Stages 4 and 5 have passed without too much problem in the racing. Stage 4 from Douthat State Park to Waynesboro went over 2 big mountains and broke up just as expected. Chris was in a group at 3 minutes and had a good day for him in my opinion. he lost contact with the leaders just as they were ratcheting up the pace to attack each other near the top. Jered lost the pace earlier and made the best effort he could to find himself in a decent group of strong non-climbers, and make it in easily without losing a ton of time.
In stage 5 there were no more big climbs, just the up and down all day roads. Since the problem that we have is that we can't follow the best riders in the hill, I reminded them that today there was no hill and that there were a lot of tired legs - today would be our best day for a result or an exploit. Nothing solid and stable worked out, but they went out there and made the effort to take part in the race today and I am proud of them.
In a race like this its going to be hard for young riders and inexperienced riders. If you don't have a lot of racing under you, it’s a tough thing to just come to the Tour of Virginia and expect to perform like it’s a local race. Each individual day is hard and fast, and then there are so many in a row. For us its just going to be about taking the baby steps first, then walking, and then running, and then getting someplace we want to go with speed.
Interesting events and things I think
After the finish of stage 4, we did a quick-fast "get the heck out of dodge" and abandoned our mechanic just like we left Tiago at the finish of stage 3. For stage 5 we managed to get everyone to the hotel without ditching anyone, so that was a small improvement in our organization - head counts are key.
I have an arch-nemesis team car in the race. It's dirty as hell and has no bikes on it and no wheels in the car. I can't figure out why they are there. They are all over the race radio asking to advance to do this and that. They are calling to neutral to get them to service their riders because they don't actually have any wheels in their car. They block the service lane all the time and they create gigantic gaps every time they pass a rider of theirs on the hill because they talk to him and try to give him a million bottles for ten minutes as he is getting dropped. They even do it on the descent, and they make like 5 minute gaps in the narrow roads.
Yesterday, they were behind the third group trying to feed their rider outside of feeding. In doing this they were in the service lane blocking cars from advancing to the second and first groups in the last 20k. so I had to yell at them to get them to move.
My food thing is working out really well. We have all our food in a cooler pre-cooked and the we reheat it on a gas camp stove. We shower and eat in record time, and then we can relax. It would be nice if we had a meal to sit down to like in Europe, or like in the big US races, but we get it done another way. It helps that our food is really good.
Now that we have only 2 bikes to wash, the day gets done earlier and Dee is a lot happier.
Director sportif 101
I was happy to help Rick Crawford set up his race radio. He was on 5-1, not 5-0, so he passed me his radio out the window and I set it up and passed it back. The only reason that I could help him is that Bill Short (with the dog in the car) helped me get mine set. The first day that I wasn't hearing everything, he passed me an extra radio, and then the next day he couldn't spare it, so I went out with my old radio not tuned correctly. Bill called a mutual friend to get my cell number and then called me in the car to tell me that I was getting a service call, and by the way the race radio is channel 5, and the default is 0, not 1. so I set my radio to 5-0 and I was fine all day.
There needs to be a class for new directors to know what we are doing as far as all this technical radio crap.
The caravan is not as fun without big descents to go bombing down in the car.