- Posted by Tom Murray
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Cycling Weekly will have a rider blogging from every round of this year's Tour Series, offering insight, comment and humour from the fast-paced proceedings.
Metaltek-Knights of Old rider Tom Murray, whose team finished sixth in the opening round of the series in Kirkcaldy, talks tea, finger puppets, and getting back into the Tour Series routine.
The first round of the Tour Series is always a weird one because you've got no form to go off. You ride the first one, you cross your fingers and you hope and pray you've got the form you think you have.
You just slip straight back into the routine; waiting for that last tune and for someone to count you down. Then you've got three laps of hell for leather behind the neutralised bike; it becomes second nature.
Everyone talks about the "crit insomnia" because you cant sleep for eight weeks! It's like living in a different, alternative life for eight weeks. In fact the hardest bit is when you get to the end and you've got to get yourself into normal life.
The main difference with the Tour Series this year is that there are more and more people coming to ride in Britain. Raleigh and Node4 are full of Kiwis and Australians whereas a few years ago it was just Brits.
Its quite a nice feeling when you're on the start line, you're looking around you, and you see loads of new faces. They're more than welcome! They're raising the standard of bike racing in this country. Its quite nice that there are still some British faces mixed in as well.
I'm currently sat in a cricket pavillion in the grounds of our hotel in Morpeth - it's the one place I can find signal up here! We drove down last night and we'll drive over to Durham tomorrow [Thursday].
It's absolutely chucking it down outside, so I'm hiding from the rain. It's just me and a load of benches. I don't know what time it kicks off but I think it might be a while. There are a few pigeons wandering around but I don't think they're going to start playing any time soon.
It's definitely a nice change from waking up and seeing purple curtains in a Premier Inn! I've got a bit of a cold so I've been drinking Beet It shots [concentrated beetroot juice].
We got to the hotel last night and found they had a ginger and lemon tea, so I've been drinking that too. Ginger and lemon tea is the future, I've discovered it! I'm going to text Maggie [Magnus Backstedt, MG-Maxifuel rider who has his own coffee brand] and give him the recipe.
Kirkcaldy was quite nice! We had a nice romantic meal at ‘La Gondola' restaurant, an Italian place. It was the only restaurant we could find actually. I'm not sure people eat up there in Scotland.
There are a lot of bric-a-brac stores; shops that don't really have a point to them but are just full of whatever they've managed to get their hands on. There are so many of those; there was everything you could ever dream of, and all for £1!
We didn't bring anything back from Kirkcaldy, but we should have done. The hotel we stayed in had a gift shop, but the only thing it sold was finger puppets. It had a proper selection of about 150 of them for about £1.50 each.
You know sometimes when you just think you've gone mad. We could have got one for every rider on the team as mascots. We'll have to go back next year!