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Sutherland Journal: Life returns to ‘normal’ after the Giro

Rory Sutherland recaps his performance at the Giro d'Italia and provides some interesting facts from the three-week grand tour

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GIRONA, Spain (VN) — The 2013 Giro d’Italia is finally done. Those three weeks seemed more like six, with enough snow and rain to last me for a few years. Looking back, it really was not all that bad and complaining about things that simply cannot be controlled (the weather) does not really get you anywhere. All in all, it was a fantastic race and experience. Some fun stats for you:

– First time using a 39-tooth chain ring, coupled with a 32-tooth cassette (yes, it was needed)
– First time using compact cranks
– First time finishing a climb in a blizzard with 50 feet of visibility
– One canceled stage and two changed stage routes (no complaints from me on this one)
– 87 hours and 37 minutes of racing (2:44 behind the winner, ouch)
– More rice eaten than I can honestly handle (I won’t be eating that for a long while)
– Zero flat tires (amazing feat)
– One small crash (no real damage)
– 22 different hotels

Those who find themselves in the bottom half of the general classification at the Giro are no longer battling their adversaries. You are instead battling yourself, and your mind changes from “attacking mode” to “survival mode.” The gap widens day by day, fatigue occupies every part of your body and mind, and you suddenly find yourself concerned with not making the time cut. The last few stages were quite a change from the first week, both mentally and physically.

And what happens after the Giro? Perhaps a huge post-race party for all? While we were all happy to make it to the end, I am sure some teams celebrated more than others. After four weeks on the road most people just want to get home and I am one of those people. I finished the last stage, headed straight to the team bus, had a quick shower, grabbed my suitcase, and made a beeline for the nearest airport. A few us of managed a small airport celebration that included McDonalds, ice cream and beer.

It feels great to be back home in Girona with my family. My wife has to get used to me being in the house again and eating all of the food (I have never been so consistently hungry in all my life). My kids have to adjust to having Daddy at home. I am back to changing diapers, reading good night books, and tucking my kids into bed. I am also back to training and had to literally wipe the dust from my home training bike, as it had not been ridden for the better part of six weeks.

Returning home can be a huge adjustment. There are no numbers to pin on each morning. Nobody is cheering for me when I am out on my bike. I have to make my own coffee and meals. I also have to clean up after myself, as my apartment is not a hotel room (my wife kindly reminds me of this). No daily massages, which is a real bummer. I have to carry my wallet around town and use money again. The “real world” does not revolve around a three-week race in Italy, so I am slowly catching up on things that have been happening around the globe.

I now get to enjoy nearly two weeks at home here in Girona before heading up to the Netherlands for a five-day race. That ought to kick-start my legs and I hope the fitness I have gained in the past few weeks will help me with a good result.

I hope you have all enjoyed the Giro perspective from the middle of the pack!