Phil Gaimon Journal: California, the showoff state

Phil Gaimon enjoyed riding past redwoods, the ocean, and more during stage 4 at the Tour of California

Wednesday’s stage 4 at the Amgen Tour of California might have been the most scenic race I’ve ever done. We raced through some redwoods, and then along the ocean all day, with some fun twisty sections, and not too much climbing. Sometimes, the state of California just turns into a showoff, and today was one of those. But don’t move here. It’s already too expensive.

Garmin-Sharp had a pretty low-stress day, keeping Rohan out of trouble and keeping each other cool and hydrated. I like Tyler Farrar a lot, but it is nice racing without a sprinter because it meant we really got to chill out today.

 Most of the stress was after we got our feedbags. Skratch Labs makes these awesome rice cakes for all the teams, and guys barter pretty hard to get the ones they want. You can have my “savory” bar, but I won’t trade for less than a sweet and an ice sock. I also had some peanut butter chocolate Harmony Bars, but those will cost you a kidney and your first-born child.

The breakaway stuck, which is pretty funny. All those sprinter teams had one job. It seemed like it was close enough that it would be easy to drag it back whenever they wanted, but a ripping tailwind helped them out, and suddenly there were 10km to go and they still had two minutes. Fine with us. Will Routley is a really nice dude, and a hell of a bike rider. Since we were sprinting for sixth or seventh, it just made the finale that much safer.

I’m typing from the bed in the back of the RV as we head to another hotel in … I don’t know where we’re going. It’s getting to be that time of the stage race where it’s hard to remember what room you’re in, or which hotel the key in your pocket is from today and which is from yesterday. I got lost trying to find the massage room, and when I was heading back from dinner last Tuesday night, I saw Nate Brown going down the hallway away from our block of rooms.

“Where are you going Nate?” I asked, figuring he was visiting a friend on another team. “I don’t know!” he yelled.

Alex Howes is almost back to normal, folks. After a long few days in the bathroom and trying to stay fueled on the bike, he says he’s feeling alright. It’ll be hard to gain strength mid-race, so a 100 percent Alex Howes isn’t likely, but it’s nice to see some color in his face again.

Someone read my blog from yesterday and brought grits to the start. I just finished those. I’ve also been getting lots of cookies. Somehow people found out that I enjoy chocolate chip cookies. If you’re looking to bring gifts to the start later today, I also like suitcases full of cash, and I’d love a piano.