Eastward Travels to Japan
I've been spoiled for the past few weeks, even months, without having to wake up early. Following surgery, I let my body sleep as much as it needed and this really ranged from day to day. When the alarm went off at 6:30am yesterday, it was a little shock to the system. Fortunately, a hot shower and espresso got me in gear quickly, or so I thought....
I walked over to my tram station and got on my normal tram to the train station. Sadly, there is major construction and detours going on with Gent's public transportation and I ended up going in the complete wrong direction. I got off and had to hobble, a little faster than my foot would have liked, over to a different tram stop and then was properly under way. Luckily, I've learned many times that things can go wrong with Belgian public transportation, so I always build in a huge time cushion.
A quick Starbucks at the train station and I was on my way to Zaventem (Brussels airport). Ran into some friends from another team at the airport who were heading to the Tour of Hainan; it was nice to catch back up with work friends after not traveling for nearly two months. I had a short flight from Brussels to Amsterdam and then had to wait in maybe the longest immigration line to date while transferring through Amsterdam.
I headed straight to the KLM (Skyteam) lounge with hopes that I could use points/pay to upgrade to business class. I've been concerned about flying this far with my foot and thought a lay-flat bed couldn't hurt. I asked and the woman sadly told me that she had sold it just 10 minutes before. I was bummed but figured I shouldn't give up so easy. I sat down and did some work until it was basically time to board, then I reapproached her and asked if anyone in business hadn't made the flight. To my surprise, she said yes! We processed the transaction as quickly as possible and hobbled super fast to the gate as it was finishing boarding.
Flight attendants on KLM and Delta are always amazing and this flight was no different. I asked for ice for my foot and the flight attendant took amazing care of me from that point forward, continuously bringing me bags of ice wrapped in a towel. Super amazing service. They also made me a gluten free plate of food (no soy sauce, no miso, no tempura, etc), which was above and beyond my expectations. Sadly, I didn't sleep well though. My foot just hurt; there is no way around it. I wasn't comfortable no matter what I did.
We landed and I soon met up with a few riders from my team. We all grabbed much needed Starbucks and then started the journey to Utsunomiya, Japan. The Japan Cup is by far one of the best organized races in the world and everything flows seamlessly. We had a nice 10-passenger van for the 2.5 hour ride, where I proceeded to catch up on Teen Mom (one of my dirty little travel habits).
Since getting to the hotel, I ate a little food, iced my foot crawled into bed for a two-hour nap and then went out for an hour plus walk. My foot is still bothering me and I've been good about icing it. I'm glad to be back in sandals and not lace up shoes and hopefully it'll calm down if I take it easy for the rest of the day.