My motto is I carry it all in training so may aswell do it in the race!
Race data today
205km 4hrs 45min
210watt average 115average heart rate
Max power 1100 watts
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