The race was 57 miles and had two climbs for each lap (a 3 lap race). The first climb was at my limit for what I can sustain with other climbers and the second climb had the top part of the climb over my limits with about 3/4 of a mile being around 10% average grade.
The first lap went well...I felt comfortable for the whole lap but did get dropped on the second climb. However, there was a steep downhill just after and I was able to latch back on fairly quickly.
On the second lap, just after cresting the first climb we were going downhill at around 35 mph. Apparently a rock was bouncing around in the peloton and I was in the back of the pack...the last rider to hit the rock popped it up and it clocked me square between the eyes leaving a nice little divot in my nose which lead to a little bleeding along the way.
The rest of the lap went much like the first lap. I got dropped on the second climb, but was able to latch back on, though this time it took a little longer as the pack attacked a little on the downhill.
At the start of the third lap I still felt OK...but heading up the first climb I faded back a little too far and a gap formed between me and the main pack. The next thing I knew I had the wind in my face and I was falling back. I hit the downhill with everything I had trying to latch on...but my teammate who was in second had an opportunity to jump from the field forming a 4 man break...which caused the rest of the peloton to attack. I was chasing at speeds anywhere from 26-40 mph and not gaining any ground. I was trying to catch drafts (though not jumping in behind them) off of cars and still couldn't make a dent.
By the time I made the turn heading to the second climb I had lost about a minute. From there I decided to shut it down and ride tempo in hopes to save some energy for the ITT and crit tomorrow.
I haven't seen the results posted but it looks like I finished about 8 minutes behind the winner...and my teammate who took 2nd on the stage. I don't know if we dropped anybody else during the first two laps...which I think we might have...but I'm pretty sure I was the last guy across the finish line in the 3's.
I was hoping to finish with the pack, but I knew I was going to struggle a little on the climbs...which eventually bit me. It's hard to say how the crash two weeks effected me during the stage because overall I felt like I had good power, I just don't have good power/weight ratio right now and had I been able to keep my regular training schedule feel I would have been a bit stronger and 2-3 pounds lighter. Spending 4 days on the couch the week before a stage race isn't really helpful to keeping weight off or keeping your fitness.
I feel pretty good though and hopefully will have plenty for the ITT and crit tomorrow. I'd like to make some time up tomorrow if possible, even though I know I'll still be low in the overall standings, and if I can get my sprint on...maybe able to do well in the crit.