ToA Stage 3 – Grande Cache to Miette Hot Springs

imagePanic. Slept in. Managed to miss two alarms. 45 mins. behind and haven’t even started to pack the tent. We don’t know if we will be able to turn right out of the campground and get up to the finish and they are closing the road at 8am. I’m thinking the closure is at Highway 16 but best not take a chance.

We make the corner at 7:30, 32 minutes to pack, and 30 minutes ahead of any fellow in red that might appear. We reach the top and things are in full swing. There really isn’t much room up here. We drive right past everyone like we own the place and park way in the back near the picnic area. Waking up late does not allow time for breakfast so we pull out all the supplies, clear the snow off the table and eat. No one says boo. The temperature has risen slightly from the 4 C and it just might be a pleasant day.

Scouting out the best spot to watch the race on the way up we leave our spot and park just outside the 300M barriers in the gravel off the side of the road. This is going to be the spot from where we watch the race. I think the riders that want a stage win will try from here.

A couple of hours are whiled away in the RAV 4 reading. The hot pool beckons. It is warm, real warm, they say  40 C. It is nice to have heat deep inside our bodies for the first time in 3 days. Clean and warm we eat lunch in the lobby of the pool.

1pm and the race appears real time on the big screen TV at the finish line. 1/2 hour later and the obnoxious announcer screams at us. Generally knowledgeable guy but his announcing style is in your face and frankly not needed north of the 49th. We persevere for another 1/2 hour or so, the riders are at the bottom of the climb and it is time to take up station.

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The flashing lights are in the distance, the riders appear. Make noise and cheer. The climb has had a devastating effect on the peloton. It has been ripped to shreds. A group of 15, then 5, ones and twos, another small group, and on and on. The time gaps will be big and the race is on.

Tomorrow is another day to pull out some time but today’s stage was hard and there will be some tired legs.

The face says it all.

The face says it all.

 

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