I’ve done my best. Like last year, now all that’s left to do is recover and wait for the directors to announce our 2015 TDF team.
Stage 7: 165 km
Part one: Attack! 20 km extremely hard. Four man breakaway. Part two: Control. 80 km moderately hard. Fast and smooth. Part 3: Red alert! 65 km extremely hard. In our meeting Robbie said, “the climbs in the circuit are nothing to write home about.” So, I won’t, but half of the peloton dropped on the two finishing circuits. I held on safely.
Stage 8: 155 km
We knew the four technical hilly circuits would cause chaos. I broke away with twelve hitters. We rode all out each of us on the absolute limit. Somehow, and I don’t know how, the peloton dragged us back after twenty km. Then a new breakaway of twenty riders formed. We missed it, so on the last lap three of us attempted to bring it within striking distance. We shrank the two minute gap by a minute but it wasn’t enough. I’d used all my bullets and sat up ten km to go.
Stage 9: 38.4 km TT
I’d nailed my pre-race routine to the minute, and sat in the start house breathing deep and jiggling my quads while the UCI officials checked over my bike. The course used the same circuit as stage 8, but what I remembered of the course was like three hours in a washing machine.
I sometimes call it, “the angry.” It’s a feeling that your legs want more pain than you can give them. They have emotion like the heart or stomach. It’s that good hurt. I’ve been searching for it all season, but even when I’ve gone fast the pain has been awful. Today my legs itched for it.
On the uphills: My follow car. Two beeps if I’m on a good time. Beep, beep. Humming in my skull, cowbells, a fan with an airhorn. I smell beer, cigarette and marijuana smoke. Cowbells, the top, big ring, “HOP, HOP, HOP!” I caught my three minute man.
On the downhills: Chin down. Chin down like an arrow. Catch the motorbike. Round-about. No brakes. Lean. No fear. No instinct. No brakes.
At 55 kph I hit a short cobble section. Directly in front of me a big collie dog with a rope toy in his mouth pranced onto the road with his chin up. My eyes searched the space between his tail and the curb for a leash. No leash. It was one of those slow motion moments like the matrix minus coordination when my life- or at least the remainder of my season- flashed before my eyes. A big loud slo-mo expletive curled off my tongue. The dog looked right, dropped his toy, and tucked his tail which I missed by an inch.
All that to say I got another 17th!
Once again, thanks for the support, and I will update as soon as I’ve heard about the TDF.