Epic France – Day 3

FranceDay3-1

Swim: 6km
Bike: 161km / 3,200m
Run: 8.7k
Hours: 8h36

FranceDay3-2Another very fitfull nights sleep. This time due to a very upset tummy. To put it bluntly I was peeing out my arse. Hopefully tonight I get a proper nights sleep. Feeling a lot better now.

The day started early with a run. It was nice to run, chat and see the amazing views. Then  breakfast … well no breakfast. Like yesterday it was pretty pants. I forced down a very small bit of cold toasted bread with a lot of butter and nutella on. Given my tummy last night I felt it best not to go eating too much stuff I would never have for breakie.

The ride started with 10km descending 750m. Clas punctured so we had a little wait at the bottom. Then I took the front for the first pull however it was Russ that was cranking it on the front most of the time through to the first aid station. I think everyone appreciated it. Then it was on to the first KOM of the day – Col de Vars at just over 2100m. At the stop John had said he was going to go at “Grupetto Speed” implying the pace Russ had been setting was a bit much. I decided to check whether he was true to his word thinking a few may drop off with him. I went to the front and pushed the pace. Of course he didn’t drop off so I eased up and we all got to the climb together. John did an attack but I don’t think anyone felt there’d me much too it… there wasn’t ;o) Then Zach went followed by Clas and then me. I tried to bridge but soon realised I was close to completely detonating so gave up. That initial surge had left me on the limit and I was worried I’d be caught by lots of people. Russ ground me down but I got over the top in 5th and was quite happy. Beating John was important to try and move me up the KOM standings.

Lunch was awesome – beautiful spot at the top of the climb. There were some quips about Russ being beaten by a guy with unshaved legs (Rob Palmer) to which Russ retorted that he didn’t break any wind for the first 90km. The crowd erupted. Russ had done an enormous amount of work to get us to the climb and deservedly won the green jersey for his efforts. I for one expect him to pull us all the way to Alp D’Huez to properly honour the jersey.

Following dinner we headed down the descent. I was leading the way but about halfway down I dropped my chain. It’s going to be an ongoing problem as my front derailleur was damaged in the crash. The problem is it hooks the pedal so I have to stop completely and it’s awkward to sort out. I then got stuck behind a car. So at the bottom I fully expected everyone to at least ease up and let me get on. I know in Epic Camp there’s no mercy but this didn’t match my view of fair play. I had to TT at 300+ watts for a fair old while to get back on and when I finally saw them I could see Russ had gone off the front. My thoughts at that point are probably unprintable ;o) I’ve calmed down now and my feelings at the time of I will show no one any mercy later in the camp if I get strong again on the bike have changed now to realising I would encourage the group to ease to let someone get back on.

When i caught them I went straight by and rode up to Russ at which point we slowed down and all got to the bottom of the Col D’Izoard together. I was riding angry and all day I’d felt so much stronger on the bike. I feel my bike fitness is slowly coming back. I pushed the pace straight away feeling that most people would be pretty pooped after what we’d done. I was rather surprised to see no one come with me. The climb is 14k with well over 1,000m metres ascent. Zach caught me early on and kindly tried to help me but I find no benefit in a wheel on a climb so I told him to go and boy did it go. That guy is strong. I could see Clas behind and was quite surprised how long I held him off but the inevitable happened which is good as it keeps the KOM close. I came over 3rd easily… well not completely easily as I started to cramp with 2k to go. I think after last nights “issues” I was not fully hydrated and I nearly ground to a halt. Feeling a little more confident to move up the  KOM rankings during the rest of the camp.

We’d made good time. At the top I felt no inclination to wait for anyone so I downed a couple of bottles of very salty energy drink and whizzed down to get back with 2 hours to spare to head to the pool.

I had to swim in a public session and the french are completely bonkers. Never will I complain about UK public lane swimming. Despite there being an outdoor pool and a leisure pool the fully laned indoor 25m pool was used like a fun pool. Kids bombing from the blocks, people pushing off straight in front, even a guy with his little kid in arm bands. All the while the odd swimmer with hand paddles belting up and down. The plus side is that there was no lane rage as no behaviour seemed to be interpreted as inappropriate. In the end I laughed.

It shows you how motivated I was to put up with this though after about 45 minutes it cleared a lot and was fun. Trying to cement my lead and taking the opportunity to get 6k done I did the following to secure 9 points: 200m warmup, 10 x 200 on 3:00 straight in to 20 x 100 on 1:30, 200 easy, 1k band only, 600m. I think this has put me well in the lead.

I am starting to feel strong. Swimming was great … I was cruising 2:48s and 1:23s feeling strong at the end of a long day. I felt better on the bike today than in the previous to and felt stronger at the end of the ride. All good signs that I’ll get even stronger later on the camp.

This evening was great fun with Scott on top form telling his stories. I had a couple of glasses  of red with my meal and now have half a beer to finish before bed.

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