The past couple of weeks have been an forced mid season break for me. With no tour de france the team stressed the importance of me taking a little break to ensure i have all the batteries fully charged for the final few months of the season. For the first week i was instructed to do just an easy 2hrs every second day and this week just gone take completely off. Well kind of off, the team were a little short for a race last saturday so i actually found myself lining up in slovenia for the gp krnaj. Not much was exepected of me as i was meant to be on "holidays" but if i pin a number i find it difficult not to give as much as i can to help out. So after 150km on the front with a couple of my very strong team mates i did my final pull with about 4km to go. With 1km to we still had 5 liquigas cannondale boys on the front of the bunch who duly delivered the very talented and motivated lovely bloke Simone Ponzi to his first professional victory. It was certainly a very liquigas dominated event which was great to be appart off and always extra bit special to be appart of a victory within the team so i was happy my vacation period was momentarily disrupted. For the record my SRM data showed the following data which indicate it turned out to be far from an easy saturday for me:
Time 4hrs 11min
Speed 41kmph average
Watts 291 average
Hear Rate 146 average
Elevation Gain 1650m
So onto my second week off basically no training. I dont do this very well and am usually in a pretty horrible mood if i dont exercise. Realising i could not be like this for an entire week i got a list of all the little jobs needing to be done and also it is fortunate that i can waste many hrs on the golf course. I gave my bikes a little bit of a tune up to ensure they were ready to start work again on monday and also just a little bit of tlc that they deserve for the battering a put them through. I tend to be pretty hopless at admin tasks or more i put them off way to long so caught up on all that which was very satisfying and perhaps most excitingly i finally got my satalite dish connected to SKY. Sky is certainly way cooler than i could have ever imagined and really dont know how or why i had deprived myself of such a luxury for the past 5months. Having basically every chanel under the sun in both italian and english is only the start of its greatness, i can even watch a show in italian with english subtitles which has by far been the best way to learn the language i have come accross. I get not only to watch every tytpe of sport known to man but most importantly the australian league's of football in AFL and also Super 14 rugby so really i can turn my little appartment into a minor australian oasis simply by turning on the tele. Having home and away on the soap opera channels just really caps of an exceptional television service i cant thank the founders of the company enough for offering such a product. So sky tv kept me pretty occupied for a few days but with the week and jobs to be done coming to a close i decided to head over to Luzern in switzerland to watch my aussie rowing pals in the final rowing world cup of the 2011 season. Being only 200km away was a painless drive accross and was great to spend the weekend catching up with eevrybody and at the same time taking my mind of the fact that i was not riding my bike or exercising and hense keeping any grumpiness at bay.
It is always a stange experience for me going to watch the rowing. I am always interested to know how i am going to feel sitting on the bank watching my mates and old rivals from other countries racing by and wonder if i have any urges to get out there. I guess if i was ever going to be temped back into the boat, the difficult little few moments i had had over the past couple of weeks with not doing le tour would have potentially put me in a frame of mind that may consider this. To my surprize i had no desire whatsoever to get back in the boat. It was a refreshing feeling as although i have felt some pain in the past weeks with what has gone on all the time i was in luzern i just could think of nothing else than getting home and getting stuck back into my training tomorrow. I have deffinately completely moved on from my past sport i relaised and although i loved every minute of being there to support my mates i realised how truly happy i am to be riding my bike and doing a sport a truly love every little bit off. The highs, lows, everything, well almost everthing as i said before taking time off mid season is certainly somthing is i still find a little frustrating and difficult but i am sure in time i will get ontop of that. Maby it just means i have not been working hard enough and am not tired enough so i will be sure to samsh myself for the next few months so i trluy earn my next break mid october when the season wraps up. Back to the rowing and i certainly love being there, i also love and feel a huge desire to help my mates where i can and even if given the chance do a bit of coaching like i do with my school or advice on anything the guys might want to ask me. Having had now some great experiences in cycling which i think i have managed to both successfully and unsuccessfully in other areas combine some rowing things in my way of cycling, i think some cycling things can certainly help the rowing guys so in time i really hope i can help them in any way posible with i guess the unique experiences i have been so fortunate to have. On another note i was fortunate enough to meet perhaps the two most famous rowers in the world all be it for reasons not entirely due to there rowing exploits in Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. We had a very lengthy chat as like so many others these days they have become keen cyclists and very interested to know the ins and outs of the sport. It was also another little reminder for me that no matter who you are how sport is such a wonderfull thing in engaging with different people on a completely level platform free of status or fame or whatever other social restraints that limit interaction between different people and cultures these days. Here i was standing on the side of a rowing lake in the middle of europe somwhere chatting indepth with two dudes i had recently read a book about and watched a movie about along with the billions of others around the world and they were completely engaged and genuinely interested in learning about another sport and i felt liked to be getting more of an insiders view which they may not get watching tv. Anyway just a great reminder of sports ability to bring down barriers and allow to engage with people you never could have imageined doing so. They were greta blokes and i wish them all the very best for the selection and participation at the rowing world in Bled slovenia in late august. So that was my rowing weekend in luzern, as it turned out, it was full of surprizes.
So my break has come to an end, i have survived without getting too grumpy and also managed to feel like i have all in order around the house to get 100% focused on the very importaant 4 weeks of training that lies infront of me before the eneco tour on August 8. Time for bed and when i get up in the morning i cant wait to get back to work.