Stage 3 was a 75 mile trek through the valley and up over 2 climbs before hitting Appalachian Gap summit finish. The "App Gap" has a 'Baby Gap' for about 5 or 6kms at a reasonable 5 to 6%. good for high pace tempo riding. It then flattens, descends slightly, before 5K of switch back gear wrenching hell. Pitches are up to 20% and I don't recall anything being under 10%. I had a 39/27 gear ratio and barely got the pedals over. for a picture from the top of the climb click here: www.gmsr.info
Unfortunately this kind of climb makes for really conservative riding until we get there. After the 2nd climb there was a lengthy descend along a dirt road which became the hardest part of the day next to App gap. It was crazy fast, crashes and flats abound. I stayed up right and moved forward as best I could but 60 to 70k/hr on a dirt road sitting 20 riders back from the front is full on "DO I HAVE INSURANCE?" mode!!
We hit Baby Gap and I set a tempo off the front trying to bridge to 6 riders up ahead. 2K later the peleton came whipping by and it was definitely HTFO TIME! I suffered bad but held it together until App Gap proper. From there it was survival. The solace being catching 10 or so riders in the last km. I finished 3 minutes back of the yellow jersey but 6 minutes back off the stage winner. 40th of 77 racers so mid pack.
The kid who won the stage deserves yellow and the overall win. Same kid that rode me off his wheel yesterday in the break went with about 40km's to go today and stuck it. Taking the stage by 50 seconds and putting 3+minutes on the leaders. I think he will be turning pro proper next year!!!
To Gary and the GMSR.info crew, this race is amazing and so well organized. Thanks for putting it on.
Stage 4 is a criterium circuit in downtown Burlington Vermont. I will hurt, I will get spat out the back I am sure of it. My strategy? ATTACK AND PRAY!
thanks for reading.