At 6:15 am I joined the rest of the team at the team bus to pickup water bottles and pump up my tires. Everything was dialed in and the team was there to look after us and wish us luck. At 6:50 am we rolled to the start line with 200 hundred of our newest friends, ready for the start of stage 1.
At 7 am the neutral roll out started with a police escort through Boulder. It was a chance to settle in and get ready for the stage ahead. For those of you that are not familiar with the event it is not a point to point race. Each stage has a number of timed sections and the GC (general classification) is taken based on the time sections alone. This means that after the timed sections you are able to stop to re-fuel at the feed stations before riding to the next timed segment.
Stage 1 timed sections:
1: Lefthand Canyon climb starting at mile 8.2 and 3134 ft.
2: Timed decent starting at mile 23.3
3: Dirt road timed section starting at mile 50.5
With the overall profile for the day looking like the following:
At the start of the climb the group exploded and I settled into a tempo whilst watching both my heart rate and power, both of which I had no reference for due to the change in altitude. My goal being to rely on perceived effort in relation to the numbers. I tapped out a steady tempo and started to work my way back up the field. I caught and pasted the bulk of the team and continued on. I could see the next group ahead and slowly rode up to them. with about 14K to go (I had to switch to metric so I could use the race queue sticker provided) I caught the group and tagged on. The grade was not steep enough to negate drafting and I was beginning to tire although I still felt good so I worked with the group. I kicked with 4K to go and that was a mistake, I was not able to maintain the same level of power and the group came back and passed me as I worked to get out of the red zone.
Just after the timed section was the feed station and we pulled over to take on more water and food. I did not know it then but I had also failed to take on enough fluid during the climb. I would discover that mistake in time section 3. As a team we rolled out to start the decent with Phil and Dan leading the charge. We tore down the hill as a group. I had not anticipated the small little incline before the end of the section and lost a little time. From there it was on to the next feed station to prepare for the final dirt road flat timed section.
This is where my earlier mistake kicked in, I could feel my legs beginning to cramp. It was not the best feeling in the world but I was able to sit in with the group as we raced across the hard pack dirt. Right an the end two of the team came by and I jumped on for a perfect lead out to the final line of the day. From there we rolled into the last feed station then rode out the last 12k of the day back to the hotel.
Whilst out on the course Sarah was tracking me remotely via the Haute Route site and I received text's om my Garmin informing me of my age group position. I was very happy with the results for the day, 5th in my age group and 22nd overall.
Once back at the hotel the order was lunch, nap, massage. Thank the stars for Tina the Team Type 1 masseuse looking after me. She put me back together ready for action tomorrow.
After a short nap we headed over to the rider briefing for tomorrow. Both the stage and the weather look tough for tomorrow so after dinner at the hotel it is time to rest and recover for Stage 2.
If you are enjoying these posts please think about a small donation to Team Type 1, the official charity partner for the Haute Route by visiting my fundraising page, no amount is too small.