The second rest day certainly comes with a touch more optimism. We are further south, the sun is shining, and Paris seems close, but yet so far. There is far more of a buzz around the hotel but that may have something to do with sharing our accommodation with two other teams, and possibly the humming of cars from the motorway which is less than 1km away.
Week two of this years tour has been thankfully less dramatic than the first one, it couldn’t not have been really. Knock on wood nobody really touched down this week so it’s been a case of keeping things steady and on top of even the smallest of issues, discomforts or hints of injury.
As we approach week two and three of the tour small problems can become big problems quickly, as the fatigue sets in and the immune system typically starts to wane.
The great news is that pretty much across the board everyone seems to have hit the slot this week, the reason being I believe as their bodies begin to get used to the rigors of the race and the body adapts. What we end up with is athletes biomechanically stronger this week than last and hopefully next week stronger still. So on the contrary to what may be expected I have had slightly less to do this week but then again not crashing definitely helps.
The high of the week was definitely Thor’s win into Lourdes, clinical, calculating, efficient and executed to perfection. Earlier in the stage while waiting at the finish, John the physio and I headed to Le Grotto in Lourdes an interesting if very sad place as I have never seen so many sick, unwell or disabled people in one place. Very moving, as I assumed they are all there for their own miracle.
As we entered the church, John walked up to me, I asked him where he had been. “Just lit a candle for Thor to win today” (there was still 90km to go). I wouldn’t say Thor’s win was a miracle, but it certainly one of the most dedicated sporting performances of the year as I see it. Rewind the night before, Thor came to see me, he had been a little fatigued a few days previously and rightly so due to his first week’s exploits.
I took a look and picked up from the previous treatment and things we had been working on, I spent some time to check for any biomechanical weakness, stiffness, or muscle inhibition, this time there was nothing. I said “I really cannot find anything wrong at all, everything is perfect, there is nothing to treat, things should feel good pretty quickly with any luck maybe tomorrow…”, “Good, Thanks.” came the reply, and off he went.
Knowing when to leave well alone and let the body get on with it is as much part of the plan as knowing when to get stuck in and treat. The next day, as Christian put it, he put on a “cycling masterclass”.
So with one week still remaining a lot can happen, motivation is still high, team spirit is buoyant and time has flown by, definitely a sign of having fun. The real fun can start when business has been taken care of when they cross the line on the Champs-Élysées, hopefully with Tyler being the first one to do so, putting the icing firmly on top of the cake.