Tuesday, July 14, 2009

L'epic avec JG, musings de la musette-Stage 6

Ok so by this time you know that the race is over and you very well know the outcome. And so do I! But for the sake of blogging each day’s race I am going to tell you a tale. A tale about the last stage, the 6th stage, the finale, the grand horrah…

Get ready for a real nail biter folks, this stage was quite a doozy, I mean talk about an edge of your seat thriller…oh who am I kidding? Ha! I imagine you’ve all been more intrigued by the nightly news reports on Michael Jackson! I admit to getting sucked into them too! Weird. So the thing about stage racing is that it’s usually not that different from day to day. If you are not there and in it, really in it then it is hard to convey what the sensations feel like, the sounds sound like and the scenery looks like. I appreciate you indulgence☺

Which is precisely why the Tour de France has been pretty dang fun to watch lately. The early flat days usually result in a bunch gallop at the end of a rather mundane ride over numbered kilometers, but lately there have been daily shake-ups that are cool. I’m a bit behind on the last few days since I’m no longer in paradise and sadly in existence without Versus, but the stages that I saw while recovering on the couch during my own stage race were really great. The race for GC changed minimally in theses days but the pursuit to the “Arrivé” was always gripping. I’d like to think this as similar to my own Epic experiences. Despite having what appeared to be a comfortable lead over second place, each day, in my mind, was nerve racking and stressful. My heart BPM’s revved like REM at the “Départ” every day. Sure the neutral roll out was cool and mellow, steady as she goes, but as soon as the flashing red and blue pulled awayI knew it was going to hurt. Christina shot away from me like a cannon everytime. I’ve always known my weakness in racing to be my ability to kick the tires and light the fires at the start line. This is very likely due to a lackluster approach to any pre-race warm-up. I usually get caught up chatting. But anyways, the end of the race was both a joy ride and also a chess game despite my crazy butterfly belly at the start.

The last stage was a relatively smaller day at 32 miles and about 5000 ft of climbing. I knew going into today that all I had to do was ride smoothly and get to the finish line without any major mishaps. Sounds easy enough but the first real downhill section following a good hearty dose of uphill action had me sweating. I slowed way down on the fun singletrack in fear of getting a flat tire. This is where I began carefully making my moves, like a game of chess. Any wrong or hasty decision would halt my steel horse, as it were, in the grave. I was terrified that I might flat and then all of the work I’d put in over the past 5 days would be for not. So I rode very gingerly over the next 20 miles. My one advantage today was that there was quite a lot of dirt road climbing and then of course what goes up must come down, there was an equally large amount of dirt road flats sections and descents. This was where I would make sure to keep my lead. After I buried myself to the top of the last climb of the race I was greeted by a full on party at the last feed zone. My friend Liz got me going again with some Hammer gel and to my surprise my favorite Mafia gagsta, David Janowic, gave me a good little push from behind as they all cheered me on. I felt like a hero in the Tour. I’m just sad there was no naked band of Jacques or el Diablo running along side, Colorado flag in hand! So needless to say I was relieved to hit the last bit of singletrack and head to the finish line. Again, I rode very conservatively and made it safely across the finish line to seal the deal. I was so relieved.

Safely at the “Arriveé”, everyone was so excited to be done. It was clear that not a single person there was bummed in any way. Regardless of your finish position there was a general feeling of accomplishment that took over. Once the Oskar Blues Brews hit the bellies of all the bike enthusiasts the mood was elevated even higher. Coolers were full of tasty brews thanks to all the efforts of one Mr. Chad Melis, the secret “Chad-ative” at the local Lyons Brewery. It was so fun. Everyone worked so hard to pull this event off and it was clearly a success. We’d all become a family during the event and the pride was beaming brightly.

Stay tuned for my final report on the event. I have many people to shout at and more to say.

You stay classy San Diego…and thanks for stopping by☺


Ps. Scroll down through the blog to see all the latest pics. Chad already posted ‘em earlier. Thanks Eddie.

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