Hello all, it is the day after a long, but fast Paris-Tours and I am recovering well at the home of my director sportif Alain Gallopin. Chris Horner is staying here with me for three days prior to travel on Thursday to Italy for Lombardie on Saturday. The house is a nice old French home with beautiful history and surroundings. The yard is full of trees and nature. There are several apple trees, pear trees and mushrooms growing wild throughout the yard. We had some for dinner this evening and they were delightful.
Yesterday after the race we arrived here and were immediately whisked off to a nice meal at the neighbors house. Who are the neighbors? They are Alain's in-laws. Yes, they live directly across the street in another nice French home with beautiful landscaping, gardens and a small pond/fountain. It is all very nice. I feel only a little bit out of the loop because I do not know French, but Chris translates for me a little and they are all very hospitable.
The weather is very "fall-ish" and making me miss the Midwest a lot. Both Lisa and I wish we could return for the splendid changing of the leaves and atmosphere of college cross country running through the trails and competing with our best friends, but hopefully some day we will return. For now, I make her a promise that we will go camping in the mountains when I return and we will be surrounded by the leaves and autumnal feeling for that time, even if just a short amount. Hopefully it can satiate our feelings of fall for just a small block of time.
Woke up this morning and had a traditional French breakfast of bread with jam. Bread was fresh and delicious. Then after milling around the house for a couple hours, Chris and I decided it was time to get on the bikes for an easy recovery ride. Weather was quite cool and we were wearing long sleeve jerseys, leg warmers, booties, gloves, everything! It was very nice though. There is quite a history at this house actually because it was in 1997 when Chris made his first pedal strokes in the European peleton that he lived at Alain's house. This is just another one of those "historical" experiences I am able to enjoy through this team.
Speaking of historical, in my bedroom there are several signed jerseys: Lance Armstrong yellow jersey, Alberto Contador yellow (Tour), pink (Giro), yellow (Vuelta), Fabian Cancellara yellow, Bobby Julich jersey, Jani Brajkovic Dauphine jersey, Laurent Fignon yellow jersey and probably one or two more I can't remember. Anyway, talk about history and tradition! Wow am I lucky to be under such great tutelage. If I can't learn under Alain's direction and take things with me for the rest of my career, I am brain dead and will never survive.
So anyway, the race yesterday was pretty good for Team RadioShack. I missed my job at the beginning to cover the early moves because I got swarmed early and then the pace and conditions were so high/tough that it was nearly impossible to get to the front again. I was disappointed in it, but it really did not make a big difference. After the break was established, the pace remained quite high all day. We covered 233km in under 5 hours!
The end of the race was exciting for us as our own Geoffroy Lequatre broke free from a lead group with about 12km to go. He was solo in front by as much as 30 seconds for the last part of the race and put in a valiant effort only to be caught by the charging peleton at only 300 meters to go. The heartbreak must have been unbelievable. For me, I had to pull the plug inside of 3km to go as sudden cramps came into my back. It was incredibly uncomfortable and I had never had anything like it before. In the end, Geoffroy made a great move and the team did great to try and maximize our chances of winning by staying attentive at the front during the chase, but due to that energy expenditure, Gert was slightly taxed for the sprint and took 3rd. Still a great result, but winning is always best! A good day for the Shack though.
Ok, I will try to report on something new in the next few days, but it could be sparse. Bonne Nuit!