Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stage 5 & Bus Time

In comparison to the previous hectic few days, today was quite relaxing. A small breakaway jumped up the road early and the sprinters teams slowly but surely rolled it back. At the line one of the most exciting riders born in the 90's Micheal Bling Mathews was victorious and with it taking his biggest ever career victory. Bling is an absolute class act and incredibly polite young man in the bunch so when he wins everybody is very happy for him. It won't be the last big victory for bling that's for sure, this will merely open the flood gates. For cannondale boys Ratto gave it his all to mix it up in the sprint and showed again his consistency with 9th place. He will certainly continue to move up the results sheets as the race goes on.

From my perspective today was basically a day off. After spending a few cookies yesterday Basso and I decided I needed to take it as easy as possible over the next few days until we hit the mountains. So with that said we simply worked on our little system where he followed longo around to maintain a good position and I sat safely on basso's wheel so I was right there if he needed anything. I noticed today that the more people see us in this 3 some the more space we are given in the bunch. I noticed many times when people saw Ivan pass they immediately took another look behind them looking for me to also move past. By criky does this limit the stress for me of performing this role, I just keep the fingers crossed that everyday it gets more and more like today. I rolled up along side cancellara at one point and he said G'Day Mate, seems the euro's love practising there aussie accents, and asked how I was getting on? I told him all good and that I was just babysitting basso. This is a job he also had for many years at CSC so he knew what I was talking about. I said I am learning very quickly to maintain concentration at all times and there's plenty of other hrs in the day for socialising and switching off. He said I was spot on and that rider with Ivan was one of the best racing craft schools a rider can have. Everything ivan asked you to do or does is for a reason so was nice to hear how greatly Ivan is respected by one of the greatest riders currently in the bunch. Not that I ever doubt anything Ivan ever says but for certain my radio will be doubly tuned in now to ensure I don't miss a beat and learn as much as is possible from this great bicycle schooling opportunity.

So today was all about staying out of trouble and recharging the batteries. Also a good opportunity to eat and drink and ensure the body is full of all the fuel it needs for 3 weeks racing. I always enjoy days like today which had much more uphill than down. The profile had us climbing pretty much all day gradually so you never get many riders fighting you for a front position on days like today. Infact it was not until the final 10km when half the bunch seemed to get its breath back from the rolling terrain that any stress entered the peleton. I immediately switched of at this point and drifted to the back to ensure I stayed away from any trouble. Ivan was safely up front with the boys, longo, dallantonia and paterski are much more usefull to him in these stressfull finishes. I simply stayed close enough to see him and be ready to hand over my bike if required. Once we got inside 3km which is the point you get the same time of the bunch should you have any dramas and I knew basso was safe and sound, I switched off even more to save as many bullets as I can for the next 2 and half weeks. The most important thing I have learnt riding with Ivan in these days is when I don't need to spend any energy don't spend it because when he asks me to do somthing I often need every bit of power I can muster up so it needs to be saved where possible. I am already seeing how on the money Cancellara is!

Today is also a little special in that we have a grand total of 330km to travel on the bus. 140 before the race and 190km to our hotel for this evening. I love the bus trips as it gives me a chance to firstly write my blog! But more importantly have a good chin wag and de brief with my team mates and team staff. Much easier to do in the confined space of our luxurious bus. After that I get as much sleep as possible. If you can just cram in 30minutes of sleep a day when travelling on the bus then that totals one whole extra nights sleeps by the time the 3 weeks is up. All these recovery and recharge methods were picked up very quickly at the giro as I was so so so sick that getting out of bed each day was a battle. I sure learnt the hard but had I not have learned then I would not of survived. Now my power is back and I feel good the plan is that by maintaining these methods will keep me feeling fresher for longer and longer into the race. So with all that said the bas plays a crucial role in our recovery time as beside our hotel room and our bicycle its the place we spend the next greatest amount of time! What makes travelling on the bus pleasurable is our awesome bus driver luciu. He is an absolute champ and every morning has the bus, his pride and joy, spick and span both inside and out. I get along really well with luciu and have found a way to put a smile on his dial every morning. Everyday our massures make up small rolls or pannini's for us to put in our pocket for the race. I don't really like eating too much bread during the race so often of the 4 panini's in my race bag each morning I might only take one. During the giro I noticed luciu always quickly scooping on my bag and pocketing my left over panani's. One day I asked what he did with them and he said he simply loves eating them. So I asked his favourite flavors and his eyes lit up!!! Ham and cheese was his answer so now my bag is filled with 3 ham and cheese and 1 bannana and honey for me. Luciu is so excited every morning and surfice to say anything that I even need done whilst on the bus is often done before I even have the chance to ask him for it. I love a mint cordial after the race, I am not one for sports drinks, and I like it cold. So luciu 1hr before the finish mixes one up for me and puts it in the freezer so its perfectly chilled!! Mumma mia, if I get to enjoy seeing his happiness every morning when he pounces on my panini bag then he would be seeing the same gratitude when I receive my mint cordial! It just hits the spot! The smalls things hey that in this case quite litterly keep the time on the bus an extremely enjoyable experience everyday.

So with that said its time to curl up next to our director sportif dario mariuzzo who looks like he has had a harder day in the team car than all riders had on the bike and get some rest. The back right hand corner of the bus is always my spot every single race, so if you ever want to find me before or after a race that's the best place to look.

CJW         
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