Individual Time Trial (ITT) today which means everyone goes off on their own in reverse GC order and as I was sitting at 101st position at the start of the day I didn't start until 11am - lay in!!!!
Best nights sleep I've had in a long time, woke feeling really refreshed and ambled down for breakfast at 830 am. I was able to eat a solid breakfast, it seems my stomach problems are behind me (fingers crossed), followed by a bit of down time reading my book and relaxing.
The start was about 20 minutes down the hill from our hotel, so a nice descent with slow pedaling to warm up for the day. Down in the village there was a lot of nervous energy as everyone waited to be called to the start enclosure. The atmosphere was awesome, loud music, each rider being announced all on a beautiful sunny day, it was impossible not to feel excited. I was called with about 10 minutes to go and joined the queue before climbing to the start ramp.
Once in position you had a 10 second count down and off, 200 meters through the edge of town and the famous Col de D'Izord stretched in front of us, a 12 mile climb in your best personal time.
I felt great, stomach was good, back was good and legs felt a lot more lively than yesterday. I decided I was going to make up for yesterday and put a good effort in. I didn't throw caution to the wind but went hard, keeping power between 280 - 330 watts as best I could.
My main goal for the day was to pass as many people as possible without being passed. I quickly had the first rider in my sights and easily passed him, a minute or so later a rider passed me, I don't know if he was the guy I passed or someone who started behind me but he was flying!
I quickly passed another rider and pulled away quite easily, not long after passing him I came to a slight downhill with a right hand corner - Bang disaster struck!!!
I came around the sweeping corner at speed and came face to face with two riders coming the other way, I can only think the surprise of seeing them caused me to over compensate and hit the brakes, to avoid hitting them I aimed for the ditch on the left of the road and tried to land as gracefully as possible.
I picked myself up and did a quick inventory of body and bike. Bike looked good, a broken computer mount and bend break lever but still ready to rock. Body felt good, grazed knees and right elbow but nothing to worry about.
While I was down the guy I had just passed came through, so back on the bike and hit 330 watts to chase him down. I quickly shook off the crash and settled back in to my rhythm, hitting the planned numbers and started picking off riders with never any sight of anyone catching me.
As I came to the last few switchbacks I passed another couple of riders, one of them decided to put in a big effort to chase me down. He went passed and I just sat behind him without changing my plan. As we hit the final turn he had a huge group of Mexican riders cheering him on so he kicked again. I added a couple of gears, got out of the saddle and sprinted passed him to the line at >400 watts - a great feeling to be able to finish feeling so good :-)
After a quick feed at the top and a couple of photos it was time to descend back to the village for lunch. Unfortunately on the way down we had to stop for an ambulance to take a rider away who crashed at speed when his inner tube exploded!!!!
After a chaotic lunch in the village we had to re-climb the nice relaxing descent we'd had at the start of the day.
Stage: 85 overall / 30 in age group
GC: 98 overall / 37 in age group
Statistics for climb only:
Distance: 12 miles
Avg Speed: 11 mph
Elevation Gain: 3,701 ft
Despite the crash (frustrated at the lost time) I really enjoyed the challenge and was pleased with how I felt after yesterday. Of course tomorrow is another day, lets see how my aches and bruises feel in the morning.