Luke Evans writes from the Giro d’Italia, where he is moto pilot for photographer Graham Watson
Rest day, Monday, May 21
A day off. Much needed after two weeks without a break. Well a bit more than that as the first rest day was taken up with travelling from Denmark to Italy after the first weekend of the Giro.
That Tuesday a fortnight ago was a day when the relief of finding a space on the RAI TV truck for my motorbike, which freed me from a 1600km ride, turned to desolation when my bag went missing on the flight to Milan.
Apart from the obvious stuff the bag contained one of the most cherished things for the Moto, the tank bag with scanner radio, homemade amp, shades, multitool etc.
That little bag and it’s dusty contents have been to every race from Qatar to Paris-Roubaix, and for a week until I got it all back (via Munich, Ancona and Gatwick – you should see the stickers on it) I was super low at the thought of having replace it.
But it’s so easy to lose stuff on a three week race and however careful and methodical you are there will be times when you come back to the bike and find the zip is open on the tank bag and your wallet has been sat there for all to see while you had wandered off.
Yesterday we left our passports in the hotel. We were a few k’s down the road before the owner rang Sylvia (our driver and the Saint who chased by bags for a week) and she did a rapid dash bash to retrieve them.
Some cameras have been nicked this year and you have to be more careful these days at start towns and finishes.
The reason you do forget things is simple. We are all getting progressively more pooped. There are easier days, when the sun shines and you can have a lie-in before a midday start.
Then there are days like yesterday. After retrieving the passports we drove from the Italian Alps (the previous stage finished in the Italian side of the Matterhorn), to the other side of Milan for the stage start. That was roughly 100 miles.
The stage was 120 miles, raining on and off and mostly on wet roads.
Lots of technical and tricky descents with the usual cut and thrust of team cars and riders to deal with. Got to the mountain-top press room where Graham worked till 8.15pm and we dropped down the hill to rendezvous with Sylvia at 9pm. On the way down I hit a wooden baton in the road, I didn’t see in the shadow of the trees.
By then it was getting dark and the rain had set in. We had another 120 miles to go, via Milan again, to the rest day hotel on lake Garda, which we reached just after midnight.
By then I had three coats on and was damp through from riding in the spray from the Lancia hire car, just keeping the bike between the two red tailights basically.
Haven’t hit another cane toad recently but we did cause some amusement yesterday when we panic stopped for a pee on a very quiet lane in the middle of nowhere and out of a gap in the bushes a hard-working lady of the night appeared.
Cue slowing down team cars asking Graham if he gets a special rate for Giro followers.