After yesterday’s mini explosion I was a little concerned to see how I’d bounce back. Felt a bit tired for the first time and…
That’s about where I feel asleep at the end of Day Six. So playing catch with the blog up now. Weather forecast wasn’t great but there was a more sedate start to the day. First couple of hours neutralised with pretty flat terrain. Nice and steady with plenty of time to chat. We were relatively low so no immediate of canine defecation. I was going a bit Pilsbury with the gear – for the first time ever a spare beanie and some gloves in ziplock bags. I’m understand you’ve got to suffer but maybe you should load the dice in your favour every once in a while. Then the mobile bike boutique himself rocks up. Maybe feeling a little frisky after yesterday’s hollow last climb victory. It was during this little chat that I realised for the first time of the week I’d rather be doing something else instead. More an indication of how much fun I’d had apart from that rather than the fact this wasn’t fun. Not related to the weather as it wasn’t that bad just feeling a little low. A touch of..ahem…GI distress as people stopped for a call of nature safe in the knowledge they could soon get back on due to the friendly pace I was considering the merits of a full bibshorts induced derobe for a much needed roadside Brad Pitt. Thought better of it but was pretty relieved to see the aid station and stop for a bit of food and to top up on fluids after making some room.
Then we rolled over a timing mat…wasn’t really that clear what for. It had long been decided that not only was my inability to read the top tube sticker a contributing factor to my general disorientation but also the fact that in one guys’ words ‘I decided pretty early on that it’s a work of fiction’. So thinking this was the start of the first climb and unsure of my general sense of well-being I started the climb at a sociable pace (aka soft-pedalling next to Pilsbury drilling himself) and then he pointed out the wheel I should follow. Which I duly did…and he duly didn’t. Never saw a 10k or 5k to go sign and started to wonder what was happening as we’d done a tonne of climbing at this point AND passed a timing mat. Guy I’d taken on the hill came past and we had a little train on a flatter section. The strongest guy punctured and then there was 3. I couldn’t quite hold it and later found out the English guy sitting behind was doing 320W just to stay on…no wonder I fell off. Then I saw a sign for the Passo Sella…which was a little odd as I could have sworn I’d just climbed it. Obviously not. Oh great. So then we did hit Passo Sella and it was pretty wet. Plenty of exertion to keep you warm but the descent wasn’t going to be fun. Luckily enough it was neutralised but that didn’t stop one idiot overcooking one of the corners and putting it rubber side up for the second day running. Consistently consistent me. No real damage as I’d killed most of the speed before it happened. Then it was back up to the clouds and the rain and the cold up the Passo Pordoi. The weather was pretty atrocious and every part of me was wetter than a fish’s wet bits. Ground it out to the top where were told the rest of the stage would be neutralised due to the danger of racing the descent. Despite that there was no way I was waiting around too long.
Just as the shivers started K-squared rocked up and as I smugly put on my dry gloves and hat for the descent he led out the descent. I think I possibly made the 3rd corner before my hands were as wet and cold as they had been with the thicker gloves. Result! A nasty descent that had you braking as hard as possible for most of it for fear of carrying too much speed into a sharp wet bend. As we reached the bottom I put a little effort in in an attempt to generate some heat and unfortunately didn’t notice Captain K had gone out the back. Felt a little bad, sat up for quite a while but no sign. Got to the base of the last climb and just chugged away at an honest pace given it wasn’t timed. Felt good and then it was just the descent into Cortina.
Hands couldn’t have been wetter and with a long descent to come I plumped for the big gloves over small gloves routine with the assistance of one of the ever chirpy aid station crew. Worked a treat and hands were fine by the time I’d arrived again somewhere nearer the front of the pack as there was no queueing for massage etc. Grabbed some food, had a nice hot shower and then headed over to the massage area. My osteo buddy Gal saw me, smiled and immediately sent me for a loosen up of the glutes, then to another table for someone to work my lower back and then finally over to him for the usual spinal/pelvic routine including today pressing extremely hard on my sitbones. Couldn’t being amused by the fact that one slip and I might need to call Big E to remove Gal’s forearm and fist from my ass. I emerged (sphincter unbreached) a full two hours after I’d gone in. Not really sure how much good it did me as really there’s not a lot you can do manipulation/correction wise for my kind of issues but I was very impressed with the effort and genuine concern. First lady saw me wincing in agony for most of the session and I could tell was pretty much thinking what on earth I was doing there. She just kept shaking her head and smiling – there was a bit of language barrier we never quite overcame. It’s hard for people to fathom that when I’m in that much pain off the bike that on it I literally cannot feel a thing. Once I get back I’d better invoke operation get back better…been too long.
Then it was the usual telling of tales, looking up results and eating pizza and/or pasta as the rain bucketed down outside. Then as Jeff went to try and recuperate for one last day (dude is a long way out of his comfort zone here so kudos for manning up everyday) Big Guy, Pilsbury and the cripple walked a fair old way in the pouring rain for our gelato fix. Big Guy hit us with more tales from ER the highlight of which was him trying to remove a stuck cock ring from a guy resulting in him requesting the use of an orthopaedic cutter. Doc’s a smart guy so he wedged a piece of metal under the ring so the guy’s ballsack wasn’t cut to shreds. He’s not that smart though as that piece of metal and the titanium cock ring were both soon red hot once the drill was in action. Doubt that guy made that mistake again! Not many dull days in Big Guy’s working life.
Now I’m no medical man but after spending 6nights sharing a room with Dee-oh I’m pretty sure he could do with a bit of Big Guy’s gloved magic. I swear something’s died up there!