Today was one of them hard days on the bicycle, as expected. I think that I reached the cracking point multiple times on many occasions, but each time Ebert and Stewart said some antics over the race radio that pulled me through the stage. Some nice quotes:
"Ryan, I'm eating your bread right now, and it's delicious." --Bret
"Nice work boys, we've got the van stocked full with beer and hoes just for you after this stage!" --Ebert
So today's stage was the Queen stage, some big climbs and some sketchy gravel roads. All in all it was nice and hard, and I managed to hang on the last climb at mile 90 and stay with the second group on the road for the 20km descent to the finish line, fast enough to keep my U23 leaders jersey.
So the race director never actually gave me a jersey to wear on today's stage--he "misplaced" it I guess? So I actually didn't wear the jersey today, so the only thing keeping me going on those long Cat 1 climbs today was the thought of loosing the jersey I never actually got to wear! How that would have sucked. But it was enough motivation to keep things rolling and finish in time.
My teammate Alex today was a stud on the climbs, all 125 lbs of him. On the final cat 1 climb up Reed's Gap near the finish, he paced me all the way up just 15 seconds behind the leaders. I tried to talk to him, but he was so focused he actually told me "to just shut up!" on the climb. I guess I talk too much when I'm hurting?
Tomorrow's stage has a lot of rolling hills, and looks good for a breakaway. We'll see what goes down, time to rest up.