For some reason, I’ve been avoiding this post. I’ve tried several times in the past 2 weeks to sit down and write about the 24h of Tremblant, but everything I wrote faded away as I hit the delete button each time. Mixed emotions. A weekend of ups and downs, highs and lows. Maybe a mirror of how I really feel and what I’m going through.
Everybody at work asked me how it went so I’ve been re-living those 24 hours like twenty times already. Wanna move forward now and turn the page. So this morning, I’m taking one final shot at it. I’ll see where it brings me. Too heavy a burden.
It all started on that Friday morning. After a terrible rainy and cold week, the sun finally found its way back. Phew! What a relief! Pat asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride with the wonderful Phil Liggett, the voice of cycling, Lance Armstrong’s guest for The Tour de Lance. I met Mr. Liggett at last year’s edition of the TdL and even if I was lucky enough to have my picture taken with LA, meeting Phil was without a doubt, the highlight of that day! A delightful gentleman, easy to talk to and ooooh, so funny to listen to!
So when Pat asked me if I wanted to ride with Phil, my first reaction was:
“Of course I want to, are you kidding?! Such a treat, such a privilege, wouldn’t miss that for the world!”
But then, my brain suddenly kicked in and reminded my guts that it wasn’t as simple as that: I’ve been saving my back and my sacro-iliac joint for the last month (no hills, no intervals, no pushing big gears, no sprints, no real fun on the bike) just to be able to ride a few hours, pain free, if possible(!), during our 24h. And now, silly me, I was ready to screw it all up for a ride with a sport commentator…
Ok, let me get some things straight here, just to keep you in the loop (thanks GT, I learned that expression from you, hihi!):
- Phil Liggett is not just any sport commentator; he’s the most colourful cyclist journalist, a real life legend!
- I can’t go on group rides anymore because of all my injuries (if I push too hard, then I end up paying for it for a few days).
- I use the word injuries but the truth is that I’m struggling with a wicked health issue. Still can’t talk openly about it, as you can see.
- And yes, that health issue is disturbing every aspect of my life and it’s preventing me from being the cyclist I once was. Very upsetting, as you can imagine.
Let’s go back to last Friday. I first declined Pat’s offer. But he wasn’t gonna take no for an answer…
- Common, we’ll just go for 20kms with them and then come back. I really want to ask Phil for an interview for VéloPresse (Pat’s cycling magazine, first edition coming out next spring). I got way too much work to do anyway (finishing sales for SkiPresse magazine). (Yeah, Pat is a busy guy!)
- 20kms, that’s all I can do. So ok, I’m in!
Long story short:
Yes, I got to ride my bike with Phil. Lucky me, someone got a flat along the way which took for ever to change. So there I was, on the side of the road, chatting with Mr Liggett about getting old and cycling, travelling, my dog Quick and his passion for birds. Felt surreal!
As soon as my back started aching, I swallowed my pride and told Pat I had to leave the group, turn and head back to the car.
Of course I was disappointed, upset, mad and even humiliated. But that negative state of mind wouldn’t ease the pain. I knew that going back was the right thing to do. I still had a 24h to attend to the next morning! (Btw, Mr Liggett even wrote a Tweet about the ride: “Our short ride turned out to be over very quickly; we did 40kms at an average speed of 40.64kph. I didn’t do that when I was racing!” )
Phil told Pat that he would be delighted to meet us at his hotel, the Quintessence, for an interview. We had a date set up for 4:30pm. We showed up at 4:30 sharp. We spent a little more than an hour in his luxurious Q room, listening to this wonderful man, talking passionately, remembering when he was just a 15 year old kid discovering cycling and how he first got into journalism. Oh, and stories about birds, lions in Africa and pictures of kangaroos in NZ!!
Leaving the room, I felt honored and privileged. Quality time with Mr Liggett, wow!
After that, I finally got to meet and chat to Debbie, a friend of Pat’s, who’s been doing the TdL for the past 3 years. Another lovely encounter!
Next was the launching of the 24h at the resto-bar le Shack, where I met Lyne Bessette, another long time friend of Pat’s! We did not stick around too long (I really can’t stand shouting in people’s ears because of loud music!!), went home and prepared our bags for the next morning, setting up the alarm at 6:30 for the big day!
Aaah, the big day, remember? The one I said was filled with mix emotions… Well instead of writing about it, I’m taking the easy way out: here’s the link to my Flickr album, specially made for the event (some of you have already seen it). They say that a picture says it all so enjoy!