As lactic acid rain came down over the town of Agonia, 2,366 Sufferlandrians from around the world began the first stage of the Tour of Sufferlandria.
With a leisurely preamble through the town, where Sufferlandrian flags flew from every home, the riders had a chance to reflect on the off-season, trade insults with each other and look forward to a glorious 9 day beating each other into the ground.”How fitting for the start of the tour!” said Jessica Gray. “Hungover, doing the tour in the middle of a split shift and it just started thunder and lightening!”
As the pace began to quicken, there was a quick and unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome, detour into a local kitchen for some cooking lessons. At this point, some riders were under the wrong impression about Stage 1 – such as Niclas Schönning “After a the warmup I thought this should be easy but I was wrong. Last ten minutes was as promised by Sufferfest.”
As soon as the pack pulled out of the kitchen, a break went up the road with Tommy Voeckler and Geert Steegmans, along with a host of other riders from visiting teams like Sky, Omega-Pharma and Europcar. The Sufferlandrians latched on and through the howling cross-winds, over the cobbles and bergs and under a torrential rain, went blow for blow with the world’s best professionals. After sitting on the back of the break all day, Voeckler was motivated to attack after passing a school in which the young children had written “VOECKLER = COUCHLANDRIAN” on a large sign. The break hesitated and only the Sufferlandrian went with him. It was a nail-biting, chamois twisting finish thanks to a fast closing group of chasers and a long, drawn-out sprint finish — but it appears the Sufferlandrian took the victory.
Pulled over in the finish village, a few riders were able to stop heaving long enough to offer their thoughts on the stage: “I literally had to use the puke bucket today,” said Cameron Ghia. “First trainer workout where I puked. Which was a drag because the 30 seconds I spent puking temporarily dropped my heart rate.” Overhearing this, Arran Ironman Mckee, chimed in “Too many nails prior to the start saw me throw up into a bucket, needing to stay hydrated prior to ISLAGIATT tomorrow, I drank the contents. Game On.”
From his position on the ground, Rider Gary Moad, said “I only came off rollers once right after the finish. My finish line crash only increased my suffering as the chasing riders finished by rolling over me. But I still finished in front. Muhahahahahaaaa!” Heading back into town, Bob Williams was thinking of recovery: “Great First Stage. Time to reward the Suffering with a beer!
Other rider comments:
Matt Green: “Couldn’t help noticing the doctor’s dainty hands this morning. Could we request a Sufferlandrian troll doing the exam, to enhance the suffering, next time?”
James Tyson: “Hmm, that didn’t go to plan. Took it a bit easy due to a cold. Had a few dips where I had to reach for the tissues and blow my nose. FTP still up 8W. Time to visit doping control…”
Charles Sagerstrom: “Do not lean into corner when on trainer – even if you are on Voeckler’s wheel…”
Photos from around the Tour (post yours on our Facebook or Twitter feeds and we’ll pick some to post each day)…
Some riders think the glory of past accomplishments would help them through the Tour. How wrong they are…
Even the mountain bikers came to the ToS — in the muddy conditions today, it was a good choice of bike…
Some riders even brought their families…this young child has just put her stick down after offering mom ‘encouragement.’
The relief of finishing Stage 1 was apparent on all the riders faces…
Coach Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching designed the route for Stage 2. If you see him in the pack and fee like ‘thanking’ him, we will look the other way….