Ciclissimo! is back on the road with Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. We’ll be following the fortunes of their new stagiaire, 25 year old Isle of Man native, Sam Brand. Sam had been making waves – most probably in the swim leg – on the National and European triathlon circuit (ignore my flippancy, silver in the 2015 British Championships is no joke) before switching solely to cycling for 2016. Already on the TNN radar after his strong tri’ results, Sam secured himself a place on their development squad and continued to impress. A mid-season call up to a hard fought, seven-day mountainous stage race debut with the Team Novo Nordisk full pro-squad is his reward. Ciclissimo! will be following Sam first-hand on this journey through the Hollywood-Western ‘big country’ vistas of America’s mountain belt.
Stage 4: South Jordan City, 199km
Stage 4 saw the race pelt through Tooele County in the hoof-steps of the old Pony Express, the fledgling band of intrepid mailmen that carried the mail throughout the wild west and would eventual become the mighty United States Postal Service of today. A useful looking break of six riders with a decent gap to the bunch rather inexplicably conspired to snatch defeat from the jaws of quite possible victory with around 40km to go. Holowesko/Citadel Racing P/B Hincapie Sportswear said “Why – Thank you, Ma’am!” and duly took their second bunch gallop victory with John Murphy. Team Novo Nordisk’s Fabio Calabria was in at the sharp-end and crossed the line with a nice top-ten place; Sam crossed the line knowing he’d been in a bike race…
It was a hard, fast day – I struggled early on. Today was not my day. The first hour and a half was crazy. I don’t think the break went until 60-70 kilometers. It was all about digging in and just knowing I was going to suffer. It was crazy. In the finale it was typical American crit-style, which I haven’t done many of this year, so it was a throwback into that type of racing. It was hard and I focused on sticking to a wheel as long as I could. I tried to move up and help Fabio and my teammates, but I don’t think I was much help in that. Basically, I ended up just trying to hold onto the group for as long as I could.
It’s about keeping it together mentally – I knew that if I didn’t keep going that I would regret it. So basically it was all about accepting it is going to hurt and deciding you are okay with that.
It was super hot – There were times that the winds seemed to stop and it felt like you were burning alive. I kept reminding myself that it was the same for everyone. I actually do quite well in the heat, but today you could feel it really beating down on you. It was all about staying hydrated so you really needed to drink lots.
And now, time to recover – I need a nap. Today was tough and tomorrow is another today. I suffered through today, so hopefully that will be my advantage tomorrow. I hope I can turn it over and make it another successful day.
All Photo Credits: VeloImages