Mike Simpson

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 2

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Stage 2 started much the same way as Stage 1 ended… in torrential rain. A minor course detour meant that all riders had to be escorted through a long by pass tunnel - at this stage my previous relaxed nature continued a bit too much as I had neglected to really study the days profile. Cribbing an early draft email of the route I had circled the Bondone as the 1st timed climb of the day. I hoofed it up in the rain with maximum effort for the entire 16K only to realise at the top that it wasn't a timed climb at all. Oops 64 minutes of effort, nevermind. An awesome 20K descent followed as the rain finally stopped and the sun came out.

The first actual timed climb of the day was the Compet, a rather nice wooded climb. Despite my earlier unnecessary exertion I managed to climb strongly, aided by the Rapha film crew. Depleted I was looking forward to the next feed zone but my lax attitude meant that I had no idea when this was going to be. With no food or water I started to struggle - the feed stop could not come quick enough but it seemed to take forever. Food, on such long stages is the riders best friend. When I finally got there I made sure I stayed as long as possible and ate as much as possible. Over the course of 10 days some riders start off strong and fade, whilst for others it is the opposite - one rider at this station was already in all sorts of trouble - low on energy but seemingly unable to eat a bunch of grapes properly… the same rider would become super strong in a few days. I really should have studied the profile better but learnt a lesson - 99 miles done with 36 still to with 2 big climbs. Whilst at this station, we learnt that 1 rider had been knocked off by a car 1K from the feed stop. We stayed there waiting to hear news - police were on the scene, the rider was ok and an 80€ fine was being issued - however the odd Italian system meant it was the rider getting the fine and not the driver! The 2nd timed climb of the day (my 3rd), was the Brocon on which I rode hard and emptied the tank. I could descend the final 24K to our hotel knowing I'd worked hard.


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