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by Scott Penzarella on August 21, 2012
Col de la Croix de Fer - Col du Glandon
We awoke to a spectacular day in the Maurienne valley. After breakfast we all changed and met down at the team car for some photos and getting our bikes ready. It was a very festive mood with 60 plus riders , camera crews, logistical staff and the star of the show Carlos Sastre, 2008 Tour de France winner and lead pro for the Trois Etapes event.Each team would set out at three minute intervals. Our Endless Ascent team would be team number nine today so while we waited our turn we took the time to take some photos with Carlos Sastre and acknowledge a couple of our sponsors.
We knew that going into this race that our strongest riders for the three day event would obviously be our assigned pro, Craig Lewis, Scott and Thomas. It would be up to Chris Maddox, Craig Parker or myself to step up and be the all important 4th rider. Whilst we were all willing, we knew that it would only be determined once we were out on the road and whoever felt the best. Our start time was rapidly approaching so while some of us were dancing with "butterflies" Craig Lewis sent some tweets and our team captain,Thomas, checked with our team car for any last minute instructions.
The moment of truth was upon us as we were called to the line and told we had one minute to our start time. For me, it was a very nervous moment. "Was I ready? Had I trained enough?" What I did know going into this was that I didn't want to let down my teammates. Before I had a chance to question anything else we were told to GO !
And we were off. Craig Lewis and Scott set the initial pace and the rest of us tucked in behind. My race was nearly over before we really got rolling. My nervousness must have got the best of me for a moment as I caught some gravel and almost went down. I caught myself but not before my heart rate shot up about 50 bpm. That cured me of the butterflies and I was quickly back in our group.
We continued a fast pace for a couple of miles, and it soon became evident that Chris was the stronger of the three of us and it would be up to him to fill the 4th spot. Craig and I said our goodbyes as the four pushed on towards the summit. We would conserve our energy and vie to race anther day
Craig and I let off on the throttle and decided to conserve our energy for the next 2 stages. As we continued to climb we rode through a number of small villages and passed various riders from other teams.
It took us about one and a half hours to reach the summit where we were greeted by our teammates. It was great to see them and find out that they had finished fifth on the day.