Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeBlogsEx-Garmin Physio Toby Watson's BlogSan Sebastian From The Outside

San Sebastian From The Outside

-

A week after the Tour, and Mands and I got ourselves over to San Sebastian for a bit of vacation relaxery after the saga that is the nose to the grindstone month of the Tour.

We needed to drop off some key stuff for the team that was working the race (as an excuse to get over to one of the coolest towns in Europe — not bad!) Two birds, one stone, all of that!

We rocked up at the team hotel the morning before all of the riders arrived, dropped off what was needed and skedaddled.

It was a strange sensation — seeing things getting set up and just departing — not a pattern I am used to following at all! We then headed to our hotel, which hilariously was the race hotel for two of the other teams in the race! Bloody hell. And here I’d been promising a quiet weekend, barely any bike racing: “We’ll just be watching the finale on Saturday afternoon, otherwise it’s a total holiday babe…” Famous last words or what?

We did indeed have a triffic time, doing the time honoured travel cliche when in San Sebastian of hitting the Pintxoserias the night before the race (having almost avoided seeing anyone related to the race for a whole day). Pintxos (pronounced “pinchos” with the “os” being pronounced like in “possum”) are little niblets of food on a toothpick served over bars. You go in, grab a plate, pick up whatever tickles your fancy then pay depending on how many toothpicks are on your plate when you’re done. It’s a fantastic way to cruise through an evening, and was an dining style originated in the Basque country (of which San Sebastian is a major town) forever ago.

Ok. So you may have noted “almost” in the paragraph above when talking of avoiding race-related people. We did stroll out of our hotel room to the (ahem) glorious view of a couple of the riders being massaged by their soigneurs. Bike riders are nice blokes on the whole. They’re also very good at riding bikes, and are the main part of a very small global population that looks relatively good, or at least cool, in body hugging bike riding kit. However, as my fiancee’s shudders upon through-door glimpses of them receiving massages attested, their skinny, milky white frames are not the finest sight in the world. Heh.

When the race was finally underway, we continued our touristic jaunt, getting a bit of sun, having a bit of a swim, doing a bit of people watching and enjoying the day. Again, a very odd feeling for me while being in a town where there was a big bike race on. We did roll up to the team bus to see how the staff were, and then rolled to a pub to watch the finale. It was great (although unsurprising) to see Ryder getting dropped off at the bottom of the key selective climb by Jules: stalwarts and hard nuts of the team getting the job done yet again!

Ryder has enjoyed some great results recently.
Ryder has enjoyed some great results recently.

We then watched the show unfold with attack, counterattack, move and reaction all going down before our eyes. Ryder was strong, as ever, and produced a great result in finishing in fifth place. We celebrated his performance in the bar, then moseyed down to the team bus to have a chat to the crew before they headed back home, and we continued with our holiday. It was a very different feel to any other race I’ve been to.

I’ll be back in the thick of it soon though!

Toby Watsonhttps://www.veloveritas.co.uk
Ex-Garmin Transitions physiotherapist and soigneur Toby Watson brings you inside the squad, and shows you what it's like to be working with a top team on the biggest races in the world. Through his regular blog updates, Toby shares his sense of drama and fun that were essential parts of his job. Toby is Australian, and currently lives in Girona with his fiancee Amanda. If he has any time, he enjoys reading and running, and occasionally skiing too, when he can.

Related Articles

Hump Day & Humdrum: TdF Stage 11 (bunchie)

Hump Day & Humdrum. As the physio on team Garmin-Transitions, all I can say is this is a dangerous sport. All things considered, 3rd place for Tyler yesterday was a fantastic effort by the whole team, with Dave Zabriskie helping to control the break for most of the day.

Curtain Raiser: TdF Stage 13 (break or bunchie?)

TdF Stage 13...The big question of the day: will it be a sprint or a break? The Tour has now fallen deep into the second half of the race and the real show to sort out who will finish where in the general classification starts today as we hit the high mountains of the Pyrenees.

Ooh That’ll Hurt: Eneco 2010 Stage 2

Ooh That'll Hurt. Stage 2 of the Eneco Tour, and we shot southwards from northern Old Zeeland (I can’t help it) which is an amazing place — we were 6m below sea level and 100km inland on a bit of land that was ocean only 30yrs earlier! Incredible.

Ah, the First Time!

Ah, the First Time. Everyone remembers their first time. And after many years of flirtation and "everything but," last night was JV's. Garmin have finally managed to break their cherry to win a stage at the Tour. Now that the hoodoo has been cleared, I'm expecting multiple wins throughout the race, with Tyler Farrar being first cab off the rank tonight with the Stage 3 Bunch Sprint.

Weight of a Nation: TdF 2010 Stage 7 (hilltop)

Weight of a Nation. Today was the first mountain stage of the race, and the second chance for the big hitters to test each others' legs and see who was looking dangerous and who not. I just love the mountaintop stages in these races!

Consistent Aggression (Tour of Britain 2010)

Consistent Aggression. I'm in Ipswich, southeast England, and have finally found time to get finger to keyboard (what is the modern equivalent of "pen to paper"?) to scribble (again-what's the digital version of scribbling?-such important questions on this blog!) down a little of what's been going on.

At Random

James McCallum – “Commy Games? I Just Want to Forget About Them”

VeloVeritas waited until we were sure that James McCallum was displaying no symptoms of dengue fever before we caught up with him at Starbucks for a chat about his third Commonwealth Games.

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 19; Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour – Bergerac, 208 km. Navardauskas Solo

There's always drama when you work le Tour. We've followed Tour time trials for years; roll up at the start, tell the dude which rider you're following, they give you a windscreen sticker, marshall you into position at the appointed time and off you go. This year, however we were notified that we had to attend a meeting on Friday evening at the Permanence after the stage if we wished to follow a rider. Fair enough - but then they changed the venue a few hours before the meet was due.

Traditional Bunch Kick v3 – TDF 2012 St 5

Stage 5 is a guaranteed Traditional Bunch Kick. It is in the mold of the traditional early week flat stages of the Tour from years gone by. It is a 197km shot across the northeast of France, coincidentally passing very close to where the Australian WW1 cemetery at Villers-Brettoneux is located. A very moving place.

Bremen Six Day 2012 – Day Two

To misquote Shakespeare; 'that which I greatly feared is upon us.' Brad hasn't been taking bottles in the chases thus far and we'd no reason to think he'd start tonight, but he did. Right at the moment his mitted hand clutched that bottle, my heart sank - I've lived this nightmare before.

Graham Briggs – First British Winner of the Tour du Loir-et-Cher

As Sky and Cav grab the headlines in the pre-Tour roster debates and the ‘glamour races' as VeloVeritas sage and soothsayer Viktor would describe them, the ‘real’ world of cycling – without which there would be no top tier – carries on. It may be lost in the chat about Brad’s ambitions for this July or the Team Pursuit in two years' time and that dodgy Italian Viviani having the nerve to beat Cav a couple of times; but those Rapha Condor JLT boys just get on with the job.

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans – Besançon (ITT), 41.5km.

I guess I have to face up to it: it’s a black and blue – and yellow, world. I best get the hand of this ‘box ticking’ thing, then.