Gap to Valoire
The GPS — An Etch-a-Sketch toy
Yesterday was a wonderful effort by Egoi. I’m just guessing that today in the team meeting that Egoi would get a chance to relax today. And he would not have to be in the breakaway today. I’d guess that Johan would give others the orders to try and get into a break today to:
A) Have team representation in the days breakaway
B) Let Egoi earn a rest day and not have to make the effort of being in the breakaway.
Again that is just a guess on my part. If it was up to me, I would give Egoi the day off from breakaways. But I am not the director.
Today, the roll of the dice in the game of bike racing game came up with Egoi’s number again. Almost immediately a breakaway was up the road and Egoi was in it. The race started on a climb and by the top the Egoi group (totaling 11 riders) had 4 minutes. And after only 6 Ks or racing. Down the back side of the climb the leaders hit the flats. Along the valley the Euskatel-Euskadi team was chasing hard. And yet again, my driving day was over. And again we stopped, took Egoi’s bike and went to the breakaway group. As we passed the front of the peloton led by Euskatel-Euskadi, I wanted to yell at them. “Why are you guys chasing” you morons? “Don’t you know that I have a rider in the breakaway and if it sticks I DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE the team car?” I wanted to ask. But my calm demeanor refrained from any of those sort of questions directed at the wankers chasing MY GUY!!
Almost as important as not having to drive is the fact that we actually get to do something. We get to feed guys in the break and actually see some of the smack that is getting thrown at each other rider as the race enters the final part. OK, the beginning of the breakaway, all the guys are happy to work with each other. But every guy wants to win and many want to do it solo or in a smaller group. Thus the smack down as the end of the stage nears.
Today had many hard climbs. Starting with the Col Bayard (Cat 2 climb — 6.5k @ 7.2%), then the Cote du Motty (Cat 4, 3.5k, 6,5%), the Col D’Ornon (Cat 2, 9k, 4.5%), the Col de la Coix de Fer (Hors Cat or Above Category, 24k, 6%), the Col du Mollard (Cat 2, 6k, 7%), the Cote du Bochet (Cat 4, 1.5k 7%) and finally the Col du Telegraphe (Cat 1, 12k, 7%). What a bitch of a day in the saddle.
Many of the climbs are nasty. But some of the descents are the wildest roller coaster rides you have ever taken. But the descent off the Col du Mollard was one of the craziest I have ever experienced. For more than 16 Ks it was a twisty descent that never stopped. We have a GPS built into our Scoda cars. I usually program in it the hotels to get there after the stage. And I also program the directions to the starts to get there before the race if I am separated from the rest of the team cars. But today I turned off the driving directions and put it on map mode. Trying to do this as Eki was pretending to be Michael Shumacher down the hill. I was thrown about trying to lean from the back seat to change the GPS in the center dash console. Not an easy task. But I wanted to see what lies ahead of us on the down hill. The Scoda’s GPS looked like a 5 year old kid playing with an Etch-a-Sketch toy. The downhill had few sections that were more than 200 m before a hair pin turn. It was hair pin turn and hair pin turn one after another the whole way down. My tool box was flying all over the back seat as I tried to relax and enjoy the E-ticket ride. Crazy but fun.