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Giro journal: Sutherland enjoys his rest day

On the first rest day at the Giro d'Italia, Saxo-Tinkoff rider Rory Sutherland said his schedule was quite a bit less hectic

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TREVISO, Italy — I’m writing this entry from an incredibly comfortable bed somewhere near Treviso, Italy, I think. What date or day of the week it is I do not know.

Days of the week don’t exist anymore, and neither does the actual date. What stage it is has become the only way to figure out where we are in time. Yesterday was stage 9, tomorrow is stage 10, and today is stage NOTHING. By that I mean the first, very well-deserved rest day. The absolute wonderment of spending two consecutive nights in the same hotel is astounding. What the course tomorrow is like I chose not to know. Today I am concerned with one thing: enjoying the day and enjoying the rest.

Things I will not be doing on the rest day:
– Riding for more that 30 minutes
– Eating rice
– Over eating carbohydrate
– Packing my suitcase
– Sitting in a car or a bus
– Eating a gel or drinking sports drink
– Going more than 50m away from our hotel

Things we actually do on a rest day
– Sleep in (if at all possible)
– Do an easy ride
– Have an afternoon nap
– Catch up on a movie
– Actually notice there is a world with real events happening outside of the race

It’s pretty funny how the outside world tends to not exist while you are in the race. The schedule of the day becomes life and anything outside of it seems foreign. I can honestly say I have no idea of anything happening outside of the Giro. You tend to get into this little rhythm, which I believe keeps you sane and becomes the new “norm” of survival.

One very important part of this is your roommate. I am rooming with Bruno Pires from Portugal. We were discussing how, in the last two months, we have spent more time rooming together than either of us has with our own wives (we roomed together at the Tour of Turkey also). Having a roommate that you click with can make or break you during a grand tour. It’s like having a psychologist, a best friend, and a motivator to hear your woes and boost you back up after a crappy day in the rain.

Your roommate holds you together and you get through it by helping each other along the way. It must be funny seeing us room together. We speak a combination of languages. I teach him English (or improve it) and he teaches me Spanish, so our conversations end up being this strange combination of Spanglish.

So now that we are nine stages into this race, Tuesday begins the second part and 12 more stages. 12 … really? Wow, I guess it’s just dawning on me that we aren’t even through half of this thing! I’ll be blatantly honest that the idea of another 12 stages, including some real mountain stages, is something incredibly daunting when you are already quite exhausted. But that’s half the fun, isn’t it? The challenge, the feeling of being exhausted and yet still giving your all. Helping your team, taking your chances, and seeing what can happen and what is possible. That, I am learning, is the real beauty of the Giro. The unknown.

It looks like much of my survival plan is working out as I had hoped. I am still only opening the race book to the stage we have to endure daily, the Italian SIM card is surprisingly still working, expectations are still in check, and yes, I am even enjoying this historic race.

So off we go to the second part of this cool journey, or lap of Italy as I call it. The mountains are coming and there will be many more “question life decision” moments! Hopefully there will be another entry around the second rest day IF I can make my brain work for long enough to write something at that point!