Another picturesque and memorable stage here at the tour of beijing today. A couple of passes under the great wall and yet another perfect course for a bike race. Again there was a fair amount of challenges to blow the race to pieces but also for those with a strong set of pins the opportunity to hang in there on a mountain top finish that perhaps doesn't usually suit them so a fair course all round yet again. The stage had 6 climbs between 2-7km between the start and the base of the final 12km 6% drag up to the finish line, none of which were overly difficult but as always when the road rears upward was just a question of how hard the peleton would be pushing when we were on them. A nice small but manageable break skipped away early in the stage and our canadian cannonball GB showed his versatility by slipping into the days escape. He did a great job up the road all day showing off his condition he gained from completing his first grand tour at the vuelta espana in september and was certainly one of the strongest of the 4 being the last one caught as the peleton charged into the bottom of the final climb. Big hats of to GB as in the end he was by far the shinning light for the cannondale clan on an otherwise very uneventful day for our boys in green.
With GB up the road setting the pace for the race we all settled in behind the team of the race leader phil gil of BMC. They rode a nice controlled steady rhythm keeping the break in check but also saving the legs of there workers all day and when we crested the penultimate climb with only a flat and very fast 15km run into the final climb there was a peleton full of beans! Garmin seized the initiative and hit the afterburner's on the front and had the peleton in a long line instantly reminding us all what sore legs feel like which made positioning for the final climb all the more difficult. Krizek again did an awesome job positioning me and at the start of the climb I was in the pole position close to the front on phil gils wheel and licking my chops for one big effort to the top of the climb. Sadly this sensation didn't last long!
Unfortunately for me there were plenty of dudes in the bunch whom also had fairly fresh legs and where rairing to go at the service of the service of there climbers. The pace was absolutely franetic at the bottom with what seemed like endless lead out trains driving the pace higher and higher. This was the last thing I wanted and it meant acceleration after acceleration which I have been suffering with all week. I knew it would be fast but was hoping for a steady continuous hard I could get into my rhythm with and grit my teeth and hang on for the ride but was not to be. The ups and downs of the rapid tempo simply blew me to pieces on the lower slopes of the climb and I was shot out the back of group unceremoniously around half way up the mountain. Taking the edge of me was an absolute understatement as I wasn't even close to producing the numbers I believed I could, I was simply cooked from trying to survive the onslaught. That's the great thing about a power meter as you always have a clear reference point as to if you did or didn't meet you expectations. I have enough data to know when I was simply not strong enough like on stage 2 and today when I was simply out of juice from the rhythm of the bike race, this is very quick and easy to ascertain. I obviously need to spend a lot more time behind the car or motorbike in long periods without racing. Since my crash I have been really nervous in the group and not fighting for position as hard as I should, I little self preservation I guess. Today and this week really I got the fight back and was at all times in the right place at the right time but today the other element to being successful at this level, race conditioning left me missing the extra gears I needed. I was finally back training at my best levels in the past week which meant I was a chance here this week if the cards fell my way but in the end and deep down I know it I needed a little longer to consolidate this condition to be able to back it up in a race situation multiple days in a row. I am disappointed for sure but I gave it everything I had and this week it's just were I am at. I have come a long way since alberta my last race 1 month ago but as always I need to work very hard to be at my best and I simply ran out of time to get myself to the level I needed to be competitive here in beijing today. Anyways to be honest was a nice feeling also to simply be amongst these guys again in a big race, an experience I haven't had at all this year. I never take for granted how fortunate enough I am to be racing at this level and that's why this week I probably over estimated my ability to fight for position and race against these and not expect it to take its toll. If your going be lucky enough to race against these guys you may aswell do all you can to get amongst it as that's the only way you can possibly ever figure out how to be competitive so I am pleased I at least managed to show that again.
Anyways again big hats off to GB. He put a great ride in the break today and while I am sure it took some fuel from his tank I have no doubt It would have also given him an extra spring in his step for tomorrow's traditional bunch sprint finish outside the birds nest olympic stadium. Time for some shuteye!
Time 4hrs 10min, 157km
Elevation Gain 2700m
Ave power 240 watts
10min peak power 420watts
5min peak power 455watts
Ave heart rate 130BPM
Kcal Burnt 4000
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.