Total Distance: 130km
Total Ascent: 3900m
Key climbs: Col de Saisies, Cormet de Roselland, Montee de Courcheval
Team Stage Results
Simon: 4:26:59 – 35th
Ian: 4:27:04 – 37th
Niel: 5:09:47 – 154th
Simon: 8:16:57 – 37th
Simon: 8:17:01 – 38th
Niel: 9:26:08 – 142th
Today I realised two things. First, we are most definitely racing. Second, it got real today, seven days is not like doing a one day event. Today the pain and suffering started.
I think everyone doing the event is racing to some degree or another. Some might be racing for the podium, others a top 10. Ian and Simon are definitely racing to stay in the top 40 and get as high as they can. I’m racing to get in the top third. Some are racing each other, some are racing themselves, and some are racing to stay ahead of the broom wagon, be that by 10 minutes or 2 hours. It’s what makes this so much fun.
It’s also what makes it so tough. A lot could take their time and go round a bit slower, take our time, enjoy the scenery. But we don’t we’re pushing as hard as we can. Everyone seems to be looking to find their own limits. It’s doing two, three, seven days of that that the pain starts.
My day was painful. It was painful for two reasons. First of all I could not get going this morning. It was quite chilly and I should have put leg warmers on but didn’t. Going up the Col de Saisies I felt I was going backwards. I reached the top in 188th place so I wasn’t wrong. Then on the descent of the Col, which was absolutely stunning, it got colder. I then couldn’t get going on the Cormet de Roseland and that was a long long suffer. Again, stunning climb. Reminded me a bit of the Port de Bales, just with a lake thrown in! It was really beautiful but at close to 1200m of ascent, damn hard.
The last climb was painful because I knew I had to make up time. So I was racing :-). It was a kind of good pain though. I got into a group with a couple of different people I’ve found myself riding with a lot, Peter and Erica and about 6 others. It felt like we all gave it everything on the climb. At the end Peter and I crossed the line together after a great climb. 103 fastest on that climb so definitely better than before. I have to thank the guy from the Novo Nordisk Team who did give a mighty pull on the front for what seemed like an hour. He really set us up for it.
Finally a word about the rest of Team Hurt Route who are involved at the pointy end of things. Another storming ride saw them come in 35th and 37th. How they do it I’ve no idea. There are some very good riders on this event and they are up there with some of the really good ones. The fight between them has yet to properly kick off, however a time gap has started to appear. Either by sneaky racing on Simon’s part or Ian not paying attention, but Simon got throught the timing mat after the last neutralisation 5 seconds ahead of Ian. Of course they then finished the stage together. Simon now leads on GC by 4 seconds!
Right. I now need to go and try and sleep and not worry about tomorrow. It’s a monster. 137km, 4650m of ascent over some fearsome col’s. Oh and it’s going to rain. Full on Gabba day I think.