Pretty quiet day here for me today at the tour of colorado. After all the excitement of yesterday's stage I was greeted with the harsh reality of the efforts made to chase down jensie and my pins where far from happy with as the flagged dropped and stage 5 got underway. Today's stage was tailor-made for a breakaway to skip away and contest the stage win and that's exactly what happened. My versatile himself christiano salerno flew the green machine flag nice and hi and was one of the brave men to be in the escape. Just to make today's breakaway was a huge achievement in itself and it was until 55km and more than an hour of racing that the 10men finally were let loose. I think at this point the entire peleton was relieved after the flat out start and nobody was interested in trying to pull them back and as a result this was the last we would see of them all day.
Back in the group I relished the opportunity to try and recharge the batteries. Yesterday's result emphatically showed that Elia is our best chance of glory here this week so with another sprint opportunity on sunday in Denver we will need all the mumbo jumbo we can muster! With this in mind we all rallied around elia and each other in the bunch and saved as much fuel as possible. While the race situation was perfect for us with christiano up the road us taking it easy in the bunch, the rockies weather variability had returned!! Around half way through the stage the cloudy sky's decided to open up and dump bucket loads of ice water on us quite literally sending shivers through the bunch! To add to this we had wind coming from what seemed like every which way and it was utterly miserable. I don't recall seeing any smiling faces for the final couple of hours of the stage! Anyways off course we rolled along and with a nasty 5km climb in the final 20km those of us looking for a quiet day knew that this was the point at which we could turn the engine down to an idle and putter home at our leisure. Of course the climb sparked the GC riders into action to try and unsettle each other ahead of tomorrow's TT but in the end the breakaway was well clear and would inevitably decide the race winner. With the final 20km all above 3000m elevation I have to put a badge of honor of the chest of those brave soles who battled it out for the stage win. After hours in the freezing cold and rain to lay it all on the line when you have no oxygen takes a serious set of swingers so hats of to all the breakaway men and off course the days winner Didier from the trek team.
With the rain and cold there are quite a few things that make the day difficult. Firstly it's raining and cold so you hard pressed finding anyone on the planet that enjoys this feeling. Secondly you are constantly contemplating how many layers and which type of rain coat you would like to wear. This is more complex than it sounds as personally for example I carry no less than 6 rain coats. A short and long sleeve spray jacket, a waterproof gortex rain jacket, a lightweight & heavyweight neoprene jacket and a an additional light wind vest for cold decents. As conditions change so to does you garment requirements but unfortunately as conditions deteriorate and in today's case so rapidly, it's no so easy to go back to the car and put on a rain coat in the wind and freezing rain. Your hands are often numb and it's requiring all your energy just to stay in the peleton so you are faced with the dilemma of do I get cold and stay in the group or do I take the gamble and go and get more cloths and risk getting dropped!! Yep today was one of those days. In the end I went back to the car for additional layers and stopped on the side of the road, put on my warm jacket and was immediately feeling much better about the world! Elia did the same so I paced him back to group and while it was a rather long chase back on between the cars it was certainly worth it to be warm, well relatively speaking anyways, we at least were no longer shivering! Oh and the other great thing about the freezing cold rain is that eating becomes so difficult. Firstly water and god know what else is flying up in your face and in your mouth and as a result you don't feel hungry. You better however and know you need to eat but your fingers are frosen!! Add the fact you have 1 or 2 layers of rain coats now covering you jersey pockets containing your food and all of a sudden eating become just too hard! Infact even if you did manage to fish around and grab an energy bar or gell from your back pocket there is a high probability your numb hands will drop it before it gets anywhere near your mouth! Manage to avoid dropping and then you are still faced with dilemma of trying to open it!! Oh it just seems all to much so that's a reason while on rainy days I always carry bottles with sugar and then just hope I will have enough fuel to get to the finish line! Today I had certainly burnt through the vapors by the time I dordolled through the finish line but fortunately there was a long decent to the finish! Yep today was almost a nice relaxing day but thanks to the variability which I guess is also the beauty of the rockies, today's turned into yet another tour of colorado memorable adventure.
TT tomorrow so looking forward to that, only need to suffer for around 30minutes!!