Long, Hard but with surprising results!Stage 3 Tour Of Thailand 2013
A long day 190km - mostly flat and a few cross winds etc. This is the first of 3 long 190km plus days and will be a real test of the endurance of the riders.
Fortunately, we had well stocked up on the 32Gi recovery drink the day before and pockets filled of the 32Gi Energy Chews, and we were ready for anything.
The race started reasonably well as we rode along narrow rough roads and eventually onto a reasonable highway. Jake punctured at about the 50km mark, he was riding alongside a fellow Aussie who smirked at Jakes bad luck and promptly punctured himself. No fear, EHBS every ready team car was soon on the scene and Jake was on his way like a pro, working his way through the convoy of cars to get back onto the bunch.
A small group of riders (6) managed to break away from the bunch and got up to 3mins gap at a few points. We all knew that with so few riders in the break and with a long stage, the break was doomed. It lasted about 120km before it was caught. Ed commented on how boring the 120km were and it was more an exercise of staying out of trouble and upright.
In the team car we had a few very hairy moments when we had to feed the guys. It would seem that every rider from every team decided to be hungry at about the exact same time. It also coincided that all the team cars decided to be idiots and there was massive chopping of team cars by others who were trying to push their way to the front. A well aimed lobbed water bottle from EHBS soon tamed one car, there were just too many other idiots. We got there in the end and Ed was patiently waiting. Fully supplied and reloaded, Ed went back into the bunch to feed the others and get on with the job.
The pace started to really pick up at 140km and sadly, the damage done to Jake on day one with dehydration and heat stroke, soon became his undoing. He drifted into the convoy where I found him floundering, we restocked him with food and water and tried vainly to pace him back into the game. He nearly made it a few times, and only his inexperience of this caliber of racing prevented him from seizing every opportunity and getting back into the race. We were soon waved on by the marshals who disliked our pacing efforts. Jake was sadly done, and the voiture blalai was waiting for him.
As expected the break was caught and it was going to be a big bunch sprint finish. Scotty got into a few moves at the end and tried to stretch out the race with Will Walker. The bunch was too edgy and every move was soon shut down. It did make Scott really happy as he gave the race a red hot poke at the end.
The lead into the finish was filled with drama, a Thailand rider really came unstuck in a big was as he misjudged some traffic island and was left sprawling in agony on the road with a broken body and most probably bike. With 300m to go, a Shimano rider hit the deck after a touch of wheels, he looked pissed and sore when we passed him.
Once again, our pocket rocket in Heksa delivered, he came 8th and was very modest about his achievements - I just love this guy.
Off to the Hotel we trotted, a lovely 20 story firetrap - rat poo in stair well, swamps next door and lord knows what else. The rooms are clean and we are only here one night. There is quite a bit of camaraderie amongst the teams and everyone seems keen to simply survive another day together.
199km tomorrow as we cross to the other side of the peninsula heading towards Phuket. Jake replaces my wonderful companion for the last 3 days: Pang. He wont be as good looking as her, it will be good for him to still be involved in the race and see from behind the scenes what the other riders do.
Update on Dylan: He is OK, had a little reaction to the anaesthetic but is ok again. The race organisers are now trying to rebook his flights home.