Stage Two - Vise to Tournai
Yesterday was the first real day of school holidays, and as such I had a list of things to do as long as my arm. Blood tests, new jeans, picking up a script at the chemist - the general detritus of everyday life. Only the last deserves any comment - as part of yet another attempt to fix the sickness that has plagued me for almost two years now, my sports medicine doctor prescribed me a course of Vitamin D tablets, the first of which represented approximately 166 times the recommended daily dose. I've been in a slightly better mood ever since.
The stage tonight looks flat and boring. A breakaway will go, Lotto will chase it down in the hope of getting Greipel a win, and the last five minutes will see the dogs of war unleashed all over the road. Before it starts I get talking to Ella online. She has one of DC's books, and I mention that I'm probably going to go into the store in the next day or two. So she swings by and I once again get some water boiling.
We sit and listen to records and exchange scene gossip. She went to school in Newcastle, knows all the punks from up there, and was down in Melbourne when I was living in Montreal. A lot of gaps being filled in tonight. She also knows all of these people I know from the bike world - mostly the mountain bikers - so we pretty much have an endless supply of people to think and talk about. It's a pretty good time, and neither of us are really paying much attention to the flashing colours of Belgium.
With about eighty ks to go the conversation starts to drop. I figure there's about another hour and a half of racing. I don't have what it takes. I offer Ella the Hurley Bed - aka the couch - but she knows Sean, so wisely declines, and heads off home. I stay up for a bit longer, putzing around on the internet, but eventually my body takes charge and I head to bed.
And the next morning, when I wake up, I watch the final kilometres on YouTube. And it's rad - some of the best, craziest yet safest, fastest sprinting I've ever seen. Cav has no leadout but still comes from absolutely nowhere - at least 30 riders back at 1k to go - to take the win out of Greipel's hands in the final metres. That's good racing, an incredible ride, and I kinda wish that I'd stayed up.