By Tyler Hamilton, U.S. Postal Service
You hear people complaining about having one of those “days”. Well, I think I might be having one of those “seasons”. There’s nothing more frustrating than working hard, sacrificing and staying dedicated only to find yourself at trapped under a pile of cyclists. And while there’s no time within the moment to ask yourself how the hell you got there, the question does linger for a while afterward. Especially while you’re standing around waiting for a wheel.
The nagging gets especially annoying while you’re on the rivet trying to catch the caravan. You can forget about catching the peloton after a crash like today. The proverbial train is long gone. Which is really just one more thing to think about on your way to the finish line. God, I hate days like today.
Okay, enough complaining. I should count my blessings that my trusty helmet saw me through another crash. Although I think I’m going to have to talk to my friends at Giro about some elbow pads. It seemed at first that I had broken my right one today. Which would have made for a perfect set, since I broke my left one at Liege-Bastogne-Liege two months ago. X-rays revealed no fractures, luckily – but the swelling and pain are indicative of possible tendon damage.
The doctors back in Boston made a point of telling me back in May to keep my elbow mobile to promote proper healing. We’ll see how much I’m able to do of that in the morning and how much extension I have. It would be kind of hard to ride one handed. But this is the Tour de France and stranger things have been done. Zulle screwed together a collar bone once, and I did manage to ride with a concussion in ’99. And when it comes right down to it, riding with a busted up arm hardly compares to riding with a broken hip like de Waele did on Saturday. Regardless of my condition, my actions will be justified. We are after all, gunning for the three-peat.
The fans were out of control today. They were crowding the road like we were on a mountain stage. This is kind of dangerous considering 180 or so guys are coming barreling through the streets at 60 kilometers an hour. The Tour de France is not a normal race. The obstacles and challenges never cease to amaze me. Probably because they never have anything to do with the racing itself. They usually come in the form of speed bumps and camera straps. But I have to say the enthusiasm from the spectators never disappoints. Anyone who thinks cycling is dying on the vine should have been out there to witness the madness on the sidewalks. Even our group at 6 minutes behind was bringing out the best in them.
Luckily Lance stayed out of trouble today. And that was our main objective.
Well, keep your fingers crossed that the swelling fates are kind over night and that I’m able to reach my rear break lever by noon tomorrow. I’ll be good to go if I have anything to say about it. And if you see a guy out on the course wearing football gear – don’t laugh. Just think supportive thoughts.
Thanks for reading.