Pupils dilated and blank, vaguely focused on an indeterminate point that no observer will ever see—it’s known as the 1,000-yard stare, a term used to describe the expression of a battle-weary soldier.
When Nathan Brown finally reached the summit atop Mt. Diablo, he had spent nearly 5 hours in the saddle in 90-degree heat. Sweat poured from his body; perspiration had spread and then fixed itself in salt patterns across his jersey; and road grit had somehow found its way onto his face. “I was really suffering from the heat and came undone about 3K from the top,” said Nathan. “I have never been so happy to reach the finish as I was that day.” As a neo-pro coming off a U-23 season, Nathan had to deal with the grueling pace set by the pro peloton as it raced up Mt. Diablo, all the while trying to help keep Garmin-Sharp teammate, Rohan Dennis, in a position to fight for the win. As the stage was determined over the final kilometer at the summit of Mt. Diablo, it was Dennis who surged ahead for the victory, arms raised in celebration. Crossing the line shortly after, Nathan slumped to the ground, exhausted.
For many of us, it will never be the victory but the fight that we get to experience, sometimes just to see the race to its end. “It’s a dream come true for me,” said Nathan. “Ever since I was ten years old, I dreamed of racing on a World Tour team and to finally get my chance is unreal.”
10,900 feet of climbing — 108.5 miles — 90 degree heat
Racing towards the base of Mt. Diablo
Nathan’s teammate, Rohan Dennis, takes the stage win.
Images: Slipstream Sports