Stage 5 Seaside/Paso Robles

We "cheated" a bit today. The full route was 137 miles with close to 10,000' of climb. The pros were scheduled to start at 9:15 and unless we just skipped sleeping the night before, we weren't going to be able to get a 3 hour head start. Everyone wanted to have a fighting chance to finish, so we elected to spot the pros about 30 minutes but start 33 miles down the course at the top of Carmel Valley Rd. We had hoped to gain a bit more time, but with only 30 minutes + the miles, the day turned into the most taxing so far and was  true sufferfest for almost everyone. 

We stayed together as a full group at a fast 21.5 mph pace for the 1st 50 miles. Then the group started breaking up when we hit the big steep rollers and started climbing. About 8 of us ended up as a small group behind the main group. We all  still were determined to beat the peloton to the finish line.  Fortunately, CTS coach Jim Lehman stayed with us and with his help and encouragement we succeeded; covering the full 103 miles in 5:09 with only 18 minutes of stops. This was by far the toughest day for me and I question whether I would have made it without the help, teamwork and encouragement of Jim and the teammates with me. I think we all had a great sense of relief and accomplishment when we reached the finish in Paso Robles. Team CTS shined, if at the cost of digging deeply, today! Matt with Amgen and Andrew Messick, CEO of AEG Sports, the ToC organizer, rode with us today. From all indications, they gained a full appreciation for what our team was experiencing and accomplishing.

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