Week 3 of a Grand Tour. It’s tough. It’s so close to the finish yet so far away. And, as a spectator, the race has been consuming your life for the past weeks, constantly checking race updates and watching highlights. If you’re a “lucky one” and live in the southern hemisphere, a Grand Tour can either make or break your dedication to being a truly, insanely dedicated professional cycling fan. Heads only hit the pillow at times close to 2AM and are then met with a mere 5-6 hours sleep until it’s time for work or school, unless you’re genuinely lucky and have the next day off. One can only wish. Remaining awake for the duration of stages is a challenge many Australians, Kiwis and other Southern residents face, and so after garnering experience, here are my somewhat unorthodox top tips for surviving a Grand Tour: Southern Hemisphere style.
Disclaimer, some tips may be more common for ladies than gentlemen!
Paint your nails
By painting your nails you’re, essentially, forcing yourself to remain awake. Nobody wants to have smudged and imprinted nails after not letting them dry long enough so by painting them with at least 50 KM left to ride, you’re making a commitment that you’re going to stay awake until the end, with a greater purpose than just watching men ride around a European town or up a mountain.
And lots of it. Water carries many health benefits that have been made very clear through medical research but, did you know, that water will help you stay awake for longer and keep your hunger sated*? A cold glass of water on hand for the entire stage will A. Keep you from over indulging in a midnight snack you will regret the morning after and B. Will, well, to put it pleasantly, keep you moving every hour or so… Because you’re going to need to urinate at some point, right?
*I mean, not technically a fact, but pretty close to one IMHO.
I know right, what am I thinking? Exercising at 11:30PM with wet nails and a bladder about to burst? No way. Spread the techniques out over all of the stages! Stretching, besides helping with flexibility and relaxing muscles, will put you into some serious pain! The pain is going to keep you alert and awake while still watching the race. Unleash your inner yoga goddess and you will unleash a second wind of sleep deprivation, allowing you to continue viewing for at least another 20 kilometres.
Let’s be honest, you’re going to be a wreck in the morning for the first 3 days and the final 5 days. You’re sleep deprived. you’re angry. You just want the damn race to be over, yet still crave the rush of wheels conquering the roads of Europe. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and, subsequently, a consumption of a carbohydrate-saturated, hearty sized breakfast will help you survive the morning after. And, maybe add some coffee to that. Maybe.
SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK! BRING ON PARIS X