My fellow riders don’t know this but I do pratice other sports than cycling. In fact, the Official Lambert Sport is not cycling at all, is it skiing. Three of my kids are avid downhill ski racers and I personally love double-black steep bowls. So imagine my joy during the morning transfer from Beaver Creek to Breckenridge, everywhere I looked I could see huge ski resorts, high mountains, lifts and giant bowls. I think the Lamberts will be skiing in Colorado soon. It would be particularly hard to resist Rick’s invitation to come and ski in Breckenridge since he promised to open his wine cellar to Mary Lou and I.
On the cycling front, we had to cut today’s stage short as we didn’t think we could make it to the line before the pros. The issue was mainly that the stage involved getting from 9,000 feet of elevation to 6,000 feet. I think we all agree that 150 pros going downhill on closed roads go considerably faster than 20 amateurs on open roads. So we cut out the first KOM – Hoosier Pass. The way I climb at 8,000 feet I wasn’t unhappy to skip another climb at 11,500 feet.
The highlight of the day for me was descending at 42 miles an hour in a pack, not getting dropped and chatting away with Scott who was a few inches on my right while making sure I was no more thana foot or so behind Skip’s wheel. That was a key cycling moment for me as I had a bit of a reputation for being the climber who can’t descend. Well no more. I have followed Chris Carmichael’s advice and “I grew some balls.”
Being able to descend will significantly change my ability to perform. Here’s why. Below is my “Power Distribution Chart” for Stage 5. What it illustrates is that I spent 30.6% of the ride doing 20 watts or less and 26.6% doing 100 watts or less. That means that I basically spent a quarter of the ride not doing much work, if any. In my old life, I would have gotten dropped which means I would have had to pedal hard to try and get back to the group. Given the fact that a peloton goes faster than a single rider I would have spent a good part of the ride doing huge efforts, basically driving myself into the ground.
The other highlight of the day was going through the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. What an amazingly beautiful place.
Pictures of Stage 5:
For map and profile of Stage 5 please click here.
To watch a video about Stage 5 please click here.
Stage 5 will be a good day for two kinds of riders – sprinters and opportunists. A daunting 10 mile climb up Hoosier Pass to 11,500 feet makes for a rude awakening, but if the sprinters and breakaway specialists can make it over that, they have a good chance to go for a stage win. After the single summit of the day and a fast descent into Fairplay, the high mountains are left behind. Descending into Woodland Park, the racers may hit their fastest speeds of the week at the downhill Sprint Line, then continue downhill to Colorado Springs through the shadow of Pikes Peak. A technical uphill run through Garden of the Gods Park lets the cyclists revisit the roads of last year’s prologue before finishing with high-speed circuits through downtown Colorado Springs. Total climbing: 5,538 feet.