Wow. To say that I was busy while I was in Europe would be a serious understatement.
Here's the Reader's digest version of the trip....
We arrived in Lisbon having survived the drive to Vancouver WA, train to Seattle, plane to Heathrow and connection to Lisbon. We were jet lagged, hungry and missing Tom's bike. Fortunately the bike turned up the next day. The Race Relations person, Louize, picked us up and took us to the Hotel Barcelona. The next day or two was spent eating, resting and more travel, this time by bus to Braganca. More prep time and the race was on.
The first 3 days were insanely hot and to a serious toll on all the racers. Tom had a very difficult first day but rallied back the second and was doing well by the third. Then the weather cooled and he just got stronger. While Tom was racing my days went something like this: get up, big buffet breakfast, go to our first checkpoint with my check point partner Patricia. We then sat for hours watching the racers go by noting times and numbers. Then off to the stage finish where I'd set up for massage. Massage would go on until about 7:30 or 8 until we had another amazing buffet style meal, then back for more massage. Often I wouldn't get back to my room before 11 PM. Then Tom would finally get his turn and off to sleep to do it all over the next day.
As the race went on, problems started to crop up. At least one third of the riders, if not half of them, had developed saddle sores from the heat, sweat and grit. I ordered dressings for the sores and spend what spare time I had distributing them to the riders, explaining in detail how to use them and even applying dressings for the ones that couldn't reach them on there own. Of course all the jokes started to come out... Cassie is covering everyone's ass... the rider's are really a pain in the ass... Cassie the queen of the butts... you get the idea.
Yes I was busy and yes I was exhausted at the end. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I got to be part of the team, I had updated info about how Tom was doing all day long and I got to meet a bunch of really great people. I can't think of a better way to see the countryside and I would do it again... maybe even race it one day.
Tom placed 9th overall, much better than expected and he would've done better yet if he hadn't struggled so much that first day. He even had several days when he placed in the top 5 and one day when he came in 3rd after the 2 very fast racers competing for the overall win. It was amazing to watch.
We had 4 days to recover in Portugal, then 2 days checking out London with Paul, another racer from Portugal. He was a great tour guide and we had a blast.
Now we're on the last leg of the journey. We're here in Oceanside getting ready for RAW. There are a lot of details to take care of before we start the race on Wednesday. Speaking of which... it's time to go.
To be continued.