Today being Friday means that tomorrow is Saturday, which means the Vuelta Espana is beginning! It’s been two weeks since Utah ended, and since that time Lisa and I have made the trans-Atlantic trip back to Girona, settled in nicely, and I have been in Galicia since Wednesday. During our week in Girona together, Lisa and I had a few nice dates. We spent one day at the beach enjoying the Spanish sunshine and taking dips in the Mediterranean to cool off. We also enjoyed a couple Spanish style lunch menus to soak in as much relaxation and Spanish life as possible. We tried two new restaurants, too, and were pleased with our finds. Not all our time was spent playing though as I had to take care of my final Vuelta preparation. I had a few solid training rides, one of which involved calling upon my motor pacer, Lisa, to give me a little “encouragement” for the last 1.5hrs of my ride. It was actually my last training in Girona before flying here. Although she tried hard, Lisa was not able to drop me! Not really, but she certainly was pushing my limits. Her help was much appreciated though, and she helped me to confirm that I am well prepared.
After arriving in Galicia on Wednesday, I headed out for a short training ride. I was the only one at the hotel, so I was left to figure out the roads on my own. The first portion of my ride was a relative failure. I headed toward the coast, but instead of finding a nice, quiet road, I found a traffic jammed city. I eventually found my way out and ended up back in the area of our hotel. I decided to head the other way and at the next roundabout, I crossed paths with a local, who I waved down and asked in my broken Spanish for a good place to ride. We ended up riding together for nearly the next hour, during which time I managed to carry on a nearly continuous conversation in Spanish! I’m sure it was mostly grammatically incorrect, but I was still quite proud of my accomplishment! My tour guide, Alberto, showed me a nice loop and delivered me back to my hotel no problem. By dinnertime, the others had begun to trickle in.
The following morning, we had a rude awakening at 7am for a UCI blood test. The experience there was not great! The people were nice, but the nurse was not very proficient with the needle. I’m not sure how you can miss the garden hose veins that most cyclists have, but somehow this lady did, at least in my personal experience. As I watched her approach my arm with the needle, I could see her aim was off, but she just went for it anyway. When she missed, she simply turned the needle sideways and dug a little deeper to hit the vein from the side. It got the job done and somehow it didn’t bruise, but I was left a little scarred from the incident!
Following our blood draw, it was breakfast time, then sit around and wait until training. For training we did some time on the road bike during which we were able to preview the finish of stage 3, followed by a switch onto our TT bikes and a preview of tomorrow’s team TT course. The roads were still open to traffic, so we were not able to practice anything specific, but it was good to at least be able to see the course a little to have a general idea of what is to come. Tomorrow we’ll have a chance to see it on closed roads prior to the actual race, so then we’ll be able to better grasp what the corners might be like and practice our rotation at little bit at full speed. For training today, five of us went to see the finish of stage 2. It was a little bit of a trip by car, but it is always nice to have a small bit of familiarity with the course. Finally, tonight we had the team presentation. It was the typical wait around a long time for your couple minutes of business, but it is a necessary evil of these things. The good part is that it means we are getting closer to the start! I’m excited to get things rolling tomorrow. Please check in along the way to see how things are progressing!