You know when you’re at the pinnacle of your cold–that point at which you feel the worst you could possibly feel? Headache, fever, chills, body ache, constantly having to blow your nose every 30 seconds or else green mucus starts dripping down your chin? That’s the state I was in while I packed and ran errands the day before my flight to Sweden. Then, during the flight, I got worse.
The lack of sleep during my day of travel set me back a third step, so that when I arrived in Sweden, mid-afternoon on Friday, I was ready to call it a trip and head back home. Usually I’m stoked to travel to a new, exciting place. This time, not so much.
Luckily I had the always positive Chris Stastny to cheer me up. We exchanged pleasantries at the Stockholm airport (I wan’t very pleasant actually), and our team manager Goran drove us up to Uppsala. Once he dropped us off at our lovely Scandic Hotel, which has a sparkling-water spigot, we set off down the street for food. I hadn’t eaten a meal in about 20 hours since my damn flight didn’t serve any dinner or breakfast. Chris’ did, but since he’s a bike racer he was aggressively hungry all the same. We demolished two personal size pizzas at a Turkish Gyro place. Yeah, the first thing we ate here in Sweden was pizza. Mine did have fish on it though.
After that, Chris went on a short spin while I slept for 14 hours.
We woke up early the next morning, me feeling about 20 times better, and went downstairs for the free breakfast buffet. The spread was fantastic. Breads, jams, meats, cheeses, fruit, salad, different types of muesli with a bunch of seed toppings, yogurts, eggs, bacon, beans, oatmeal, plus good coffee. I built two massive sandwiches and snuck them away in napkins for lunch and dinner, since not working + traveling to bike races all over the States for the past two months + now living in Sweden = I’m incredibly broke. Note: I would have smuggled those sandwiches anyways.
Chris took off for the 12-hour drive south to Denmark shortly after breakfast (wait, Sweden isn’t conveniently located in central Europe for easy travel to bike races?), while I went back upstairs to build my bike. I rode downtown in search of a bank and an Apple store for a new computer charger since I’d left mine back home. The charger ended up costing more than my computer is worth.
It’s flat, cold, gray, and drizzly here in Sweden. The people are beautiful though. Everyone is fit, friendly, and out on their bikes or walking, despite the weather.
Catching this cold has pretty much made this trip not worth it, since I’m now missing out on the main reason I came: Loir et Cher, a 5-day UCI 2.2 that starts next Wednesday. Couldn’t I be over my cold by then? Maybe but it’s very doubtful. If I were to do the race I’d have to spend all day driving one of the cars down to Denmark today for the two local races that the team is doing, after which I’d drive the rest of the way to France on Monday. The travel and jet lag to get here to Sweden combined with all that extra race travel would have left me with crappy legs even if I were healthy, which I’m not. The smart decision was to stay here in Uppsala, the home base of the team, and recover.
Unfortunately the race schedule for our team is very sparse this spring. The next race weekend won’t be until the beginning of May. We have a couple UCI 1.2s, then our home race the following weekend, which is another 1.2 and a crit. The week after that, I plan (hope) to head back to North America for US pro nationals, Philly, Sagueney, and Beauce. I guess I’ll try to treat my time here in Sweden as a recover/building block for the next big chunk of racing back in the States and Canada. It’s kind of a long way to travel for training in the rain but hey, it’s something new and when else in life am I going to get to live in Sweden of all places?
While in the past I’ve gotten sick quite frequently, I did make it almost 11 weeks of staying healthy this winter and spring. That’s pretty decent for me. Along that line of trying to make myself feel better, I’ve had some fairly good results and 18 days of racing already this year. It’s hard but I’m really trying to stay positive while I lay here sick in bed. Goodnight. Or good morning. I have no clue what time it is wherever you are.