Stage 2 – 129km Murwillumbah to Murwilumbah
Today was a hard day with hills, heavy rain and rough roads. Honestly today was one of the harder stages I have done in the NRS due to the accumulation of conditions making you feel nice and uncomfortable but hey we all had the same conditions and course.
2km this is how far we made it before the heavens opened and the bike race turned into a swimming race. We rolled out from the start and everything was looking great until we turned right and then headed for the dark clouds dumping rain in the distance.
6km as the rain was set in and we weren’t going to be drying out anytime soon the pace was on and riders were nervously grabbing a hand full of breaks trying to clear the water off their rims. There was an oncoming car stopped on the right side of the road and as the riders struggled to slow down and move to the left side of the road there was a touch of with a rider coming down.
40km the rain had finally eased and the roads were starting to dry as we made our way back into town for the first of what would be a three lap race. The roads were rough and with the thick tree cover it made the road slippery with visibility dropping due to spray from rider’s everywhere. It surprises me that no one got seriously injured and there weren’t any crashes.
50km I had finally decided that it was safe enough to take my sunglasses off and remove the front tinted lenses which left me riding blind for a bit as I usually wear glasses. Because of the heavy rain and the heat from my body, In-between my Prescription lenses and sunglasses had fogged up and wasn’t clearing which made it very hard to see and almost impossible. I mostly completed the first lap by following the white numbers on the back of the riders because that’s about all I could make out.
60km Avanti racing were still on the front just taking care of things as per a normal NRS tour. This made the pace a lot more constant because it deterred any attacks from other team as they wouldn’t get far out in front and then just give up and return to the peloton.
90km we came into town with the large majority of the peloton still intact, surprisingly not being split as we had already completed climbing over the range in the two previous laps. The next 10 kms were along the flat sugar cane field with the peloton sitting on about 47km/h leading into the final climbs.
98km I floated around the bunch and started to move up on the early parts of the climb as I knew it was easier to move up early because when I gets stretched out it’s 5 times harder to move up. I climbed through some people that looked like they were suffering and the rain started to come down again because it wasn’t already hard enough. Descending wasn’t the finest of times for me today as I couldn’t seem to generate the speed and hold it like other riders were. I don’t know if it because I’m don’t have much meat on my bones or what but I seemed to always be pedaling just trying to hold the wheel when other riders would just freewheel. Anyway back to the story. It turns out that there was another two small climbs after the first and I didn’t quite see them on the course profile so I learnt my lesson the hard way there.
110km I found myself chasing hard trying to claw my way back into the peloton but I just couldn’t get the last 20 meters and found myself like a yo-yo in the convoy until I couldn’t chase anymore. I was with another racing Kangaroos rider and he had the same thought without even saying a word we both knew it was over and that we would just be riding tempo back to the finish. With a bit over 5km to go we went past a marshal that just looked at us so we continued along the road were I happened to look back to see a bunch of riders behind us being told by the same marshal to turn onto another road so we quickly turned and chased back onto the group of about 10 or so riders and rolled into the finish about 6 minutes down on the winner Jesse Kerrison.
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