Life on the Road

A long road trip in California is thankfully over

I am finally back home after spending a month on the road. The trip began with a weekend of racing in Merced. We cruised down the Central Valley and had a look at a few of the Tour of California stages.

The team had a great weekend of racing in Murrieta and San Dimas and we finished the trip off in Redlands. The trip consisted of lots of hotel rooms, bad hotel room coffee, and even more Mexican food. While it was great to get back to racing, I am awfully glad to be home in my own bed! I need to recharge the batteries before heading back out on the road. This is the life and job that I signed up for and it is never boring!

Being a professional cyclist may sound glamorous to some, but life on the road is not all roses. While I love racing my bike, being on the road is an entirely different situation. Being on the road in the United States is a different experience.

Hotels do not provide meals, nor do domestic teams have a chef on hand. Instead the riders organize themselves, grab a team car, and go in search of an eating establishment. These vary greatly from town to town! Sometimes we stumble upon a little Thai restaurant where you can load up on carbohydrates and tasty food for a reasonable price. However, most of the time we just do a quick search using our iphones to locate the nearest Chipotle or Macaroni Grill.

Good food? Well, that remains debatable. But we know the menu, we know it will be quick, and we know exactly how much our meal will cost. Cost is important because the team do not pay for meals while we are out on the road. A four-week trip can get pricey! We spend at least $10-$20 a day on food for twenty-eight days. It really starts to add up and your wallet is definitely lighter after a few weeks of travel. Keep in mind that the average domestic pro is riding for a team with a limited budget with no minimum wage for the riders.

Eating out night after night does begin to get old after a week, so I am becoming an expert in hotel room cuisine. I find the nearest grocery shop and manage to come up with some tasty meals using the hotel microwave, a toaster and a teakettle. Yes, it can be done! Most of us feel like MacGyver as we use whatever appliance we can get our hand on.

I spent twenty-six consecutive nights in hotels across California. I get a bit grumpy by the end, but the staff (as usual) complete their tasks with a smile on their faces. Limited budgets often mean limited staff, but the staff on our team does such an amazing job on a daily basis. They make our job seem like the easiest thing in the world. All we really have to do is ride our bikes and they take care of everything else.

It is now time to be home for a few weeks. I need to reset my brain, reset my body, and get back in to training mode as the races head to the mountains in the coming months. The year goes by quickly, so is essential to be ready to race at a high level.

Time to get back to the coffee shop rides for another day or two. Next week I will be back at it!


Rory Sutherland

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