We have joked since we got to Panama that we would go better than Team SKY...they went 1-2 in the Tour and we came up with the phrase, "FRESH 1,2,3". But if you are around cyclists long enough, you know we are a very pessimistic bunch. Something is always hurting us, we haven't trained enough, slept well, ate right, etc. So when Glenn took off, during today's prologue, none of us were expecting fireworks. Things started a bit wrong for me when we discovered my front wheel had a wire in it and a subsequent flat, all before the state, thankfully. Dad made a change of wheels from the spares we carried and a short warm up followed, when I found the shifting on my bike a bit iffy and not up to standards. Again, dad kept his cool (and mine) and before long the bike was tip-top.
After Glenn, Kerry was next and if Glenn was looking mean, Kerry was downright scary.
I was up next, and was treating this as any other time trial, a short, violent effort that I rather not do, but it's part of the race, so be it, get it over with.
And closing the FRESH Racing Team lineup was Dave, who without any special wheels or time trial bars, posted a very respectable time.
As we came in after the short 3km effort, we started to exchange stories. It went something like, "I sucked", "I was going backwards", "the hill kicked my ass", etc. As we were gathering around the team van, dad comes running and announced that Glenn had posted the fastest time in our category. Nothing was official, and since we were so negative about our rides, we wanted the official word, so we made our way back to the start area and waited. And waited and then waited some more until the chief ref said, "Winner of the Executive B category, Glenn Terrel, USA"...the high fives were flying when he said, "in third place, Manny Samaniego, USA"...we all went, "WTF was that?". We went 1-3, two podium places and the yellow jersey. Not a bad morning for a bunch of complainers.
After about three hours, the award ceremony took place (in front of McDs) and Glenn was presented the yellow jersey, along with a medal. Since he won the stage, he was also supposed to get a white jersey, but that was handed to the second place rider, from Costa Rica. I got my medal for third and spirits were high for the afternoon stage.
The second road stage was in the afternoon and the mercury had risen to 100+ or "hot as shit". After a neutral roll out, we were sent off to a 54 mile jaunt around the country side. At first, the local teams were showing off with some wacky attacking tactics and Kerry, Glenn and I were just keeping a close eye on the rider in second place. Dave was in the C category doing his solo thing. Attacks came and went and nothing was sticking, so we settled into a easy pace and rolled for most of the stage. At about mile 48, on a patch of road that had craters, not potholes, the first crash happened. Two colombian riders went into the ditch. Soon after, another collision took place and someone yelled, "Yellow is down". Most of the riders started to call for a truce, but two knuckleheads decided it was a good time for an attack. Not knowing how Glenn was, the rider in second place rode up to Kerry and told him to get on his wheel because at that point all hell was breaking loose. I finally caught back to the group and went straight to the front, where the two attackers were getting an earful from everyone, so I joined the party and told them in very colorful spanish, that I was none to happy with their shannanigans. Finally, coolers heads prevailed and the pace went down, which allowed me to make my way to the back to find Glenn in good spirits and riding, although a little bloody from the road rash. As soon as the word got around that the yellow jersey was back in the pack, the hostilities resumed and the pack lined up for the finish, which was not well marked at all, and at the time of this post, we presume the rider in second place on the GC took the stage and both intermediate sprints, which technically should put him in yellow tomorrow.
Dave had a close encounter with a "crater" and had a dual punctures, which caused him to have to change both wheels and then set off in hot pursuit of his peloton, which he managed to join again, but the effort took most of his energy.
Tomorrow we are facing another 56 mile road stage, but the climbs will start to show their ugly face during the course. Although Glenn is feeling a little stiff at the moment, we are in good position on the GC and will keep an eye on the action and save as much of our powder for Friday's fireworks, which will take the pack high into the Panamanian mountains. By the way, Kerry's spanish is on the up!!!