- By Daryl Impey
After yesterday’s stage I tweeted “One of the hardest days EVER, EVER! I hope that is my “bad” day”. I thought it may be a good idea of describing to all what I mean by “bad day”. Stage 16 was not the stage to have one and as it turned out, it was. It was a nightmare for me.
We started the race going really fast and once we got over the first mountain, I knew I was in trouble for the Tourmalet that was coming up next. As soon as we hit the bottom I was in trouble and I started sliding backwards through the group. I tried everything from gels to cokes and every bit of food I could find. Nothing, and I mean nothing was helping. My legs were just empty and it felt as if I couldn’t scratch myself if I tried. I got dropped really early on and tried to ride my own tempo but I couldn’t even find something comfortable. Luckily there were 10 guys behind me and Tyler Farrar was driving that group. I pleaded with him to slow down by 1km/hr and he was a legend, he slowed down and we soldiered on. Eventually we did a mad descent and caught another 20 guys and that’s where I stayed for the whole day. I was in big trouble, there were some guys just taking it easy and riding a tempo that put me on the limit. I was that messed that I couldn’t even get anything out my pockets, caked in sweat and in the hurt locker. We also had the worry of the time cut but a couple of guys were asking and because I was that buggered I just kept saying we are ok, even though I didn’t even know what it was or if we even were ok. I just did it to slow them down a fraction. We managed to make it well within the time limit but I honestly thought I was going home on the Tourmalet. I was hanging on so badly it felt as if I was suffering for the win, but it makes it harder when you know it’s not. Haha. So that was the bad day.
Today, was like night and day compared to yesterday. I felt much better and managed to get through the day really easily. Ok, the start was hard but I was never in real difficulty so I think the rest day could have played a part in it. I think my body was in shut down mode and all I needed was a bad day to remind it that we are still at a race. Today there were a few people like I was yesterday and I could only feel sorry for them. It’s amazing how far we have all pushed ourselves so far.
I know Paris is not far and all your comments and messages have definitely lifted my spirits, so thank you. Yesterday was the worst day of my life but I definitely felt a lot of encouragement from everyone back home. It’s gonna be another long one tomorrow and I am sure many of the sprinting teams will be interested in doing something, so it should be a bunch kick and we’ll be giving our all for Gossy.
Now we are on the way to our hotel where we will have a massage and then some dinner. It’s the same routine everyday. All of our guys are still in high spirits and we are all having a good laugh at dinner. All the ingredients are there for tomorrow and Sunday, now let’s hope it all comes together for us.
I still love this race even if it’s hurt like hell and some times you just want it to end but that’s what makes it so special and I know the end is near and it will all be worth it.
Oh and have a look at the Orica-GreenEDGE backstage passeseveryday during the TDF. They are quite amusing and give you a good idea of how the team is run. You can watch them here.
Have fun and thanks for reading.
Riding his first Tour de France, Daryl is only the third South African ever to have raced at the Tour. He will be blogging exclusively for Bicycling for the Tour’s duration. Log on daily for his blogs from inside the peloton and behind the scenes in France. Follow him on twitter @darylimpey