A guide to survive (watching) the Tour

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It’s Monday, and like many of you, I’ve had a big weekend of riding and staying up late watching the Tour. The riders are getting weary after some serious elevation in the Pyrenees and now we’re heading to the Alps. I’m sure most of you are getting a bit tired, too. Late nights, early mornings, us cycling fans have it hard! But, don’t despair, we have earned the second rest day tomorrow (21st July), which will give us plenty of time to recharge the batteries and get ready for the excitement of the last week of racing.

The third week of the Tour means one thing: mountains. This is the most exciting part of the tour. You don’t want to miss anything! I don’t know how you are going keeping up with it all, but I’m struggling. With a time zone that means live viewing from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., and an alarm that insists on going off at 5 a.m. for training, I’m feeling a bit worse for wear. I’m getting too old to function on such few hours sleep and the zombie look isn’t very fetching, either. Not many people have the luxury of pro hours, so how do I keep up with it all when I have to get up at the crack of dawn? The cheat’s way, that’s how.

Here is my survival guide to get you through the last week unscathed:

  1.  I read or watch the stage previews so that I know the route, profile and who the favourites are. This means I can be selective about the stages I watch live. Whether this means falling asleep on the couch or lasting as long as I can –usually 11 p.m. – at least I gave it a crack.
  2. If I just can’t stay up any later, I hope that I need to get up to pee around 2 a.m., allowing me to take a sneak peak at the final on the Tour Tracker App. If you time your hydration consumption correctly during the night, your bladder will surely wake you up within the final minutes of the stage. This is a fine art, which I have usually mastered by the end of the Tour.
  3. Watch the Tour highlights. Either on the trainer in the morning, on the train to work or at my desk of a lunchtime. SBS are awesome in that the highlights are online so quickly. Special mention to Orica-GreenEdge Back Stage Pass videos – they are a great way to get an inside scoop into a pro team of the Tour. Or read all about what you missed right here on CyclingTips!
  4. If you truly want to be in the know, you have to be obsessed with Twitter for three weeks, and follow all of the relevant riders, teams and media outlets. Often, the news pops up on Twitter first. On waking, Twitter is my first port of call for all of the action from overnight.
  5. I enjoy the rider’s rest day and catch up on the non-cycling news I’ve missed during my Tour obsession!

Following this survival routine means I don’t have to miss out on (too many) zzz’s but can still keep on top of the Tour happenings, and have something to talk about at the coffee shop with my friends!

Quick note about the weekend:

The weekend is a different story, with the alarm clock not dictating my life. Weekends allow me to stay up late and train at a reasonable hour. Bring on Friday night on the couch, #toursnacks in hand!

How have you been fairing? What are your Tour survival tips?

About the author

The tagline to Verita Stewart’s personal blog reads: “Not a professional cyclist, yet” and it’s the “yet” that’s most telling. Verita is a Melbourne-based cyclist riding for Specialized Securitor. New to the sport, she’s quickly made the jump from commuting to recreational riding to racing.

She now juggles full-time work with full-time NRS racing and hopes to make the leap to the big-leagues sometime soon. Verita is full of stories and smiles and snark – and will bring all three to you on Ella. Follow Verita on twitter and instagram and strava.

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