“My eyelids are sticky.”
“I guess it’s from all the sunscreen and sweat, but I feel it every time I blink.”
Those were the first words we’d spoken in half an hour. Twenty kilometers earlier, Tom Dumoulin and I had been at sea level. Now we were pushing past 6,000 feet of elevation, well into the sixth hour of a ride front and back-loaded with intervals, a bit dehydrated and riding more on willpower than carbohydrates. We chugged onward, neither of us willing to surrender the half-wheel battle as we pulled ourselves lower into the headwind, riding that razor’s edge of bonking, and unaware of the scenery around us as we climbed through lava fields on Tenerife. The interminable slog to the point at which we could finally coast back to the hotel never seemed to get closer, and we suffered in silence, except for the odd observation about sticky eyelids.