It would be interesting if races actually went from their namesake point A to point B. At the end of eight days, we will finish in Nice, but I think it’s been a mighty long while since the race started in Paris proper. “Mini Springtime Tour de France” or “One-Third of a Tour de France” is a more accurate name. No one asked me.
The race cruises along nicely just as the peloton cruises along nicely. Entertainingly nicely, in fact, since this race is notoriously drenched in dank spring weather, occasional snow flurries, and is raced in a characteristically French fashion. That is, furious attacks for no reason, chasing down teammates for no reason, and riding on the rivet… for the only reason of making the race super duper hard. And French.
Meanwhile here in reality, the first three days of the 2015 Paris-Nice saw the first attacks of each day merely roll off the front of the peloton at a leisurely pace and then the peloton was quite content to allow the intrepid soul or two to pedal away. I think the inexplicably nice weather threw everyone in a confused tizy. Three easier-than-easy hours later would mean that it’s time to really yank it in the final 90 minutes or so, but that’s good for the ol’ springtime fitness and form finding.
Here is today, in case you wondered what it had in store.
Lots of people have asked about our tactics on day two where the Cannondale-Garmin team hit the front with 30km to go and really yolked it. “Why’d you guys do that Ted?” has been on my Strava and Twitter feed.
Well, duh, you’re astute to notice that move didn’t change anything, but had the weather been a touch more French (read: windy) then we would have shredded the peloton. It IS still Paris-Nice so the name of the game is attack or be attacked. The road was two meters wide coming directly out of a tiny village and into an exposed field. Seriously, just two miles per hour more wind and the peloton would have been in smithereens. Talk to the rest of the peloton; lots of guys were huffing and puffing and completely caught off guard. Again 2mph difference and we have a different race.
Wayne Gretzky said he didn’t score 100% of the time on shots he didn’t take. Fact.
We’ve gotten into the thick of it now however. Today featured eight categorized climbs, finished on a 10km cat 1, we started in a near whiteout fog and zero degrees, and we went over snowlike twice. THAT my loyal readers is Paris-Nice! I’m spending ample time blazing a path for my team to follow. These aren’t the roads of the Belgian classics just weeks away, but they have a similar, sinuous character to them. This is mighty fine bike racing in its own right and certainly prepares us for what lies ahead.
The race to the sun rolls onward.
As for news off the bicycle, I can update to tell you that I’m rooming with Mr. Jack Bauer. This Jack Bauer is from New Zealand; I’m not rooming withr fictionals Jack Bauer from the show 24. He’s a great guy and is now in his fourth year with the Slipstream organization. In the post-dinner/pre-asleep evening we usually flip on the television which emits all sorts of French that neither of us can understand; so we are especially happy when said TV can be toggled in its audio settings to render shows in their native English rather than harshly dubbed over French. We so far have enjoyed a good dose of the Real Housewives of… somewhere, I think Beverly Hills. Also Sleezy Storage Unit Auction Hunters or whatever that show is called. And thankfully a little bit of NBA basketball for truly mindless TV. Jack knows a good amount about the US of A, but we have delved into a thorough history lesson regarding why professional sports teams have particular names. Like the Portland Trailblazers, for example, in homage to Lewis and Clark (in related news, I’m now wrapping up Undaunted Courage which is a very nice read about Lewis and Clarks wild trip across America). Or the LA Lakers formerly being the Minnesota Lakers if I’m not mistaken, but now reside in unlake’ish Los Angeles. Or the Cleveland Cavaleres because apparently they have pirates in Cleveland.
Reciprocating, I know that New Zealand is two islands. Aaaand that’s about all I got. And on that note, today was hard so I’m going to bed.
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