Chain off in Final Stage Shock

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Chain off in Final Stage Shock

Postby Baldy Welshy » June 22nd, 2008, 7:21 pm

Just in case anyone's remotely interested in my big tour exploits...

This morning stage from the border town of Newry set off on a single 65 mile loop along the coast and into the hills.

There was a cat 1 climb at 52 miles and a cat 2 climb at 62 miles, so I wanted to keep something in the tanks for the sting in the tail.

The Yellow Jersey checks behind.jpg
The Yellow Jersey checks behind.jpg (65.18 KiB) Viewed 1349 times

Today's cat-1 climb at 52 miles.

The race went through the middle of Newry (through red lights and the peleton going both ways round islands and roundabouts like on the telly - damn good fun) at a cracking pace and a group of ten were soon away. The yellow jersey was still in the main group and his team was mobilised with instructions shouted out to pull back the break and defend the jersey. This meant a fast ride in the bunch was in store for I was too far down on GC to worry about yellow :)

I have to say it is far more difficult to work out race tactics when you are travelling at 30 mph than when you are watching this sort of stuff on the telly.

Forty miles of rolling road along cliff-beach coastline later and the road signpost to the cat 1 climb said 3 miles. (For the cat 1 climb is in the middle of a town and so it's easy to know how far to go from the signs - nice )
Time for me to work up the bunch to stay in contact up the hill.

I get near the front of the bunch as we are moving up a long drag into a monster headwind and bingo, I throw the chain and its jammed, its not going back on without manual intervention :o I can't believe it, after 3 days my race is over.

I'm off the bike and the peleton is up the road. Hang on though, this is a proper tour, not a Cheshire circuit, and one of the team service cars has stopped (for there are about 20 cars following the race offering team support plus neutral service vehicles) and a guy is out like shot and down at my chain set.

So there I am, holding the saddle of the bike and trying to stay calm, with a mechanic doing the bike, more telly moments - cool as. Then I'm getting pushed up the hill and the guy's telling me to go up through the cars. It had felt like I had been stopped for an eternity, but the bunch is within sight, and only about ten cars to go round, thanks to the headwind and the climb.

So I'm trying to stay calm and do some quick arithmetic, how much rest between each car to get to the bunch ? I need to get back before the top of this drag and the big descent to the cat 1 climb and without the wrath of the commissaire.
With the service vehicles shouting support for me to get back up to the bunch, and passing another rider behind one car whose legs had blown (but I think he had been working for yellow), I was doing that thing off the telly, cool.

On each car, a few seconds rest then a big effort to the next car, sure enough I was quickly up to the car behind the commissaire. The commissaire pulled out to drive on the right hand side of the road (the commissaire was doing this every few minutes to update the riders on the gap and no cars come the other way on account of the rolling road block) next to the bunch and my car followed to drop me at the back, passengers leaning out to congratulate me on the effort, and my gratitude overflowing.

Breathing hard and very relieved, my brain started to focus on the next challenge, how far to the cat 1 climb, and can I recover in time to get to the front of the bunch by the base of the climb?

I won't bore you all with what happened next, but I have to say, going between the cars on closed roads, getting cheered along to get back to the bunch like that was cool as cool as cool.

Riding through the cars back to the bunch (after you thought it was game over). How cool is that ?
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Baldy Welshy
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Re: Chain off in Final Stage Shock

Postby Sean@theedge » June 22nd, 2008, 10:27 pm

aye, that is pretty cool 8-)

NEW FOOTAGE JUST IN.........

John in todays race recieving support from a crazy neutral service car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y7yIVZfKYM&feature=related
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