Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stage 4 & 5 - battling the wind

Another double-header today with Stage 4 & 5 in the west of the South Island. The 50miles up to Tuatapere didn’t look too tricky on paper but everyone knew going in it will be a battle with the wind today. Lots of crosswind and 100guys trying to get to the front made for a pretty hard stage. I’m feeling that my body is still a bit banged up from that crash a few days ago and the legs don’t quite have the “snap”. But…to open up the legs I decided to go for the first few intermediate sprints. To explain, they have about 10-15 intermediate sprints in EACH stage for the sprint points jersey and a few bucks from local businesses (usually $25-$50). That was a bit taxing but I felt better afterwards actually. I almost got in trouble a few times but was mostly in good company with some good teams so we made it back quickly to the bunch.All of us from Jackson Plumbing finished all in the field of about 80 guys. The sprint points got me in 8th place in that competition now. But that’s all just for fun to be honest. Hopefully we’ll see the prize one day…

The 2nd part of the day was a bit more brutal with 50 of the 100K being raced right on the west coast of the South Island which made for plenty of gusty wind and some rain. Not as bad as in previous years, though where guys got blown off the road. The short 1 1/2hr break between stages was a bit odd, you try to rest a bit but don’t want to have your body too much in “rest-mode” as another 60miles were ion tap. 10-15K in the Sh.. hit the fan and guys started going everywhere. I was positioned well but could tell the legs are worn out and slowly faded and ended up in a group of about 25guys who were still going fast. After 20miles, the field – or what was left of it – was about 3minutes up the road but the guys don’t call a grupetto down here; they just keep going hard even if it is for 45th place. Well, it finally got me and I ended up riding in with 3 other guys (one of them Heath’ teammate and a world-class rower who just got recruited for this Tour). Finished 15min down on the winner and moved down to 68th place in GC. I don’t care too much about that anyways but will try to help Mike Olheiser in the remaining stages as he sits Top20 and got a few seconsds on the field today.

3 days and 4 stages to go!

Check out and for results, pics, and live updates from the Tour. Also, teammates Mike and Seth have blogs up here:,

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