Saturday, October 24, 2015

2015 Crocodile Trophy Stage 8

The penultimate stage, a mostly flat 108 kilometres on dirt roads through the rain forest. Like every night here I slept well in the tent, got nine hours of sleep and woke hungry for breakfast. As stage races go along, at times it gets more difficult to eat at breakfast - not so here. I’m not a fan of all the pasta and white bread that is served but man, the eggs make up for it.

As there were no serious climbs to split up the race the first 30 kilometres was fast and a little more like a road race on dirt trails - mostly non-technical but at times on jeep tracks things were tight and you really had to trust the wheel in front. 

As we arrived at the first feedzone there were about 20-25 riders in the front group. I was prepared not to stop if needs be but thankfully the herd decided a watering hole was good (the next one was 71km into the race). I grabbed my bottles from Ken and started to head to the road crossing. This is were things get annoying - as we all moved towards the crossing (you have to dismount and walk) the first few riders that got there got across but the rest of the group was held as there were cars coming. Safety first etc… BUT you should either stop the traffic and let the riders cross OR make sure the group leaves in the same group it arrived in 10 meters earlier. The riders that did make it rode full gas and there was panic stations - 2nd and 4th on GC missed it but they (just about) had the legs to get across after a long chase - I’m not at their level, but I am a guy that should be nipping at their heals. The rest of us didn’t make it. This is a UCI S1 race and the main split of the day occurred due to some arbitrary cars in the middle of nowhere.

River crossing - was waist deep
After some chasing a group of seven formed and we rode pretty well together - I had hopped that there would be a stall at the front and we may get back on so was happy to drive the pace a little (another racing lesson, don’t give up). On the only real climb of the day seven become three and we kept at it. I got a split of two minutes to a group of five but I seemed to be the only one interested in racing. Vincent (who passed me on GC the day my cable snapped) was concerned with protecting his 10th place on GC rather than try and get a better placing. Frustrated, I did most of the riding for the final 40 kilometres finishing up the day in 10th.

I have been feeling good, eating well and sleeping like a baby but sometimes things just don’t work out. One last stage to finish the race out - a 30km TT made up of 15km rolling, then a 4km steep descent finished off with a sprint along the beach. Should be less than an hour

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