Good morning and welcome to my USA Pro Cycling Challenge blog post for CLIF Bar. Optum Pro Cycling Presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies is happy to have them on board as one of our great sponsors as we tackle races around the globe. It’s companies like Clif that allow us to do what we do – I personally rely on CLIF food during the race as they have a good mix of CLIF Bars, SHOT Gels, SHOT BLOKS, and recovery products, in addition to recently revamping their drink mix that we are currently testing at this race, which I have to admit I like.
I’ve been thinking about how this post should go, and I don’t want it to necessarily be the standard blog that recaps the race, what CLIF products I ate, how much it hurt etc. I will cover some of that of course, but ideally I’d like more interaction with any of those who happen to read the random thoughts I throw out there. If you guys have any questions for me regarding pretty much anything please ask, I will answer the questions that get picked by the CLIF team as honestly and thoroughly as I can.
Stage 2 is here already, in fact I’m happy that it is because the stress levels leading up to stage 1 have subsided. Even though we have ten staff on site, more staff than riders, in fact, it’s still stressful. It seems odd that it would be stressful while having all the food you need to race provided for you, your bikes washed, massage, bottles filled and really all you do is stretch, eat, watch a movie, write a post, speak to family and lay in bed, but it is! I lose sleep at night thinking about the race – my nerves and adrenaline are more primed. Cycling is bizarre in the sense that at home it’s usually just me on the road, and then here it’s craziness surround the show from amazing fans, fellow riders, media, sponsors, vips and etc.
Today is going to be brutal. Right from the get go is a undoubtedly one of the hardest climbs in the country, especially to race up. It’s going to be brutal especially if we race it. Last year there was a collective sigh of relief when a group of guys went from the KM 0 sign, followed by a gasp of despair when we reached the bottom of Independence Pass and Garmin went straight on the attack. Once over this mountain it’s basically downhill to the next pass over Hoosier onwards to Breck. The first ascent takes up to 12,000 feet, and the second to 11,500 ft.
Yesterday was tough on a lot of guys, harder and more painful than many would have thought racing 100 km. With the legs opened up, today could one of the most challenging stages based on the course and relative freshness of the peloton. The altitude will certainly play an effect, and trick will be to meter ones effort to a point. The trick is to not go too deep, it’s the recovery between efforts or even being able to drag out the sustained effort by controlling it and not going immediately into the red zone.