Tour de Korea day 4 – 137k

Just back from dinner with the team at the main hotel.  Unfortunately for us we had to make a 30minute pilgrimige into town as we’re out at ‘sex’ hotel number 2 (a long way from anywhere).  My guess on the frequency of our dodgy accommo thus far is a consequence of a lack of international tourism and a demand for domestic-dirty-gettaway hotels.

Now’s a good time to introduce the team – they did a good job for me today:

Sam, big Sam, a team mate from way back (Laurie Dawe Cycles circa 2007; the year he single handedly helped me win the Benchmark Homes Series).  Sam’s got some decent form at the moment (he got 2nd at GrapeRide and won both the Canterbury Time Trial and Road Race champs last weekend).

Matt Gorter.  Amuses us with his ‘Tron’ (a.k.a. Hamiliton) venacular.  For example, every sentence must end in ‘oi’. Ginger too boot.

Nick Lovegrove. Grover.  The Grovler.  All round good guy despite him being an Aucklander, a Auckland lawyer.  Get’s the job done.

Wes. Westley. International track star and current New Zealand Elite Time Trial champion.  Reputation for a quick wit.

Jas.  Big Jas. Jason is leaving us tomorrow after graciously donating his wheel to Wes (after Wes punctured) on stage 2; and not so graciously having to wait 3mins for neutral service wheel.  Didn’t get back on to the main group, a problem on a 220k stage… after 20k.

Today’s stage:

Starting with rain and wind, only 1 categorised climb, no sprint points on offer – opportunity for a false sense of security/chance to woose out of racing hard.  Well a few people were spat (including Matt), but fortunately it came back together.  Climb wasn’t too hard.  I actually looked forward to it given it was fricken cold!  For so much of our preparation we were warned of freezing temperatures.  It’s been anything but.  Until…. we crossed the ‘magic meteorological’ border and now we’re into cold territory for the first time in the race.  I can’t get over how ‘cold’ this country does feel (figuratively rather than literally, except now it’s both) – kind of everything seems stuck in ‘sepia’ perspective.  Grey.  Think communist Eastern block.  That seems a bit unfair given South Korea is the antithesis of North Korea communism.  That’s why I guess it comes as a bit of a surprise to me…

Anyway… the race.  Finished in the bunch, as did my team mates (who did a stellar job of pacing me back up to the bunch after my two punctures – I double hit a cateye in the middle of the road – cateyes here are metal monstrosities!).  Gearing up for tomorrow – a decisive day for sprint ace!

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