Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jelajah Tour: Stage 6

Stage 6 was a long stage of 175km but unlike the others, had two category 3 hill climbs. Fortunately, they were early on at 21km and 44km. My job was to make sure Mart got over the climbs and chase any dangerous breaks. 

As we approached the first climb the pace in the bunch went up. It was a gradual climb for around 3km with the last km getting a little steeper. Halfway up, Jaan's chain dropped off. He stopped to fix it. 50m later, Mart's chain jammed in his rear wheel after his cassette rattled loose. I stopped to give him my wheel but he could not get his out. After what seemed an eternity, he finally got his wheel replaced and began his frantic chase. The team car had arrived and I received a new rear wheel as the back of the convoy was approaching. 

I jumped back on and tried to keep pace with the cars. Mart caught back up to a group but unfortunately, the race had split in two, with the leaders around 100m up the road. He chased again to try to bridge the gap but with so many hills and the fast pace of the group, he didn't make it. 

I worked my way through the cars and caught a group of around 10 riders. The convoy continued to speed on past us and it was clear we were well behind the bunch and was not going to catch them. We rode for another 60km before calling it a day and getting into the broom wagon. 

At the front, we had lost our gc position as mart and Jaan lost huge amounts of time to the leaders in the lead group. 

Needless to say, we were all very disappointed with the final outcome of the tour. If is amazing the difference that one small mechanical can make. 

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