Julian Dean Diary
2009 Giro d'Italia: Hot And Hard
The last few days haven't been particularly enjoyable. And in fact, that would be describing them generously kind.
Normally I’m not too bothered by the heat but it has been a real ‘boil-up’ here and I have been uncharacteristically suffering in it.
Stage 13 to Firenze was the last show for the sprinters and the last chance for us to dial our lead-out for Tyler before he quit the race. While we did our best one yet, it wasn't enough for the result that we wanted. It wasn’t the fact that our lead-out wasn’t good enough; it basically come down to a little bit of a lot of stuff that didn’t guite go perfectly.
It’s been a little strange for me trying to get it together in the sprints with the other lads. I’m normally used to working alone so it’s taking a bit for us to figure things out. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that when you have a lead-out train, every carriage has to get it exactly right. There’s no room for error and if a carriage comes up short, the whole train is screwed. The timing has to be perfect.
We have improved it a lot over the Giro so I hope that when we arrive at the Tour we’ll be able to pick up where we left off. I’m sure that when we do start to get it right, we’re going to be a hard team to beat.
From there we’ve had three dirty mountain stages that have been hot and hard where just surviving has been enough of a mission for us non-climbers. The hardest day was yesterday which took us guys in the grupetto, 8hrs to complete. Collectively we were a pretty ugly sight and there was a lot of suffering going on. The 5 of us left in the team went through over 150 water bottles. It was one of the most brutal days that I’ve ever spent on the bike. It consisted of 5500m of climbing in temperatures ranging from 32deg to a max of 38deg. On the second to last climb of the day, which was 13km long, I remember looking down at my computer, and not seeing more than 10km/hr most of the climb and at times my speed was down to 8km/hr. We were a sorry-arse sight to behold.
Anyway, it was another day and another epic for the grandkids’ story time one day. To finish the day off, we had a classic 3 hour ‘Giro-transfer’ to the hotel in our bus - which has a broken air conditioner. So as you can imagine, we were all in pretty good spirits by the time we got to the hotel at 10.30pm!
The whole team here at Roadcycling.com wishes you great success in the 2009 Giro Julz! Burn rubber!