By Colin Patterson
Locked and loaded after a successful Rum Punch Picnic we were ready for the final stage of Tour of Tobago. Preparing ourselves for 75 miles with 10k of climbing we moseyed ourselves to the start in Scarborough for the earliest start yet. In traditional Caribbean fashion we started right on (island) time.
The goals for the day included getting as many of our climbers into the front group as possible, snag as many KOM points for Brad, and to survive to the finish. As we quickly found out on the first KOM we were in for a day of hard climbing and mind boggling steep descents.
All but one of us made it over the first KOM together, with Brad able to snag some KOM points. Along the twisting road running along the coast we tried to recover and prepare for the onslaught of five more back to back to back brutal KOMs.
The second KOM slashed the group down to around 20-25 riders with Brad able to win a few more KOM points. After a quick descent we reached the beginning of the third climb where we all looked at each other and realized some of us might have to walk this. Shifting down into the granniest of granny gears we could we put our heads down and dug as hard as we could to stay at the front. In the end there was only one speed we could go, it definitely wasn’t fast but I guess it wasn’t too slow as we soon formed a group of seven including Brad and me, with Josh slightly off the front.
Brad managed to win the available KOM points as we crested the wall. This descent foreshadowed what was to come as all of us had issues. With a group not too far behind us, we pushed it on the descent to stay away. The slick, steep roads led some of the group into overshooting one the sharp turns and even resulted in the race leader flatting.
On the next climb our team car went ahead to get into position for desperately needed bottle handoffs. Unfortunately those were never to come, as the descents proved to be too much for both the team car’s and my brakes. When the brakes on our team car started to go out on a steep descent with a precipitous drop into the ocean, Dustin and the rest of our crew were forced pile into the bed of another team’s truck while I was forced to inch my way down after taking a small tumble on one of the sharp turns as my front brake pads had disappeared entirely during the previous wet descents. As if written by Lemony Snicket, this series capitalized with both Brad and Josh flatting out the lead group, as they were unable to get spare wheels from our team car, which was now parked on the side of the road on a remote corner of the island.
Upon finally arriving at the finish we discovered Josh and Sean were able to pick off what was left of much of the field and sprint for a very respectable 6th and 7th place to make up for much of the bad luck. And at the very least we got to see every beautiful corner of Tobago, preparing us for our inevitable return next year for revenge.