Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day to day

Each day, the race moved around Malaysia from town to town. This alone was a logistical nightmare, however, behind the scenes there was even more involved. After each stage, all you want to do is relax and unwind but you were always in a different location. This meant you had to find your things and move to a new hotel. After a couple of days, you quickly develop a habit and each morning when you wake up, you follow the same routine.

Each morning, I woke up early, drank some water and pinned my numbers to my jersey for the days race. I always try to eat breakfast at least three hours before the race to ensure that there is enough time for the food to digest so I get changed and head down to breakfast.

With over 200 people staying in the same hotel and trying to get to the same floor at the same time, it often took over 15 minutes just to get into an elevator! At one hotel, there was only three elevators and we were staying on the 20th floor. Everytime the lift opened, it was full to the brim as people found it faster to get in as the lift was going up and wait for it to get to the top, then head back down. I would often hear people swearing as the lift doors closed and many had to wait around for another one.

At breakfast, I made sure to eat enough food for the day's stage. This often meant rice or even pasta for breakfast. Normally, I would have nothing more than a coffee before going for a ride so at times, I had to force myself to eat. Getting a decent coffee was also a bit of a struggle. Some places do not give the option of putting sugar into your coffee and premix the coffee with sugar in it. It tasted as if they had 3 tablespoons of sugar in each cup and as there is often no milk, you have to use coffee whitening powder instead!

After breakfast, I would wait 15mins again for the elevators to go back up to my room. I would then change into my kit, pack a backpack with everything that I need for the day and then pack everything else into my suitcases and leave them outside the door. They are then collected and sent directly to the next hotel. After another wait for the elevators, we all head downstairs and either ride to the start or catch the bus if there is a transfer.

After the stage, the first thing that I want to do is eat but as most of the stages were wet, I had to change into dry clothes and pack everythinng into the cars first. Then after eating, I would have to jump back on the bike or catch another bus to the next hotel. This is the worst part...

When I am exhausted and full of food, all I want to do is fall into a food coma, but to ensure everything is ready for the next day there are a few things that need to be done first. After another long wait for the elevators, I finally get to my room. With no laundry, washing is done in the bathroom sink with soap and water which I became quite good at by the end of the tour. Then after a shower, I try to get my clothes as dry as possible so they are dry before the next day's stage. During this, I drink as much water as possible to ensure I am rehydrated.

Then its time for a massage to get rid of any aches and pains and to ensure your body has the best recovery for the next day. By the time this is all over, it is usually time for dinner where I often had to force myself to eat again. During the week of the tour, I'm pretty sure I ate about 12 chickens and 10kg of rice as this was the common dish served at the hotels. After dinner, the team would have a meeting to discuss the days stage and plan for the next. After this, it was off to bed to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

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