Sunday, August 3, 2014

One Week Removed

It has been one week since my “lap” around France finished and I think I’m finally starting to fully recover from the trauma! Many people have asked me whether the race lived up to my expectations. The short answer is that going in, I wasn't really sure what to expect. It was definitely the hardest race I’ve ever competed in and I don’t think I could have done anything to prepare myself 100%. The worst part of the race for me was probably dealing with 6 crashes on top of the most physically demanding race I had ever done. Crashing has several negative effects. In addition to the obvious physical pain it makes you more nervous and hesitant so you have to work harder to keep your confidence on the bike, road rash and aches and pains can disrupt recovery and sleep, and it just takes an emotional toll to keep hitting the pavement. All that said, I was really lucky in some ways to go down so many times without incurring any race-ending injuries and be able to push through to Paris, which was a big goal for me from the start.

The Tour wasn't all suffering though. It is also something I will never forget and will have in my back pocket so to speak for the rest of my career. Battling my way through was not easy, but I am definitely going to be stronger for it. There were lots of moments of fun and laughter in the bus or around the dinner table. There were numerous stories from the Tour veteran Jens Voigt (this being Tour #17 in his career) that always captivated the entire group. There were a couple stages in the breakaway. There was that spectator in stage two who ran across the road completely naked! There was suffering my way to the finish through the mist and fog on stage 8, and all the sudden hearing “Go Flip” from the crowd and seeing a Luther Norse flag. (Evidently the Norse nation travels well!) Probably the best memory I have though is the first moments of entering Paris and rolling onto the Champs-Elysees. I remember descending onto the road by the river, seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, and realizing I was really close to completing my first Tour de France and reuniting with Lisa. As the race entered the Champs it seemed just like I’d always seen on TV with the final bend in the circuit before the finish and the backdrop of the Arc de Triomph. The real kicker for me was the fighter jets that flew over the first time we crossed the finish line. It sent a chill down my spine. It’s these memories that will always mark the bright side of my first Tour de France.

I can't recap the Tour without mentioning that I was shocked by the outpouring of support. I never knew so many people followed what I do. I had my hometown newspapers doing articles, I did interviews with the various cycling websites, but above all I think it was the number of emails, Twitter mentions, blog comments, etc. that I received that really amazed me. I heard from friends, family, old teammates, classmates, and tons of folks who I had never even met. It was an incredible experience and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who was rooting me on.

Happy to celebrate with my best friend :)

Fun to have some family at the finish!

I got photo-sniped while trying to recover on the metro the next day in Paris!
So I guess that brings us to tomorrow... Tour of Utah starts. Hard to believe I'm already back to racing again. Although to be honest, I think I'm ready. Prior to coming here I definitely was not in the frame of mind to race, but once I arrived and went training with the guys today, I felt more back in the game. We have three stagiaires racing with us this week, so it'll be fun to have a few new faces around the team. I guess that's all from here! Good night.


daveR said...

good to see the Savre family in Paris. must have been fun. thanks for the update. daveR

MikeM said...

Great photos, especially the one on the Champs in front of the Arc. You certainly earned that moment. Not sure how you guys do it, but it is awesome to hear you are in good form ahead of the Tour of Utah. Best of luck in getting the result you desire! I will be cheering you on from afar!

Cindy said...

Fantastic post. The pictures are worth 1,000 words. So thankful and proud that you made it through. Onward!

Greg Clarke said...

Thank you for taking the time to post updates from Le Tour midst all of the stress and exhaustion. I appreciate the honest view of the hardships of being a professional cyclist. God bless!

Michelle Rogan said...

Love reading your blog and seeing all of your fabulous pictures!