Long Hot and Plenty of PlanningStage 5 Tour Of Thailand 2013
Another long stage of a 195km faced us all, the riders and the support cars. No one was really looking forward to it. Scotty had a bad sleep thanks to a disco across the way from his hotel window, and I had a broken sleep with sorting out Dylan's flight with his mum and then of course Scotty banging on my door to sleep in my room.
There were a few bleary eyes at the start line, a hot day was predicted as it was already in high 30's by 9am.
The lads were loaded up with water and 32Gi Electrolytes and Chews, ready to take on the stage.
We left Ranong at a moderate pace. Soon race radio reported a break after 10-20 km from start of 4 riders that got further and further away. Two riders jumped across and then there were 6. The bunch just rode tempo thinking its a long day and the break wont last.
The only mishap was one of the Danes crashing in the neutral stage and ripping up his right elbow. He rode valiantly on with his arm all bandaged up and later copped a fine for hanging onto his team car while discussing what to do with the dressing that was unraveling. Henry Morely from Satalyst also copped a fine after being paced back on by his team car. I guess the commissaires were in that mood today.
According to Eddy, not much happened for at least 160km where the bunch rode tempo with Malaysia and one or two other teams keeping the pace at the front. Even in the convoy all was sedate and there was little pushing and shoving at the front as per previous days. Back in the bunch, rumour has it that most of the Perth cyclists were planning Hiltons retirement party for Saturday. I had the pleasure of his company in our car from the stage finish to the hotel, and he was lamenting the inability to dish out the hurt anymore. You are much respected Hilton by all those that still suffer when racing you.
Scotty is getting the hang of feeding from the car, he is learning to take sticky bottles and eat food. We only had one mishap when we accidentally drifted in from of the commissaires car and I copped a telling off - oops!!
The finish sprint into town was fast and furious with not only the average local on a scooter wishing to take part, also the usual asian racing style of chopping anything that moved was in effect. The break of over 7mins was whittled down to under a minute, still not enough and the surviving two members of the break took to the podium.
We finished in Khao-Lak by the Tsunami of 2006 memorial. A police patrol boat was tossed up from the shore into the jungle 2km away from the coast. Eddy and Hilton remember racing in Thailand later that year and how astounded they were at the devastation. This will be our start for tomorrow ( Pity our hotel is 80km away!) a mere 105km. I will be on from the go as only seconds separate the top 4 GC riders.