I always listen to music -at any time of the day. Strangely, the only moments without something in the ears is while pedaling. But the rest of the time, there is always a suitable soundtrack.
This peculiarity can have many advantages, but also many drawbacks. But, if your family over the years might get used to your oddities, you can’t say the same for your team-mates – those people with whom you’re “forced” to share certain moments.
The “couple life” that you are obliged to exist in during races ain’t always easy. In addition to the obvious stresses of day to day competition (the race went badly, the legs didn’t turn, crashes), there are other reasons why moments that should be relaxing can become a nightmare.
Imagine returning to the hotel after an unnerving ride. You’re tired, disappointed, it’s so warm outside that you’re going to need another shower soon. So you enter the room and your roommate is listening to Laura Pausini. (Ok, I must be honest, almost no Italian cyclist I know listens to Pausini, but it seems that outside of Italy everyone knows her or Ramazzotti).
What can you do? It is obvious that chucking the poor partner’s Bluetooth speaker out the window isn’t the ideal solution. Not even turning it off without saying anything – which is a bit rude but may give you relief – can be considered a peaceful gesture.
Read: Office politics – Philippa York on the nuances of team car seating etiquette
The real solution lies in planning your future roommate. We are in the summer now, so – even if you’re on a new team – we’ve had at least six months to understand who may be the right one for you.
There are several characteristics to be evaluated: if he always talks about music you can be sure that he will never let you decide what to listen to (uhmmm ok, that’s me!). If at breakfast his eyes are still closed while you have already finished your second coffee, there are clear differences in time zone; if he wears the same pair of socks for more than two days … well, I needn’t say more.
After ten years in the pro peloton, I can call myself an expert in finding the right roommate. I won’t say the perfect one, but one you can live with for 26 days of a Grand Tour.
Without touching the topic of music (this is my territory although I must admit Antoine Duchesne actually managed to make me listen to his tunes lately), the best benefit I’ve received from a roommate is coffee.
Ignatas Konovalovas, my Lithuanian team-mate, prepares his electric moka maker before going to bed – and he falls asleep while you read, light on and listening to music. Unbelievable! You wake up in the morning with the scent of coffee: perfect.
Luca Paolini woke me up as well with coffee, but with a capsule machine. Do you know the noise that makes? Put yourself in your room in silence. He opens the machine, the old capsule falls down, the new capsule goes in, he closes the machine and, then, RRRRAAAAHHHHHH. But as soon as I opened my eyes there was a cup ready for me. Maybe he wanted to be forgiven.
Read: An enemy in your coffee cup? Is caffeine slowing you down?
Alexander Kristoff always brought gummys from Norwegian supermarkets. They are HUGE! Why do we only get them in miniature here in the south?Daniel Oss, meanwhile, was kind of perfect. He was the only one with whom I could listen to any hardcore punk band pretty loud without any complaint.
Lately I am often with Davide Cimolai, the only Italian besides me in Groupama-FDJ. He always has chocolate with him. Always! But let’s say it, there’s always the chance he could put on Laura Pausini (just kiddin’ bro)!
This list, not exhaustive, about the good things can’t make me forget what, over the years, has not been so good. I will not reveal any names – out of respect I guess. Or maybe because I do not want any reply listing my own defects.
For me, as a general rule, the bathroom isn’t sacred. If I’m taking a shower and you want to wash your hands: no worries buddy, go ahead. You can also pee, yeah, sure. But the big one is a big no-no: you may not take a dump while I’m applying my shampoo.
And your phone? Use it whenever you want, but please, turn off that damn notification alert about your new follower on Twitter.
If your room-mate’s a snorer, poor guy, you can’t get angry about that. You just have to change room.For those who cannot sleep with air conditioning (I don’t know if it’s some kind of rule but it’s often climbers): mate, it’s 35 degrees in this Campanile hotel in the middle of the French countryside, I’m don’t want a sauna.
I usually sleep naked. And yes, you can do it too – no problem. But not if we only have one double bed to share
I could go on. Something I have to say, however: if I always found myself in my comfort zone with a room-mate then a lot of funny stories I’ve been able to tell over the years would probably not.
Maybe that team-mate who forces you to open the windows on February 4 because he is farting like hell while sleeping, is teaching us how to live together.
Jacopo Guarnieri has been racing at World Tour level since 2009. “I’m Italian and, beside the obvious fact that I love food and wine, I’m a serious music fanatic” he says. “I’m big, heavy and fast, so that makes me a good lead-out man, currently in the service of Equipe Groupama-FDJ”.
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