Second last day on tour and it was nice and fresh this morning in the 3 degree temperature...We set off at 6:00am to get Mark Beretta to his sunrise cross by 8:30.
Out of the very warm hotel room and onto the bike. We rode a couple of kilometres and we were already climbing... First climb for the au was pretty good. My knees were really, really cold this morning and it took a long time for them to warm up. This made my climbing a little slower than yesterday, but I got there. The downhill run on the back of the first climb was awesome! It was also probably the coldest I've ever been on a bike... 79km/hr in that temperature is not warming at all...
Here I am at the top of the first major climb in my blue "guts" jersey.
One big climb down, one more to worry about. Dead Horse Gap was coming up soon. This a 15km climb on un-relenting 8-16 degree grades. It was not a fun climb. I thought about the reasons I was here and why I was riding. I found a good rhythm and just plugged away at it. Blair, one of the mechanics on tour, rode beside me for a bit and gave me some encouraging words to help me push through the pain. I got to the top and was very happy with what I had just achieved. This is the hardest climb that the TdC has had on any of there tour in the 7 years they have been running.
Blair and I regathering ourselves (well I did at least) and started our decent. It was a great feeling to know that the big climbs were all over. We got to the bottom and had our lunch. Delicious as normal! I was having a hot chocolate and a brownie, when from the other side of the car park, I saw a familiar face... Stephanie was standing in front of me! She had brought Mum and Dad out to see me come in from the climb. That was a nice surprise! It made the rest of the trip into Jindabyne pretty easy.
We arrived at our hotel for the night and I couldn't wait to jump into a warm shower. We all went to the community dinner tonight and had a great time. I passed the "guts" jersey onto a well deserving recipient too. Mum, Dad and Stephanie had a good night. They got to experience a taste of what happens on tour. They also met some the of guys and girls I have been riding with for the last 9 days. We got the announcement that dinner was finished, and the dinning room clears out pretty quick. We can't wait to get to bed! We have a extra early start tomorrow, for our final day tour. Tia is the second longest day of 190kms and we are aiming to arrive in Canberra by 3:00pm. We have a massive day ahead! Prediction of minus six degrees when we get up... Yikes!
This is the view from where we are staying. Lake Jindabyne.