Spending Time in the US
There is something so easy about going back to the US. Everywhere takes credit cards, everyone speaks English, hotel rooms are sizeable, ice is readily available. The list goes on and on but these things typically appeal to me only in small quantities. After months on the road, when I go back to the States for a few days or weeks, it is always so nice. I don't worry about stress and headaches nearly as much as I do on other trips. I simply know everything will work; that's just how it goes in the US.
I headed directly from the Tour of Denmark over to the States for the Tour of Utah. Initially, I thought it was for less than a week (a whole other blog post to come on that....) and that felt too short. I knew I would be fighting jet lag the entire time but felt lucky to do any of it. This is a race I absolutely adore.
Even my job is different in America. Everyone is friendlier. Funny enough, even the exact same people who I race with in Europe are nicer when they hit US soil. I haven't figured out why but it really does make a difference in my job. I enjoy the pleasantries that are exchanged in the parking lots, press rooms, hotel buffets and out on course. People ask each other about their days and there are parking lot beers enjoyed between teams.
Another highlight is the food. Race food - especially when we are in California, Utah or Colorado - is incredible. These are states that embrace eating local. At races, typically teams, riders and staff eat together in a big hotel conference room, buffet style. This means A LOT of overcooked chicken, pasta and rice. It gets redundant at best. When we go to these US races, the food quality goes up several notches. There will be black beans and salsa, kale and even the occasional apple pie.
I have a slew of food issues all related to health issues. I try to minimize the attention my health issues play on my life. It is something I have to deal with, so I do, and then I move on with life. They definitely don't define me, but they do make eating while traveling pretty dynamic. Currently, I'm eating gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free and banana-free all based on inflammation in my blood work (I was diagnosed with celiacs off an intestinal biopsy nearly 15 years ago but I decided to ignore it.) I've been eating this way for almost six months and my blood work shows it is helping. Finding foods that fit my diet while on the road, especially outside of the US, is extremely challenging. The US seems to be the land of food disorders because I feel like I can find gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free everything. And I love it. My obsession this race was lettuce wrapped sandwiches from Jimmy Johns and I have no shame in admitting it.