I was bit less nervous for day two, but I was definitely going to get the legs ripped off of me! I thought if I could just survive today I would have a shot of completing the whole thing…
The weather was overcast and very calm but muggy. We lined up for the start and set off at a decent pace, that very quickly changed to a ridiculous pace. The opening few kays were rolling and with the speed needle at 50kmph they were hurting already. I was towards the rear of the field trying to soak up as much of the peleton vacuum I could to hold on. I couldn’t believe the pace and how unrelenting it was, I checked the speeds every now and then in disbelief.
Today’s stage was 3 laps of around 47km with 3 turns up Vissershok it was going to really hurt. I sat in pack until the start of the hill, where the King of the mountain okes up front gas it the full beans and I shot out the back of the bunch like a bad smell! I was turning myself inside out and still going backwards but doing damage control because I knew there was a chase coming up…
Over the top and I was with a small group and we set about chasing back to the group. I was quite surprised but consoled by the number of Pro’s I had been dropped with, luckily it looks like they were also used to chasing after climbs and set to work pretty efficiently. 6km later our group of about 10 had caught up to the pack and the pace had eased off but not much. I sat in again and tried to recover as much as I could before we got back to the uphill monster.
Lap 3 went much the same way, dropped on the climb and set about chasing which took a little longer this time around but we got back nonetheless and it was back to damage control in the pack and trying to do as little as possible. Which means i was desperately trying to stay in touch while the men on the front took turns killing the rest of us.
History repeats itself and once again I got put out to pasture as soon as the road leaped up, again I gritted my teeth and tried to let as little rope go as I could before the top of the hill. I got over the top and could hardly see a soul, the okes had cleared off so fast. There was a small group again and we got to work, this time the others didn’t seem to keen on chipping in but I was driven by fear of not making the third day and took long turns on front, eventually breaking away with one other determined rider. We caught two other struggling loners and joined forces, but soon afterward we were caught by the guys behind who had been dropped by us and had now got organized and were being marshaled by the German team who made up quite a few numbers in the chase. We beat out the mileage at a steady tempo with no hope in sight for ages, we took on drinks and were not too focused until we caught sight of the backup vehicle train and knew hope was not too far away. We buried the pedals with renewed vigor and had a good pace line working to the tune of ” left right left right, power power” called out by the Germans. Along the N7 we could see them now, it was downhill and we were cruizing, the backup train scattered in anticipation and soon rejoined much to my relief.
The effort was long and took a lot out of me, but we were now only a few kilo’s from Vissershok, and I knew I’d be spat out again. This time though it was only a few kilo’s to the finish and I could go alone and take my time, I would definately make the cutoff. Just as we hit the climb the heavens opened and huge drops of rain soaked through into my shoes and clothes instantly, the wind whipped up too and made the last section a bit more difficult but at least it was short and sweet and I could start again tomorrrow.