Tour of Utah
Pretty scary thought crossed my mind just before the start gun fired, exactly a year had passed since I started with Radioshack as a stagiaire in the 2011 Tour of Utah, slightly less green - it was good to see I wasn’t so much of a bottom feeder a year down the track. I flew out to Boulder a few weeks early to get some altitude in the system, at first I was really suffering from riding through the bronchitis in Austria and stressful week in Swiss but I slowly started getting some juices flowing and started to hit some good form a week out from the race.
We came here with the intention of working for Chris Horner but after suffering from a crash in the Olympics, a shit load of travel and super busy we decided that me and Matt Busche would get a shot at riding for the overall as well. I got through the first 4 days feeling really good, only problem was I was lacking a little of the real high intensity from not racing in 5 weeks but everyday I got stronger and with the goal of being really good in Colorado/Canada/Worlds I wasn’t too phased. The team TT was a pretty cool/painful experience - front row seat to see the power houses like Jens and Kinger at work. I was shitting my pants a little before the start but once the gun went I couldn’t think of anything other than not crashing our whole team. I stayed out of trouble the next few days with some awesome help from the team nursing me through without seeing a breath of wind. The queen stage was where shit was going to get real with a finish up an 11km 9% average climb to snowbird ski resort. The night before I was getting off the massage table and my back completely lost it. I popped a rib out the back and twisted a vertebrae - the chiro put it back in place but it didn’t seem much better in the morning. Walking or moving sucked but I was pretty stoked when I got on the bike and was really affected but it was a pretty stressful evening.
The stage was a goodie and with about 5km to the finish life was good. There was about 6 of us left and the Garmin boys had run out of steam, then Levi attacked- I tried to play it cool and waited for someone to close the gap but after a while I realized there was no one really left. I lost my head a little bit and tried to smoke it across the gap but went way to deep in the red and just blew completely. At altitude if you go into the red zone its game over- for me at least it's impossible to recover. Slowly one by one everyone rode past me, both teammates passed me and tried to get me on there wheel and give me a pace up the hill but I couldn’t ride out of my own way by that stage I was so weak everyone cruised past me. In just a few km I lost 1.30 to the front. I was really dark at myself after the race but I took a lot away from that stage as well. The last stage was also hard, I was part of (in hindsight) what was a futile skirmish half way through the stage but the team wanted us to try shake it up and with Bushce in 3rd place I had nothing to lose. The last climb I came unstuck with Vandervalde who was second overall. Hated to be the arsehole but had to just sit on his wheel and watch us move into second overall so really good effort from Busche. We also took out the teams GC which is always a good excuse to dominate some expensive photography equipment with champagne and get a little buzz on for the drive home.
I'm up in a little mountain village called Durango. We are staying in the Fort Lewis college dorms for the week before the start of Colorado on Monday. Finally a chance to experience the university life I never got to live but when you take out the drinking, parties, 3,000 22 year olds and impromptu rugby games with the boys...uni is kind of lame........ at least theres a ping pong table...Stay in school kids