As I write this, we are attempting to drive down the mountain we just climbed up by bike–in the bus, in a traffic jam. Lovely!
It’s not too bad actually…now that I found my phone that had wedged itself in the seat. Not having my phone was causing me much distress as I was worried I would be unable to write this blog! I’ve been receiving so many nice comments on it that I didn’t want to leave any of you hanging!
So anyways. Today was nice. I am learning that an ‘easy’ day here equates to a fairly hard training day if I were to do it on my own. Any day I burn over 4100 calories is a pretty big day of training for me! Here, it is recovery.
Ahh, we are off the climb now. Goodie goodie gum drops.
Where was I?
Oh yeah. So, today started quite hard, straight up a 5km 3rd category climb. I had found my legs yesterday, however, and had no problem with the pace. It wasn’t easy-breezy-beautiful-covergirl, but it wasn’t all that difficult either. If you had told me a couple weeks ago that 9 days into a grand tour I would be feeling better than I have felt all year I may have slapped you for your silly talk.
Wow, I keep getting really distracted.
The break went easily after the climb as the road narrowed and the peloton was able to block it off to any other riders who wished to follow the attacks. For the next 100 or so km, we just rolled. Nobody was nervous, everybody was chatty–it was very nice. The breakaway got up to ten minutes and as we approached the feed zone, over the radio we learned that there may be some crosswinds in a couple km. The nervousness in the pack rose as it became apparent that everybody else had learned this little tid-bit. I always enjoy a good crosswind section, it is one of those times in a race where you can scream and yell, push and shove, fight for wheels etc. Yes, I enjoy that. While it wasn’t that intense at all today…the adrenaline did start flowing for a bit and I got to fight for some wheels.
Nothing came of the crosswinds and soon enough we were back into a headwind. Karsten Kroon had been taking care of me all day, keeping me out of the wind and such. I pride myself on being very good at following his squirrely Dutch figure through a pack of 200 riders, so I had fun with that as we all geared up for the big finishing climb to Sierra De Béhar. La Covatilla. Yes, that is really what it is called, with the period in there and everything!
My plan of the day was purely to save energy. As we hit a couple rollers before the climb I was still feeling good and chilled in the pack until the base of the climb where I pulled the plug and waited for a grupetto that had already been dropped with Cancellara and Kittel.
From the base, we made our way slowly up the mountain. We waved at cute girls and threw our finished bottles to kids. With sections of 10-13% the climb was still not exactly enjoyable but soon enough the finish was in sight.
Tomorrow is the TT. While it is a bit longer than I would like (47km), I have been feeling great these past few days and will give it all I’ve got.
Until then, it has been real. Thanks for reading