I guess you could say things have been going well for Belkin since my last post. There have been no big dramas anyway.
Stage 10 was quite fast but not so long so everyone had fresh legs for the final. And the final was quite hectic with a few crashes. I was hoping to try something in the last two kilometres but I didn’t get the opportunity.
Stage 11 was really hard. It was a long day of 249km and we raced for that whole distance. I was really trying hard to get in the breakaway, along with half the field, but it still hadn’t gone after 50km when we hit the first category 2 climb. This was a sign of a nasty day to come and it turned out to be just that.
Today was the time trial which for me, not being a GC rider or specialist, was a day to try and conserve energy. [Rigoberto] Uran did an amazing ride. I didn’t see that coming to be honest but our man Wilko [Keldermann] also rode well to jump up a few places in the general classification.
Some of you may be wondering about the things we bring on these Grand Tours to keep connected with family/friends and to either switch off from racing or fill in time. I don’t really unpack my suitcase now after races! I just do a quick check to make sure everything’s in there before I leave!
On long tours I always have my laptop to watch movies and TV series, and to upload power files (sometimes). I obviously have chargers and extension cables to keep everything charged too.
I bring an iPad with me. I resisted getting one for a long time but I’m so glad I have it now. I use it to keep up-to-date with the Australian newspapers, email, CyclingTips of course, and all sorts of internet sites and magazines. I always have a few different books on the go on the iPad as well and I’m currently reading I Am Zlatan.
Music is a big thing for me so I have plenty on the iPad and a cool little Bose mini speaker to pump out the tunes.
For the bus I’ve also got Bose noise-cancelling headphones. This is a must for me. I’ve got my spot on the bus and after a hard day in the saddle I just like to recline back, turn noise cancel on and switch off to some good music. Lars Boom also thinks that my spot on the bus is his spot, so it’s lucky for him that we don’t race too much together!
For sleeping I’ve got a big stockpile of my favourite ear plugs and eye covers in case of bad blinds or shutters. I always bring my own pillow too, as well as some gym and core stability equipment.
Lastly, I bring my phone, which isn’t surprising I guess. Ever since I’ve been in Europe my mum has always needed a text to say all’s ok after the stage. It’s cost me a fortune but probably saved her a lot of worry.
My phone is important because the team also does all race communication via a WhatsApp group, including details about dinner, bus departures, suitcase times, communication with the chief … everything actually; it’s really handy.
Anyway, I’m off to dinner.
Until next time,