Archive for April, 2008
Just checking in before things start to heat up on the racing scene again. My next adventure will be taking me in and around Switzerland on the Tour of Romandie. A race I have done once before which helps calm the nerves a little but I’m sure it will still throw up its fair share of surprises.
My last week of training in preparation for Romandie and also the Giro has gone fairly well, with I little stint into the Pyrenees to remind my muscles of how it feels to go up hill again.
I spent a couples days based out of Limoux, and got stuck into the biggest hills I could find near by. As you will see below they are quite high, this leaving little oxygen for a flat lander kiwi to suck up. Though I did survive and after passing the Col du Pailheres that was sign posted as “ferme” or closed in English, I though why not Pradel as well. I was in for real surprise once I reached the top, just after I had pulled on my vest an arm-warmers for the descent I was to find 3km of knee deep snow! Just my lucky day. So two options start running down the hill bike in hand, or turn back and re mont Pailheres? Easy choice, Ill take the snow thanks. So 20-30mins later I got back on my bike good to go but with just slightly frozen feet. So down the valley I went, though only to be met by a block headwind for the last 40km, but not to worry as my brother, sister and Sally were on hand for quick motor pace back home in the mighty Renualt. Cheers bro, solid effort for first motor pacing attempt. I rolled in the door after 6.40hrs in the saddle a tired man man but hey life’s all about adventures isn’t it.
So hopefully the last couple of days recover have set the legs right and we are into things on Tuesday. Will let you know how it all goes.
The next couple of months are going to be a couple of full on ones for me so I thought I better let you know where I’ll be.
First of all tomorrow I’m heading down to Limoux for a couple days training in the hills to prepare the legs for the upcoming races. Cyclist often talk about finding there rythm in the mountains. For me its easier said than done but we’ll see how we go.
Then starting next week my program looks like this:
29-4 Tour of Romandie (Swi)
10-1 Giro d’Italia (Ita)
11 Dutch Food Valley Classic (Ned)
19-22 Route du Sud (Fra)
By the end of all this I think I will be one tired lad, but I do feel better prepared this time round for these races so hopefully I will cross the finish line in Milan after a three week epic race.
Will let you know how it all goes.
Its 5pm and I’ve just risen from a well needed arvo kip. Yes I know what you’re thinking, sounds tough! And well yeh it can’t be a bad lifestyle when you can curl up in your bed for 30min shut eye on the Tuesday arvo.
This morning Pete an I rolled out for 2 and half hours on our TT bikes for a bit of a change, but as usual spent the most of the ride talking about how we are going to make our millions without ever having to work a nine to five. Then it was home for some streching a little core work and magic bowl of hot soup and toast for lunch to warm up a little.
After waking up this morning and opening the shutters to see once again dark skies with rain on the horizon my motivation for another days wet training was starting to waver. Though today we got lucky, the rain had past before us so we were just left with wet roads to deal with today.
As you will have noticed I havn’t appeared on here very often lately, not that I havn’t thought about keeping you all updated, I’ve thought about it a lot to be honest. It just takes a certain frame of mind for me to get on here and write about how day to day life in the pro peloton has been treating me.
So yesterday I spent a few hours browsing a few other riders sites to gather some insperation myself. While I sat there reading I found myself intruiged reading other riders stories and more than inspired to write some of my own.
It has been 10days since my last race, Paris Roubaix, and when I returned home to Albi for a much needed couple days off the bike it was time to set a few new goals for the up coming months of racing. After spending two weeks in Belgium completing a full classics program with 3days of De Panne, Tour of Flanders, Ghent Whevelgem and Paris Roubaix I had some mixed emotions on my performances, form and goals for the future. I was dissapointed not to finish either of the big ones Flanders, and Roubaix but tried to look on the positive side that with limited preparation it was always going to be tough and the experience gained will be with me forever.
Tour of Flanders was a highlight though. What a race. An estimated 1.3millions spectators following the race you could just feel the intensity and the amazing buzz around a race that means so much to Belgian and World cycling. My role for the day was to stay by our leader Phil Gilbert’s side from the start to however long my engine would last. So I was to keep him out of the wind and safe from crashes if thats possible on the small Belgian roads. When we hit the cobbled sectors I would drop back behind him and be ready to lend a wheel or a hand if he was to puncture or crash. I was kept fairly busy early on as Belgium being Belgium dished up four season in one day, meaning I had to fairy rain jackets and bottles back an forth to the car quite often. After around 150km of the 265km journey the race really started to heat up. My tank was nearly empty at the 190km mark as we roared along a big road before turning into one of the famous cobbles bergs the ’Oude Kwaremont’ so I did my best to position Phil before I was swamped by frantic peloton and left straggling over the top of the climb with a small group off the back. In a race like Flanders, even if you still have power left you don’t come back from here. The onslaut of consecutive cobble walls makes it impossible as the front of the peloton isn’t waiting for anyone. So as I rolled into the 2nd feed station for the day at 210km I was heading straight to for the shelter of my team car, where I attempted to try and get feeling back in my hands after the rain, hail, and snow we had passed through.
Phil finished 15th at the end of the day, while sprinting for 4th he told me he stood up to sprint but had no choice but to just sit back down and follow as his legs gave way and cramped, and fair enough after 6 and a half hours of racing. Phil was greatful for the work I had done, but hopefully next time round I will have to stamina to be there at the finish too.
Well folks I’m sure thats enough for one sitting.
Back at it again soon.
Thought it sure was about time I dropped you all a line, and let you know I am still alive and kicking. I have been constantly bouncing around Europe like ping pong ball taking in the ups and downs as I go.
I won’t go into too much detail this time but I will try make a little time line off photos of my travels. Since arriving I have raced in Spain, Italy, and Belgium while just passing home in Albi very breifly each time to rearrange the suitcase and get back on the road for another journey. I spent three weeks crook after getting here and with no time to rest after it really took its toll on me. I racked up some good kms in the renault and on the bike getting too and at training camp but then stuggled to freshen up for the racing. So far there has been no results to speak of but it has been great to be part of some team victories. I met up with the NZ track team in mid March for the Track Worlds prep but it didn’t quite go as planned as I struggled to get up to speed on the track after a heavy road racing schedule left me pretty fatigued. So it was home for a little recovery and catch up with the flaties Pete and Sally before heading back to Belgium for some serious classics action.
So here I am after race 3days of De Panne and Tour of Flanders last week, tomorrow I have Gent Wevelgem and Sunday Paris Roubaix. Flanders was a real experience, though I didn’t finish I did what I could for team and left feeling pretty happy with my own form ready for the rest of the week.
Ok well its time for me to go and put the feet up and get some shut for tomorrows race. Thanks to all those who have a left comments of late it is much appreciated, I promise to be back with more news from this side of the world soon.
Training in Mallorca. Team mate Cyril frozen after a days racing in dirty old Belg. A little afternoon outing with the track team. The sun out at the track in Hyeres. Afew days later under snow in Manchester. Pete and Sally pulled up for a coffee in Albi. A quick coffee stop in Holland while training before the Tour of Flanders (no cakes for us though)