Friday, May 20, 2016

Tour of California 2016 - Stage 6

Boy I am getting tired of waking up at 5am.   I am not sure what is making me more tired, the riding or the constant travel from hotel to start and from start to hotel.  This morning the transfer was 2 hours to Folsom for the time trail stage and for us a rest day and a chance to wander around the expo and do a little shopping.

At breakfast one of the coaches came up to me and said he had been thinking about the crash and that I must feel really bad.  He impressed on me that it just happened and to let it go.  It was just one of those things.  I really appreciated the thought and thanked him.  It did however resurface some emotions I thought I had let go of.

In town and in our kit we rode to the start line.  The amateur race was delayed by 15 minutes holding up our start time.  Once all the riders were away I got the chance to roll down the starting ramp and onto the circuit, that was very cool but my mood was a little somber.  I fully intended to just roll the course and completely rest so when the CTS train came by in pairs and I jumped on the back.

We started to do turns and before long the pace was lifted a little by a few riders caught up in the moment.  5K in and we turned into a strong head wind and the ride started to get harder.  I was beginning to regret jumping on.  Tucked in behind the rider in font I started to shelter to the right due to the cross wind when the rider next to me started telling me to move over.  I was neither interested or able to enter into a debate.  My inner voice was screaming WTF through.  We had an entire closed circuit to stager as needed and here's this guy telling me to move over.  We were not racing so I kept my inner feelings in check and moved over.  Then the riders in front peeled off and we took up the pace.  Almost instantly he lifted the pace and started half wheeling me and staggering the pace line.  He then waved me forward wanting me to go faster.  I let him know he could lift the pace if he wanted but I was not.  He then dropped back to lecture me on being a team and working together, at which point my inner voice became my outer voice and I told him to "Shut Up", he continued to try to lecture me at 22 mph into a vicious head wind with everyone riding behind.  I had to repeat "Shut Up" a few time before he got the message.  He then accelerated pass me shattering the formation on the road, so much for team work I thought. 

Really I was not trying to be mean, I just did not have the mental faculties to deal with all the variables going on, maintain the pace and try to be polite.  I checked in after the ride to make sure we were good and clear the air.

Back to the ride.  4 coaches moved to the front and the pace changed from tempo to sustained.  I slid onto a wheel as the formation went from pairs to a pace line.  We were now moving at 30mph with a police escort and fully time trialing, so much for the gentle spin.  I gritted my teeth and felt my legs burn as we flew past the 10k to go sign.  I looked back and there were only 5 of us left, all coaches and maybe one other athlete.  I got my heart rate under control by sliding back to let a rider in front of me so I could recover a little.  I then mixed it up with them taking turns on the front as we tore up the last 5k and I finished with a big smile on my face.  I was not what I planned but it was fun and I was inwardly pleased my body responded so well after feeling so crappy at the 10k mark.

The ride over we had time to look around and hang out in the VIP area.  Noise was made about a tour of the Hincapie team bus but that did not transpire.  Not sure what happened but we ended up back at the vans for the 2 hour transfer to Santa Rosa.  We arrived before our rooms were ready and given the option to hang out either in the lobby or by the pool.  I opted for the pool as they had loungers and before long I fell asleep.   I was woken and told my room was ready.  I caught up with Bill Walton before heading to my room.  He is having an awesome time and seeing him riding is an inspiration.

After cleaning up, preparing for tomorrow and dressing my wounds I headed down to dinner.  The idea of eating with the teams sounded great but it is really just a bunch of guys who you don't get to meet or talk with and they are not all there so it is hit or miss who you might see.  Tonight Tom Boonen was in the hall.

Tomorrow is our last big day of climbing so until then here are a few pictures of the day:

New Wiggins Mod Helmet

Remember to keep it Rubber Side Down and MaxLifeOut

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