Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stage 3 Complete

I felt great a the start of the stage. I have always been concerned about riding 85 miles then resting in a cramped car for five hours and jumping back on the bike for a 99 mile ride which just happened to have one of the longest and steeps climbs on it. I figured I would be as stiff as a board, but in Torna I jumped on the bike a tad before 6pm and was ride strong right out of the gate. I have to thanks Tim my crew chief for feeding me on stage one and keeping me on my eating and drinking schedule.

Again I had favorable tailwinds and set a blistering pace but remaining in my power range. This stage I was picking off many racers and overtaking them quickly, If it wasn't for the power meter I would have thought I pushing to hard but my numbers were looking good.

The main climb up Towne Pass was inspiring. Seeing the hazard lights wind there way up the 5000 foot 10 mile climb looked cool and daunting at the same time. Again I was picking off racers and the winds where very tough on my shoulders and back. I should have gone and trained in the Midland, Texas winds to be prepared for these conditions. My shoulders where burning trying to keeping the bike going straight. I never just got to settle into a climbing rhythm and just pump out a steady tempo.

At the summit it was a windy and brisk 57 degrees. I changed lights for the decent and put on arm, knee warmers, a vest and full gloves. The decent was pretty hairy. I managed to get to 60 mph and dropped my support crew for a short time. The cool thing about descending that fast in the dark is that I would have never have know what hit me if something actually happened. But when the crew caught back up to me they where able to help shed some light on the rolling terrain. Once we dropped below 2000 ft it jumped 20 degrees heading into Death Valley. So flying down the hill I shed all my extra clothes and then at sea level the race changed. The winds where diabolical at 25+ with nasty gust. At the being of this windy section I keep saying well at least it not a bad as my Hawaii Ironman bike leg, but eventually I said "this is way worst".

The last 15 miles I was going 1-9 mph on a 2% down hill grade. I still manage to pick a few people off and was eventually passed by a recumbent bike. I was demoralized seeing a bike 6 inches off the ground escape the wind. All in all it was the still the best day on a bike.

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