When Americans think of cycling, the first, and often only, thing that pops to mind is the Tour de France. For me, starting out as a truly fredly 15-year-old on an ill-fit bike wearing kits that I can’t help but cringe at now, it was the same. The Tour is the pinnacle of the sport; the dream of every young cyclist. My career has taken twists and turns, had some big swings up and down, but I’m now on track to take part in the biggest of the big: The Tour de France.
I’ve been a part of our long team since the pre-season camp last November in Boulder, but yesterday my spot on the team of nine was confirmed while enjoying a hard-earned day off at the beaches near Girona. When the phone rang and I saw Jonathan’s name on caller ID I figured that it was going to be good news. A call…not a text!
Had to be good news…
Over the past month I hadn’t spend more than three days in a row in the same bed. After a block like that of constant movement, with races in Washington DC, the Philly area, Holland and France, with few days here in Girona between, it’s been great to take the past two days and completely unwind. Yesterday was completely off the bike, the first in a looooong while, and damn it felt good. But today the Garmin-Chipotle pre-Tour camp starts up and the focus is turned on. I couldn’t be more excited.
As well as fine-tuning our bodies for the first week of racing, there is a HUGE operation under way for the staff who are in the process of changing the branding of our team from Slipstream-Chipotle to that of our new title sponsor Garmin, full name Garmin-Chipotle presented by H3O.
Cars, trucks and busses all need to be re-wrapped, new bikes (a lot) have yet to be built, and completely new clothing across the board still needs to be sorted, organized and dispersed. I do not envy the hours of work the staff have ahead. There must be 15 people in the warehouse today and they’re going to be slammed solidly for the next week until we head north. And that’s just getting ready for the race.
After the week of prep here next Wednesday evening we’re France-bound. We pre-ride the first time trial course in Cholet on Thursday and then head west on the bus to Brest that afternoon to rest up until the big show starts on Saturday. It’s still a little hard to believe that I’m going to be there but with the craziness of the week ahead it’s time to get a grip on it and get going! I’ve had a great block of racing the past month to get the body headed the right direction; now for a bit of fine-tuning and careful attention to all the details.
As a first-time Grand Tour rider it’s going to be an adventure unlike any I’ve ever experienced. There are big races, and then there’s the Tour. I’ll be writing daily updates post-stage from the crackberry and can’t wait to share the inside experiences of a newbie with all the Velonews.com readers.
Ten days to go and counting.