My last day before the start of the big Tour de France.¬† It was pure isolation for me after the Tour of Suisse.¬† I was alone in Spain and haven’t had that kind of time to myself in a long time.¬† It was ok for a little bit, but I prefer to be with my family.¬†
We came up to Rotterdam on Wednesday.¬† Unfortunately, in my profession, some of our locations begin to blend together so I’m not sure if I’ve been here before or not.¬†¬†We went on a ride on Thursday after we did blood control for the race.¬† Right from the start I thought my saddle was too high so I stopped to check it.¬† I was going to lower the post but the bolt was all stripped out so we had to drive back to get it properly fixed.¬† Turns out it was the right height but the saddle on my home bike had slipped and that is why I felt high. It’s always something, but I didn’t let it get to me.¬†
We had team presentation later in the evening.¬† First we go into a big auditorium with all the teams and let two guys that run the race talk about the upcoming edition. I just didn’t feel like listening to them this year so I listened to Johnny Cash and it was a much better presentation of the race that way for me.¬†Then the teams got suited up and rode out to the actual team‚Äôs presentation.¬† We were one of the last teams to go so we had the auditorium to ourselves. I wished that they had left the mics on but they were off, so no fun and games.¬† Our turn came and we rode across a bridge and up a stage, waved to the crowds, and got introduced.¬† It’s always fun to interact with the fans, they really get into it.¬†
Today I got woken up at 7am by loud knocking. I thought the hotel was on fire.¬† Ryder answered the door.¬† It was the UCI for another control for me. The hustled in and hoovered over my bed.¬† I grabbed my phone to check the time and they were screaming “don’t touch your phone”.¬† Downstairs we went for a donation of blood and urine.¬† These guys were being obseved by WADA and seemed just jumpy as hell.¬† I asked them to relax.¬† One of them kept touching me as if to herd me in a certain direction.¬† I had to ask him not to touch me anymore, that didn’t work out so well when he was the one to draw blood.¬† He was just very touchy feely, and I didn’t really like it, probably could’ve used a coffee before all this went down.¬†
Well I got through that and then got my coffee and was feeling much better.¬† We went out and rode the prologue course as it was closed to cars today.¬† It is a very fast course.¬† I was choking the whole time, I could litrally taste the pollution. Finally I saw a lot of smoke and looked around because this was not just everyday air pollution.¬† To my left on the river a building was on fire, it looked like some kind of factory.¬† There was fire boats hosing it down.¬† I thought it would be best to get out of the area.¬† So I rode back to hotel and did some efforts on the trainer, I had to place the trainer in just the right spot though as the mechanics were glueing tires on and I didn’t want to inhale those fumes either.¬† Finally found a decent patch of air and did some good efforts.¬† Came up to my room and took all the antioxidants I could with a POM juice.¬† Oh how I long for clean air.¬† I think I’m pretty opened up now for the race, and it should be a good one.
P.S. we finally got Ryder on Twitter¬† @Ryder_Hesjedal