Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wardrobe and Crashes

This morning was the jersey presentation for stage 2, and since the winner of the stage was wearing yellow (leader), the second place was wearing pink (sprints), Kerry was awarded the white jersey. The team's closet was growing since Glenn got the ball rolling by getting the yellow one yesterday. Kerry had such a good time, that he decided to give stage 3 a try. Under a potent sun and climbing temperatures, the 5 pelotons of the 9th Vuelta Masters a Chiriqui, pointed west, towards the border with Costa Rica to cover a rolling 50 mile course, with two intermediate sprints and a KOM. Our group took it a little easier at the start and we were pretty much noodling for about 10 miles when the pace went from nice to nuts in preparation for the first intermediate sprint. The Friends Team, from this point on referred to as, Mayhem, went to the front to do the leadout for their sprinter who's leading the competition, but their organization was, shall I say, questionable at best, and what followed was one of the nastiest crashes I have had to avoid in all the time I have attempted to race my bike. The yellow jersey went down hard to my right, and while FRESH Racing riders were involved in some evassive maneuvers, two riders went straight to the guardrail, at speed, with one of them catapulting over it after his bike collided with it, while the other went face first. Neither could claim victory against the metal barrier.
Unlike yesterday, the minute the word got around that the yellow jersey was down, the entire pack slowed down and waited for word about the down riders. The leader was making his way back through the caravan with a bloody right elbow, from other than that, he didn't look to have much visible damage, although I bet he was a little shaken after that. The heat was starting to reach alarming levels and making sure that we were taking on water was the job of my mom who today drove one of the two team cars. We would put our hand up in the air and she would pull out of the caravan and ride next to us to hand fresh bottles. We kept talking about the turn around point where things were going to get interesting and it didn't dissapoint. We started the Gariche Climb, which is about 10kms long at a steady 5% and the first attack took care of the weaker riders. The second attack took care of me. Kerry and Glenn latched to the back of the now, distant front group and put the hammer down. Meanwhile, in the Masters C category, Dave was having quite the time with the heat and the hill. I'm guessing the Cadel Evans ghost decided to make a stop at the race today. Riders from all categories were spread on the Panamerican Highway on the way back to David, some in worse shape than others, after the KOM sprint
I was in the hurt locker for about 10 miles, and I think my mom was suffering just as much just driving behind me. Dad had taken the second team car to cover Kerry and Glenn who by now were setting the road on fire. Finally I crossed the line and found the guys, to find out that Kerry had taken the stage and did the Forrest Gump salute made famous by Peter Sagan at the Tour, while Glenn was toping the podium with third place. Kerry picked a second medal and white jersey and both moved to 3rd and 4th overall on the GC.
Tomorrow is the dreaded Queen Stage, which is only 36 miles, but, it will go from sea level to almost 4,000 feet. Pray for us!!!!!

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