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Phil Gaimon diary: Groupetto! Groupetto! Embedded reporting from ToC Stage 4

I took an Ambien to help me fall asleep last night. When I woke up 11 hours later, I was pretty sure someone had broken into the hotel room and beaten the crap out of me in my sleep. Then I realized I was at the Tour of California, and I had done it to myself by getting the early break, and by becoming a pro cyclist in general.

Luckily, I had a chance to rest today, with no real job but try to recover. Looking at the race bible this morning, it was pretty clear that the GC guys would go for it on Mount Hamilton, and I just needed to make it to that point, where the groupetto would form. As predicted, the early break never got too far. Our very own Jim Stemper threw down with the world champ and a few other big names in the break.

The course was consistently tough, with lots of climbing, and downhills that were tight enough that they didn’t allow for a ton of recovery. I spent the time counting down the miles until the base of Hamilton. At that point, the groupetto formed, and it was just an easy ride for us, while Chris Horner was wiping the floor with the rest with all the GC riders.

Speaking of the fact that I’m too tired for transitions, tomorrow’s a long one at 217k. I’ll be sitting in bed until then, most likely wearing nothing but a towel (if you’d like to picture it, which I don’t recommend, start with a farmer’s tan). Luckily, the atmosphere with the team (and all teams at this sort of race) has rider recovery as the primary goal. When the race is over, food and drink are waiting for me in the RV. When I get to the hotel, they hand me my room key, and my bags are already there, along with a room list, and a massage schedule. All the meals are provided by the race, but there’s a small buffet in the massage room, with cereal and snacks.

I had a few comments yesterday correcting my power numbers. I can assure you, my Quarq Cinqo is quite accurate. If 5400 kilojoules doesn’t sound like a lot of calories, you’re not familiar the conversion from KJs burned on the bike to calories, which factors metabolic efficiency (works out to roughly a 1-1 ratio). I was an English major, but there’s a good explanation here: http://www.cadencecycling.com/CMSFiles/Kilojoules.pdf
Phil Gaimon is a 25-year-old VeloNews columnist and third-year pro racer for Kenda-5 Hr Energy Presented by Gear Grinder. He has an English degree from the University of Florida, and owns online stores at podiumcycling.com and sharethedamnroad.com.

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