Hello to both Friends and people who have unexpectedly stumbled upon my blog,
Friends of course are always welcome to my site. You’re equally welcome to read along if you’re one of the people who just randomly arrived here. You see, behind the scenes at MissingSaddle.com, I’m allowed to see the search terms people use to find my blog. The majority are “Ted King cyclist” or “I am Ted King” or “Ted King blog“, but there are a few that make me chuckle, because superficially they sound COMPLETELY unrelated to me or my blog, but I know exactly what they refer to from the past years of blogging.
Here are a few classics. Bonus points for anyone who can identify which blog posts they’re referring to.
— Norwegian lumberjack
— Randy Taylor sausage
— This will not increase my ability to mate
— Tea and strumpets
— super troopers do you need my assistance
— This thing sucks
— wrapping a present
Speaking of which, we just wrapped up the Ster Elektrotoer here in the Netherlands, with a brief stopover in Belgium for stage four. I really enjoyed this race, much more than I would have initially guessed since the Netherlands leads my mind a-wandering towards things flat, windy, and rainy. Yes, stages one, two, and five were flat, but one was just a prologue and two and five merely served as a reminder that we were racing in the Netherlands… and were still fun. The weather was mostly (but not entirely) agreeable throughout the race, and stages three and four were up and down all day as well as featured a bunch of the great climbs from Amstel and Liege. Long story short, it was a great race.
The team was in first place in team-GC for a stint until a decisive 18 man breakaway went clear to the finish on stage 4. Thankfully we had Haydon there, but unfortunately we didn’t have more people. It was still a successful race and I’m happy to see my Giro fitness coming to light.
If you read my TWITTER, you may caught wind of us riding in the Vacansoleil bus after ours had a brief electrical malfunction on the camper. Soon after we broke down, other teams up to that point carvaning behind were passing us with great vigor. Heeding my recommendation, Roger chucked his thumb out the window and flagged down the next bus, which both happens to be Vacansoleil. Conveniently, Roger speaks the Dutch and conveniently they were one of two teams staying at our hotel. Success!
With two full teams on just one bus, you can imagine it was twice as crowded as normal. I got to ride shot-gun with Santa Claus!
What’s that? You think he looks like Ed Asner? What’s that again? You don’t believe me that it’s Santa?! Well here’s the view out the front windshield. Check out his iconic hat!
…told you so. He was pretty darn quiet for Papa Elf, though. Apparently his primary form of communication is giggleing at me when I look at him. Strange, but whatever.
Witnessing the deconstruction that comes at the end of a professional stage race is nothing short of remarkable. Here’s one picture that only captures a mere fraction of what I’m talking about. It’s sort of like a three ring circus multiplied by about twenty teams. Soigneurs are busy tending to riders, offering recovery shakes, washing coolers, and packing up the infinite mess that trails behind cyclists at the end of a race. Cyclists are busy cramming food in their mouths, showering, then packing up their suitcases for the immediate ride to the airport that awaits. Sports directors are occupied figuring out where to send which riders, pointing various staff in various directions, and then usually driving to the airport. Meanwhile mechanics are the most calculated as they very impressively have an assembly line of work; they’re speedily washing bikes (right of the picture below) and then immediately passing them to other mechanics who dry the bikes (left of the picture), which are then put into the service truck (center). Filthy bike, to clean bike, to being packed away tends to take about 2 minutes.
This picture was taken a while after the race, so the throngs of fans had already mostly dispersed. Add to the excitement hundreds of fans of all types. Children, men, and women are all clammoring for any sort of team memorabilia they can get their hands on. Gloves, hats, and waterbottles are all popular items to request, but then they also want jerseys, helmets, sunglasses, and bikes. It’s certainly flattering, but with planes to catch at airports one hour away and it’s 1:01 til our flights, we sometimes don’t have time to answer all requests.
Now I’m off to Spain! Give me a holler if you’re in Girona. I hope to see you there!