Mighty Rhys, our version of Thor - God of Thunder, shares his experience of stage racing, as a selected member of the Eastern Region Team.
Only a short stage today, but a good opportunity to test the field and to see what kind of competition lurks ahead.
A short spin in the car from the Newport Campus, where most of the riders are staying led us to Llangybi [LLan-guh-bee]. Alex and I hadn't checked out the route for the individual Time Trial, so having found the start point, we set off in the car to drive the 4.2 mile course.
All was well until 3 miles in, when the course turned a sharp left and it was all uphill to the sky. My hopes of powering to an early advantage over a rolling TT course were dashed, and I saw Alex rubbing his hands together with delight. His petite frame was perfectly suited to the last section of the TT and saw him gain 5 seconds on me.
I clocked 12:28, Alex 12:23 - placing us 17th and 10th of a field of 100.
Just got back to my room after a massage. Luxury.
Today wasn't a bad day. I lost no substantial time to my main opponents. However, a break got away very early on the first lap. I saw no GC contenders go away and I am still trying to conserve energy so as not to blow for the hillier stages - so I didn't chase. As the weather closed in on the 2nd lap the gap got bigger and bigger with no organised chase. The rain meant a lot of people had multiple punctures and mechanicals and the A-road sections were a bit sketchy.
I finished 22nd over the line in the first chase bunch with an overall time gap of +2:11 from the leaders - 17th in the GC. I'm hoping that the energy conserved today will help me in the days to come.
Tomorrow is a hard day with an early start. A lumpier and longer circuit, followed by a Team Time Trial in the afternoon.
Garmin data here.