This was the queen stage… the really long stage of the 4. It started by the beach as with stage 1 and after getting a bit of a fright yesterday finding myself running out of energy, I went into today with the aim of being smart and conservative. That’s exactly what I did- no dramatics, hard but steady and consistent effort and not getting sucked in to racing anyone up the climbs. The aim of a stage race is to have the lowest cumulative time and there was a fairly big gap between 3rd and 4th so I had a bit of time to play with to maintain my overall podium position.
Again there was great scenery and spectacular descents. Today the climbing felt particularly hard as it was mostly technical but a rocky technical so everything was quite jolty and hard on your whole body. The final descent had me absolutely beaming with happiness and I felt fairly fresh for day 3 of stage racing at least) and like I had something left to give. With about several kilometres to go on the flat terrain back to the seaside, I found myself riding with a masters man and we took it in turns to take the front and the brunt of the wind.
Of course I couldn’t let a stage pass without drama and with 2km to go, riding on a concrete road at nearly 25 mph, we touched wheels and I went skidding across the concrete on my side and into the shrubbery- OUCH! I don’t know how I was able to get up after banging my head on the way down but up I got, blood dripping off my arm and leg, bars bent, saddle squint and brake levels pointing skywards I hobbled (if you can hobble whilst cycling) towards the finish line to cross in 5th place but more pleasingly, moving myself up to 2nd place overall on General Classification!
The conservative ride had paid off and with a quiet internal fist pump, I headed to the medics to get myself cleaned up. 1600m of climbing and 4 hours in the saddle… ooft!
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