Jul 10, 2006

54sec down to start, 26 up to finish. Stage 5

10miles Up Reddish. That was timed section #1. Keefer was looking to crush, and I was already down 54sec. A new group of young roadies were looking to make the pain stoopid! Oh well I hung on as long as I could and eventually lost 1.20min to the Keefer with Sam taking a 2ndplace. At the top Keefer talks about the ineveitable downhill drag race that was to be the second time section. This section rolls off the back of Redish then decends a rutted gravel/dirt forest road for about 6 miles. A section that can make or break your GC contention. I knew Keefer was going to go easy and avoid flats, so I decided to get out front, choose my lines carefully and let it hang out as much as possible. Nothing is quite as much fun as decending switchback gravel roads at 25-35mph on sissy roadbikes, dualwheel sliding the corners and questioning your sanity all the way down.
Ralph was the only one in front of me and when we hit the bottom we still had about 12miles of a slight gravel decent with a 3 mile paved section of rollers at the end. All excited about being first to the bottom and the potential of rolling one of the funnest gravel road sections together we took off, with me doing the first pull. Everything was okay till Ralph came around and got a little to excited. He sort of hit the gas and his rear wheel was bouncing all over the place. I backed off and waited, hoping the inevitable wouldn't happen. Then I saw his seat bag was open and everything was falling out. I reached for my tube for reassurance, and about that time he cased the back wheel. As I rode by I threw him my only tube and CO2 hoping karma would be on my side. Praying I could get off the gravel before a flat caught me I kept a 25-30mph pace and finally hit the pavement and knew I only had about 6 good rollers in front of me. At the tope of the second and longest one I looked at the bottom and saw 4 chasers working together.
in an effort to make myself vomit I Kept it in the big ring for the rest of the Pave' and rolled in just over a minute ahead of them and everyone else. More importantly I put almost 3min on Keefer and ended the day back in the yellow 26sec up.
Time for some Fireworks!

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