Well folks, I have arrived safely at the Tour and things have gone pretty smoothly so far. One major hiccup with my flight connection, but still a nice flight. I did have one small incident on the plane when I dumped a whole glass of wine on a big, tattoo-laden soldier who was sitting next to me in business class. I had fallen asleep and readjusted, sending my hand flying around and knocking over a full glass of red wine…all over the crotch of his tan army fatigue shorts. The stain showed up nicely on that color and I felt really bad, but he was totally cool about it: “when you have had blood splattered all over you, red wine does not seem like much!” (Talk about perspective!) He cleaned himself up and we got to talking about the war and his role in it. He was a great young man and I hope our paths cross again some time.
Now, I have been to Monaco a couple times before, but I have never seen it like it is today. My hotel room is ideal, overlooking one of the many harbors. Naturally, it’s full of smashingly cool, million-dollar yachts and the area has some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and the streets–all paved to perfection–are packed with people. The whole place is meticulous! I really enjoy it here and it makes me want to bring Lori and the kids soon!
The meeting last night with the entire Versus staff went well, but it still astonishes me how many people it takes to pull this production off. We have a crew of over 70 people with each of them doing at least two jobs. Frankie Andreu and I are the roaming reporters once again and these first few days will be filled with tech reports, stand-ups and rider interviews.
I managed to squeeze in a run before dinner last night and I am feeling ready to take on the Tour. Feeling good about my fitness is essential to my happiness. I feel so much better about things if I can get in some sort workout at least every other day…so far so good! It gets tougher to have days like this once the race starts, but I will do my best to at least run.
I woke up this morning and did a short interview with our field producer about what I think of the Tour. It will be on the Versus site very soon, so if you get a chance, check it out. I made some interesting predictions that I think will make people wonder a bit.
With some time after the interview, I was able to get out for a bike ride with my good friend, Craig Hummer, co-host of the Versus coverage. We had a great ride and I think it was just what I needed to help me get though the tough part of jetlag (which generally hits about 2pm the next day). Needless to say the ride was awesome! We rode in France, Monaco and Italy all within 30 miles! We did one very nice climb and meandered our way back through the Riviera on the return to our hotel–such a great way to start off the Tour!