The picture is of me on Annettes bike, god knows how many sizes too small, having got over todays big climb on it.
I’ve had every emotion today and got pretty close to losing my sense of humour luckily only Jo got to experience this (sorry Jo) when I was unable to get the plug to stay down in our hotel room… it was the final straw. All I wanted to do was wash my FiveFingers… A little bit of abuse hurled at that poor defenseless plug went a small way to shaking my mood.
Things started well with me sitting in on the ride. Dropped back to pull Jo back to the bunch after she’d dropped her chain and then did a pretty full on pull to bring Rob back to the group after he punctured. Pretty pleased with that pull as I didn’t think I’d be able to get us back on. I was feeling super strong and was psyched up for the KOM. It was long and steady and I felt ideal for me. At the mandatory stop before the climb I ditched my surplus water and lightened the load with a visit to the loo. I was in my small chainring ready for action.
As expected Scott took a flyer (just like last year) and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. I tried to spin out in my small ring but couldn’t keep up so (stupidly) tried to move into my big chainring whilst pedaling hard. The chain dropped off onto the pedal. Clas gave me a push to keep momentum as I tried to get it back on – normally you can when it comes off like that. Nick came by and pointed out I had a double kink in it. I had to stop. Took a while to unkink it but I felt I could move up through the field. I must admit that the first thing that I thought was that this doesn’t seem to be tour rules – i.e. if the yellow gets a mechanical then you stop. No mercy on Epic Camp. My thought at that point was just wait till the south Island I’ll rip everyones legs off (I’ve calmed a little from then). Also thought if I lose the yellow because of a mechanical during the flat 100m before the 8k climb it would be a rather shallow victory.
Though not bothered about the KOM itself I just wanted to maintain my 3rd place spot for when it drops into the GC as a double major. At the moment it would move me further ahead of the competition. I felt I could still move far enough through to score well.
Back on the bike the chain kept jumping two cogs up whenever I put pressure on and in the biggest cog I could hear it hitting the wheel. Stopped took a look and could see that the chain was badly bent and twisted. BUGGER ! Shit this could mean I can’t complete todays ride and thus won’t have ridden the country.
Luckily the camera crew stopped and Annette offer me her chain. Decided against that as too time consuming and risky to change. She then offered me her bike … now this is small. Decided that was the best bet. Struggle putting the back wheel in as her chain has double kinks in it as well. Super careful fixing that. Change pedals. First pedal off … second pedal completely jammed. So change the cleat. Set off on tiny bike, with Shimano gears (I use campag) and the foot I normally unclip in an unfamiliar pedal type.
Progress a little and realise it’s impossible with the aero bars as I’m knocking my knees. Stopp. Take those off. Back on. Probably one of the scarier rides I’ve had. Strong wind, small unfamiliar bike thats hard to handle, lots of traffic close and having to sit during any major gusts.
My little moment of personal time was filled with so many thoughts
- “You stupid bloody idiot – pilot error dropping the chain and even more stupid not to just relax and fix it calmly. Those few seconds would not have mattered”
- “I might have stuffed my Record derailleur which I can hardly afford to replace”
- “Gutted that I’m not in there competing for the KOM. This got worse and worse as I climbed and realised it was my sort of climb”
- “Gutted that this could have a bearing on the Yellow. Going from a position where the KOM would increase my lead in the GC to it costing me perhaps 3 or more points”
- “Happiness as I was on a bike riding and would complete the day”
At the top I luckily checked the brakes as the rear had the quick release open and even after fixing that it still wasn’t much cop so I tightened it. The decent wasn’t the most pleasant and then finding we had such a long ride in to town was torture.
As we set off from the aid station the group fragmented up the hill I pushed one wanting to be second wheel behind David (who was leading us in) as that would be the easiest for me. Over the next few KM i struggled and everyone passed me in dribs and drabs. Not one person stopped to offer me a wheel. I must admit I was not impressed. That day alone I’d dropped back to give someone a wheel to be pulled back to the group on two occasions. It wasn’t till Clas came through last that there was someone offering support.
I was then stuck at the back of the peloton and having to deal with all the accelerations on a bike way way too small for me wondering what damage I was doing to myself. When trying to keep the group together in previous days Gordo, Clas and I have tended to have a strong person on the front and the others on the back. In this group there was none of this. Eventually I thought bugger this for a game of soldiers and when the opportunity arose I rode by and Petro kindly offered me second wheel. Once there I was sweet and managed to hold Craig’s wheel nicely all the way home.
At the start of the day I’d decided that I should do minimal running as my foot had been aching right through the night. But now my gut reaction was to tack on a 10k. Last night I’d had the time and inclination to tack on a 10k but decided to rest my foot (my new relaxed approach for you). I was regretting that decision now. There was time to tack on but luckily after the swim Gordo got the Blueberry muffins in I started feeling social and sensible and decided that if needs be next week I’ll crank out the runs to make up for any loss this has caused.
I got a lot out of my system in the swim. Did 6k including 20 x 100m on 1:30 for 2 points. Just a banker really as the hope is to complete 20 x 100m on 1:20 at some point (wind assisted). Then did a nice set Gordo came up with which helped pass the time. For those that are interested:
24 x 100 as 1 on 1:40, 1 on 1:35, 1 on 1:30, 1 on 1:25 2 on 1:40, 2 on 1:35, 2 on 1:30, 2 on 1:25 3 on 1:40, 3 on 1:35, 3 on 1:30, 3 on 1:25
Gordo kindly lead it. nice to have a draft.
Funny I’d been so looking forward to tomorrow and a nice relaxed day with no pressure for points where we can all just be social but todays events have rather dampened my spirits.