2014 Tour of Tasmania Stage 5 Blog: Eric Sheppard

Peloton Cafe || 2014 Tour of Tasmania Stage 5 - Eric Sheppard & Paddy Bevin
Peloton Cafe || 2014 Tour of Tasmania Stage 5 – Eric Sheppard & Paddy Bevin
By Eric Sheppard???health.com.au/search2retain Today was a big day at the Tour of Tasmania, it was time for the inaugural barbecue at the Big4 Ulverstone. The team plan of the day was to finish the race as fast as possible, thus leaving maximum time to prepare for the big … meal. This handily worked alongside our need to defend the yellow jersey, and the third incentive of spots up for grabs for the team at the Noosa criterium. This criterium holds almost mythical status among Australian cyclists and before the stage Peter had let a bombshell loose: we would be competing for spots on the team directly through an intra-team competition – the rider who did the most turns on the front would receive a spot on the team. Fueled by scrambled eggs, and porridge* (covering all bases here with protein and carbs in the one meal), and one moka-pot coffee too many, our moods were only slightly dampened by the overcast day and drive to Burnie, where incidentally our enthusiasm had caused us to be the first team to arrive – for the first, and likely last – time ever. Early in the race, our team leader Paddy made the first play for a Noosa spot, deciding that he would go into breakaway himself and get some turns on the board. Unfortunately for him, he quickly ended up the road solo and realised that in this case it would only count as a single turn, no matter how long it went for. Eventually another breakaway formed, and satisfied that no health.com.au-search2retain riders were inside, and thus able to sneak in some extra turns, we formed up at the front, seemingly in an effort to neutralise ourselves and make sure everyone was on an even footing. This was where the tactics started to come into play, and riders were seen attempting to push back into the train early rather than going to the back of the rotation. At this point we realised that there was actually another race going on, that may have been more important than competing for spots in the Noosa criterium team but we also realised that Peter may have gotten one up on us here and created a team plan without us even realising it! The next challenge of the day were the two ‘walls’ that had been etched into the memory of the riders who had raced the stage the year earlier. We knew this would be the most dangerous part of the race but despite the patches of gravel on earlier descents, the descents here were entirely free of gravel and provided minimal excitement, now that Dobby** had been relegated to the back after his earlier attempt to derail the train with a cleverly disguised de-apexing*** of an unexpected turn in the road. At this point the riders further down in the intra-team competition realised they could still thwart the plan, and tried to convince (through a carefully devised system of brake cables and bidons) the breakaway to come back – thus rendering all further turns moot. Unfortunately for them, the breakaway had other ideas, possibly even attempting to make up spots within their own intra team competitions! As we neared the final 10 kilometres of the race a number of us were neck and neck in the turn-ranking, but as we neared the end Paddy decided to take matters into his own hands and do another turn, ensuring that he finished on equal total time with Canty and Bayley. The result was a number of rounds of rock-paper-scissors and some choice words to decide who would finally prevail for the spot. To find out the eventual winner you’ll have to stay tuned for the race in Noosa itself, and see who is selected for the team! * Porridge: The official breakfast of the team, made with an exact ratio of 1:1:1, oats:water:milk, as deduced after many highly unscientific experiments. ** Dobby: Our staigiere rider, actually called Sam Dobbs, but affectionately nicknamed Dobby given he shares a name and likeness with Dobby the house elf. As he was given team socks at the start of the week he is definitely a free elf and hence S.P.E.W approved. *** de-apexing: The opposite of apexing a corner, where one attempts to take the longest and least direct line possible. Keep up to date with the health.com.au ? search 2 retain team via their website and on Twitter ? @S2R_Health

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