I have been in Europe for 10 days now and to think I have 20 to go is kind of mind-numbing. The racing has been super and the coverage has been great, but I am most excited about the Tour being one-third over. The Tour’s first week usually takes longer than the next two weeks, but with all the interesting racing, the first week has flown by pretty quickly.
I am lucky to be a part of the TREK family as they scored me a bike that I have ridden three times. The bike is wicked, and my rides have been great. I rode to the town of Gueda—that’s right, the place where some of the world’s best cheese comes from. I was also able to climb a pretty cool Belgian Ardennes climb that I will never forget. It was raining, wet, and the fans were awesome. My most favorite ride by far was my ride along the most amazing stretch of French cycling history: the pave of the Arenberg Forest. There was something that sent chills down my spine as I bounced along. I thought it was one of the highlights of any tour experience I have ever had.
Arenberg is a calm place that only awakens a couple times a year. It is a place that is hidden deep in the French countryside but as soon as your wheel hits the first stone you get an energy and aura that you will never forget. The amount of history that surrounds those cobbles pours out of the hardened rocks. I can’t explain in words the mystical vibe that fills that road.
I look forward to getting out a bit more in the next couple of weeks, but it requires me to be up at 5 a.m. and on my bike by 5:30 a.m. so I can get back in time to leave for the start. The starts have been easy, the riders cooperative and the drives pretty uneventful. So far so good. I know things will change, but we will take it day by day. I continue to give 100 percent for Versus, but I still struggle way more than I should with asking questions and doing my stand-ups. Still, I have to tell you, it’s is a rush though.
I miss my family and wish that they will try and come over one of these years. The ratings are up and the bosses are happy. I know you had hoped for more craziness, but I think we count our blessings and know for sure that there will be some rough points in this journey and I will be sure to share them with you.
On a funny note…I sweat like an absolute pig all day here. It’s hot, and the shirts are nylon. There is constant pressure that it even worse at the Tour. My body pours sweat non-stop, and if my shirt is soaked, it is tough to do a spot on TV. I am constantly pouring baby powder down my shirt, switching shirts, wiping myself down with something or trying to find a way to stay cool before I go on the air. I ran out of things to wipe myself down with during a piece today and I used our stuffed animal keychain to wipe my forehead and chest. We had to ring out the stuffed white bear twice before we finally got the shot!
In summary, I continue to enjoy my time in the commentary booth with Roll and Hummer even if it is just 20 minutes a day. The crew is nice, the food is OK, the hotels are great, and the bike racing, of course, is brilliant. Learning lots, having fun and missing my wife and kids like mad.