Stage/Finish: Frascati › Terracini
Distance: 140 kilometers (flat)
Weather: Dumping Rain
The guys who did the Giro last year kept telling me they didn’t have a day of rain. Today alone made up for a completely dry 2018 race. It dumped on us all day.
We were wet even before the start as race organizers required all the team busses to leave 30 minutes before the start. A couple hundred skinny guys in Lycra packed under a teeny tent with a few wet chairs wasn’t my idea of taking care of the “the world’s best cyclists.” We tried our best to laugh at the ridiculousness of it as umbrella-protected spectators waved for us to pose for pictures as a fence separated us. It felt like being animals in a zoo.
We started with a couple tough climbs (for the Asheville folks, think Elk Mountain and Town Mountain) and I think I wasn’t the only one relieved when there wasn’t a massive battle for the early break. It was still very tense over those climbs and down the descents as the rain made visibility really challenging and the roads were littered with massive holes and cracks. We spent some energy to keep Simon up at the front and stayed out of the scrum in the middle of the bunch.
From there a long gradual downhill caused the rain and cold to really sink in, and I don’t think I was comfortable for the rest of the day. I changed both of the jackets I was wearing to fresh ones from the car but was still cold and wet. The rain was relentless and the filthy water spraying up from the road was even worse.
We saw some nice consideration for our safety when the race officials when they decided to take GC time after the first crossing of the finish line, a definite perk of having a circuit finish format. Seeing the massive amounts of standing water on the circuit, I think this was a good call and the fans still were treated to an intense sprint battle that basically like water skiing or wakeboarding when I watched the replay.
Tomorrow things will get heavy as we do another 240 kilometers with a mountainous amount of climbing. It’s almost 700 km away, but I’m already setting my sights on that Stage 9 TT where I’ll enjoy a calm solo ride and try to bank a little recovery. It will be needed with these next three days.