Minor Details. Today was the first stage that the boys didn’t have any specific job to do in the race. We had held the jersey for the first three days of the race, and will continue to fight out the general classification with Svein, but the stage today was quite flat, so it would not in any way effect the gc standings, meaning our boys finally had a low responsibility day.
Accordingly, those who have been feeling the pinch after some heavy days of hard work were able to take it easy in the bunch.
The only job was ensuring that Svein was doing the least work of everyone in the team whilst maintaining touch with the front of the race.
Despite the seemingly low intensity of the day, most of the lads got off their bikes today talking about how hard it had been.
The first hour of riding saw the peloton cover 51km, and the whole stage (which was 214km) was completed in only 4hr and 30min (ish). And in this part of the world, the roads are always a source of irritation.
Apparently today a great swathe of roadway was made up of concrete slabs, which were at times not particularly well fitted. The description was “It’s an annoying k-knk, k-knk, k-knk, k-knk and then all of a sudden WHAM, then back to k-knk, k-knk, k-knk…”
Atop the general complaints regarding roads and race pace, there was a funny little interlude where one of the boys was claiming that his nemesis was trying to prevent him from riding in the last position of the peloton. His exact words were that “He kept chopping me for last place.”
The usual result of “chopping” is losing position, so when I asked how the reverse chop worked, where you’re actually bumped forward a place in the peloton, I was met with nothing but grumbles about not letting logic get in the way of a good story.
From a physio point of view, this week has been interesting to me seeing how tiny adjustments to the set-up of a rider on the bike can lead to surprisingly significant problems.
Working with pros in some ways is the same as working with the general public: bike position is the first port of call with any non crash-related injury. The difference is that pros are sensitive to changes so small that Joe Average wouldn’t even be aware that they have happened.
I figure that their normal load of riding includes such a huge amount of time, and thus so many more pedal strokes than Joe Average, that minor changes at times become major issues.
I’m working with one of the boys on various different parts of his body that all seem to have been flared up by a change of less than a degree in his position.
It’s not that suddenly he’s in a bad spot, more that different muscles are being recruited slightly differently, and they are feeling the pinch as they’re not yet used to the load.
Ok. Boring physio talk. I’ll shush. But it IS interesting! I swear!
It’s back to the lumpiness tomorrow, so game faces shall once again be in place.