Dan Martin Diary – Rest Day: ‘I had a bit of a disaster on Sunday night with the air conditioning unit’

‘I am the patron of the Cycle4Life charity and the proceeds for selling the t-shirts will be used to help the Temple Street children’s hospital. People can buy them on the DID Electrical site’

Overall leader Christopher Froome faces the media during rest day.

Overall leader Christopher Froome faces the media during rest day.

 

The second rest day of this year’s Tour de France took place Monday and it was a lot busier early on than our previous one had been. We have been sharing the hotel with Sky, the team of the race leader Chris Froome, and there was a lot of bustle as a result.

We woke up this morning and trying to get to breakfast was a problem with so many journalists running around. Sky was holding a press conference at around 10am, making it pretty crazy in the hotel.

Being the rest day, we had a change of breakfast to try to give us a mental break as well. Normally on race day I always eat the same thing . . . I have porridge and then an omelette with some bread or something, and a probiotic fruit smoothie which the team chef makes.

This time, we enjoyed some ham, hash browns and some bread, with a croissant or two. It helps break the routine, and helps us to switch off a bit. The rest days are some of the few where we get to eat a proper lunch, sitting down rather than racing along in the bunch and eating bits and pieces such as energy bars and gels. Instead, we had some spicy Mexican food . . . it went down very, very well, and helped us to just forget about the race.

As I said before in this diary, you can’t switch off completely on the rest days. It is important to keep the body moving – because we have been racing so hard; if you just take a total break the body stiffens right up and it is hard to get going again when the race restarts.

In order to avoid that, we went for a little ride on the bikes. We did an hour and 10 minutes or so, stopping along the way for coffee in a typical Provençal town. The atmosphere was really good . . . we were laughing and joking about the stuff that happened on Sunday’s stage.

In addition to the time on the road bike, I also did an extra 10 minutes on the new time trial bike I will use. I have got a special one made up for Wednesday’s time trial, which is a lot hillier than the one we had last week. Normally I use the Cervélo P5, which is a pure time trial bike built for flat speed rather than climbing and is consequently heavier than the normal bike.

Road frame
For Wednesday, I am using the Cervélo S5 instead. It is the aerodynamic road frame, and the mechanics have dressed it up as a time trial bike. It is not quite as aerodynamic as the P5, but it is a hell of a lot lighter. It gives us the best of both worlds, and hopefully we will be competitive as a result.

Weather-wise, it was super hot here. I think we got lucky on Sunday, in hindsight, as it wasn’t as bad as this. I actually used the hotel pool to cool down, treating it like a recovery tool. Because I have been racing so hard, my body’s metabolism is going so fast at the moment as it is trying to recover.

As a result the core temperature is really, really high, and it is difficult to settle down. I used a dip in the pool to help with that – I wasn’t going up and down, just messing around a bit in the water.

Speaking of heat, I had a bit of a disaster on Sunday night with the air conditioning unit. I was so out of it before I went to bed that I forgot to check what temperature it was set to. The maids had set it to 30 degrees beforehand and I never realised it.

In the middle of the night I was wondering why it was so hot in there . . . saying ‘damn the air conditioning, it is not working’. I was lying there swearing at the machine. I felt a bit daft when I woke up in the morning and saw that it was on heat rather than cool!

My agent came to the hotel and brought some of my ‘Crazy Panda’ t-shirts with him. We had them made up, using an image from Liège-Bastogne-Liège when someone in a panda suit was running behind me. I am the patron of the Cycle4Life charity and the proceeds for selling the t-shirts will be used to help the Temple Street children’s hospital.

People can buy them on the DID Electrical site. My agent brought a few to the Tour, although he didn’t have enough to go around the whole team. . . I’ll have to decide how to give them out to the others.

Back to the race – next up is a lumpy stage to Gap. I haven’t actually checked it out in the race book yet. I’ll have a proper look on the bus on the way to the start. I know there is a descent at the finish and it is quite up and down. I think it will likely be a day where a break could get clear and hang on until the finish.

There will be many riders trying to get into a move as it’s probably the last day for a break to survive until the finish line. There might be a chance for myself or Andrew Talansky, my team-mate, to slip into the move and to try to hold on. It could be a very interesting day.