The last time I was in Lugano was ten years ago for the mountain bike world championships, we ate pizza and gelato, it is the Italian region of Switzerland after all. This time around, it’s stage 1 of the Tour de Suisse. I was the first rider to start, and dead last to finish. And I went as hard as I could go!
Results don’t always tell the whole story, and for me, today’s goal was to just finish the race within the time cut, and be able to start tomorrow. I have spent the last couple days with the flu, and it hasn’t been very much fun. Last night I tossed and turned for 14 hours in a sweaty feverish haze. I think I was a solid 10 lbs underweight this morning, just empty, but today I’m filling the tank back up and am on the mend. I was pretty sure I was out of this tour before it began, but now am thinking I might just have a chance.
The Tour de Suisse is the biggest race we’ve ever done, and I don’t want to miss out on the action. I think tomorrow will be the big challenge for me. It is 220 km long, the first pass is over 6000 ft high and the finish is in Verbier, at about 5500 ft of elevation. Again, my goal is to finish in the time cut. If I can get through tomorrow, I should have enough time to refill the body and get stronger as the tour goes on.
Now it’s time for bed to try and sleep it off.
When we arrived in Luxembourg a few days ago we instantly noticed how green it was. It’s like a jungle out there! It was sunny and pleasant for the first few days, but we assumed they must get some decent rain to be so lush. Well today we experienced the Luxembourg weather first hand. It was a torrential downpour for the race. Just unreal, bucketing down the likes of which you would expect to see in a movie about the rainforest.
Luckily it wasn’t too cold, and the racing was hard and fast, so we kept warm by hammering. I’m pretty cooked now, all I can say is that I hope this was the push needed to get prepped and ready for Tour de Suisse next week.
We’re back in Europe! After a few glorious weeks at home we’re back at it. We have the 5 day Tour of Luxembourg, followed by the 9 day Tour de Suisse. Luxembourg begins tonight with the prologue, it’s short, technical and finishes with a super steep climb on cobbles. I’m looking forward to it, I like those short little prologues, but they hurt like crazy!
We are jet lagging pretty good here, mid afternoon is when we all suddenly crash and want to sleep really bad! It’s kind of funny how all of a sudden everyone looks like they are about to just pass out.
For a ride this morning Ryan and I did a few laps of the prologue course, then we went on a mission to find coconut water and beet juice. These are not easy items to find in Europe, but after riding around to 6 or 8 stores we found a Bio store with both! We came back, got the car, drove there and bought a few cases, so we are now stoked up on our beverages to see us through the race.
All in all a pretty good little morning. Now it’s time to get out there and go to work!
We are at an awesome hotel today, after the race I swam in the Med Sea, and the dinner is unreal. Here is the sign posted over one of the dishes served at dinner:
You gotta love translations!
The race, well after a relatively comfortable day today, I think tomorrow will be war out there….
The view out of our hotel room window:
And this is the nice side of racing a bike!
Update on Lacombe: His injuries are not good, but he is OK, and able to fly home tomorrow for some serious recovery time. We all wish him the best and a smooth recovery.
The race started today with all the usual drama. Seven out of eight of us are at some stage of a cold/ sore throat, so we went in hoping for the best from a bunch of sickies. I decided to roll the breakaway. The idea was to go in several breakaways this week, and go for the Turkish Beauties Intermediate sprint jersey competition. In the process I’d also go for a stage win from a breakaway that sticks to the line. Well I got the breakaway part down, but I lost the sprint for the Beauties jersey. So no points today.
After that I came back to the field in the final lap to see Guillaume had crashed and hurt his hand, but was still riding. Then in the final sprint there was a massive crash taking out half the field, and Kevin Lacombe went down in that one. Both of the boys are at the hospital right now, and we are anxiously waiting to see how they are. Kevin has had way more than his fair share of crashes in the last while, so our fingers are crossed that it’s nothing too serious.
We are here! We left belgium at 7:00 am yesterday, and got into the hotel in Turkey at 2:00 AM. That was a long travel day.
We flew here as a team with 74 pieces of luggage. 74 pieces!
This picture give you a rough idea of the truckload of gear we have with us in Turkey, it’s a bit ridiculous.
The weather is awesome and the race starts tomorrow, right now we’re off to the team presentation. Good times.
Tuesday it was Paris-Camambert. In the rain. Thursday it was GP Denain. In the rain.
Sunday it’s Tro Bro Leon. Rain or shine it doesn’t matter, with 25 sections of dirt road it should be epic no matter what.
Road racing can be dirty! But the team is riding great, the legs feel good and we’re having fun, it’s a good week.
So tonight it’s chicken curry! Ryan A, Ryan R, and myself, are lucky to have spent the last week in a home-stay here in Kuurne Belgium. Filip, our logistics manager extraordinaire, has just moved back north, and is staying with his parents. The Vandevyvere family has made us feel more than welcome. We have been spoiled actually, each with our own bedroom, and the lady of the house doting over us. She’s done our laundry, she forces delicious pastries upon us, and cooks quality meat and potatoes dinners every night. “Real white man’s dinners” as my fiancee would say. They even hid Easter chocolate in the garden and had us do an Easter egg hunt! I still have a smile on my face. She has even given us nicknames, Ryan being the: duurniet, it basically means the mischievous one. How did she know?!?
She has noticed our affinity to spice, (I don’t think it is normal Belgian fare) and is doing a curry tonight. I am pretty sure she thinks we are crazy to add the hot stuff to our dinner. With all this good living it’s tough to leave, but time flies, and we are off to France tomorrow morning.
This week it’s Paris-Camambert, followed by GP Denain, then way across France to Bretagne (Brittany) for another shot at Tro Bro Leon.
I did this same block of racing last season and it went really well. With that experience under my belt I am really looking forward to another go round this year. I have a totally different perspective going into the races this year. With the knowledge of what lies ahead, I can’t wait to get out there!
Our hosts the Vandevyvere family
The profile for Tuesday’s race: Paris-Camembert, it gets tough near the end.
(I hear if you win you get your weight in Camembert cheeze!)
I was really happy today to see Ryan Anderson in the mix and get some points. I keep saying we’ll see a big breakthrough out of him any day now.
As for me, I am happy to have two long 200 km races in the legs these past two days. I didn’t feel quite as good as I did before crashing, but I think I am back on track. Looking forward to the series of French races coming up next week.
Today was a long day, so time for bed!