I experienced a moment of pure happiness today. I got back to our hotel and went straight to Christian’s room. I knew he had ridden a fantastic stage and wanted to congratulate him. He was in great spirits. I then went to my room and opened up my computer and put on some music. Coldplay ‘Viva la Vida’ was the first thing that came to my eye. I sat on my bed and took my shoes off. Then I stood up and looked out the window. It was beautiful. There were mountains as far as the eye could see, framed in a thin yet endless blue only mountain skies possess. And I didn’t have to climb any of them…That made me happy enough to actually feel mild euphoria. It was wonderful. The best part of this Tour to date for me.
It’s strange isn’t it? My only achievement had been to finish, and yet it gave me greater joy than anything else I have done so far this Tour. The day previous, I had only just managed to finish in the grupetto. A desperate day, I had been completely empty and it was my mind alone that turned my pedals. It felt like every bit of strength and energy had left my body. I have been getting worse and worse these last ten days and the culmination of it was that day. A day I shall not forget in a hurry. I finished, but with no joy. I knew that the following day was going to be harder and longer.
I was genuinely scared, not out of fear of failing or not finishing, but because I didn’t want to have to suffer like that. I didn’t want to have to go through that again. That’s what the Tour de France is. There are days where it is all so good and you have such control of the race. And then there are other days when you are at it’s mercy. Well that’s my Tour de France. I’m an odd one like that. I tend to have incredible highs and desperate lows during the three weeks. I always have. It’s just par for the course with me.
Yet it does allow for magic little moments like I had today when I stood there and looked out the window. Total bliss. It’s a shame I had to visit purgatory in order to experience it, but then that’s one of the reasons I love my sport so much. I get to know parts of myself I wouldn’t know existed if I wasn’t here doing this. Christian is still doing great and still within reach of the podium. It must have been an amazing experience for him riding up L’Alpe at the front of the race. He deserved it after going through his own purgatory in the final of the previous days stage. Goes to show the metal of the man coming back and being in the mix for the queen alpine stage. Chapeau to the old boy.