Monday, February 7, 2011

Changing Time Zones

The past week has been quite a whirlwind for me. 1 week ago I was enjoying a beautiful dinner in the beautiful company of the wade family at the shippies pub in my home town of Hobart Tasmania. Since then I have logged 1000km on the bike, flown from Hobart to Europe, had a couple of days in my European home town of gavirate, travelled to cecina for a team training camp and completed the GP etrusti race in the Tuscany region of Italy. I think it is most likely the most I have crammed into one week but surprisingly I don’t seem abnormally tired which is a pleasant surprize.

I took my usual flight with emirates which offers me the best connection from aus to Europe. It is a 13hr flight to dubai which I never notice thanks to the effectiveness of stillnox. During the 3hr connection in dubai I hit the gym for a quick 1hr on the bike and some core and stretching to negate the effects of the travel before boarding the plane again for the comparatively short 6hrs direct to Milan. This time I took the opportunity to watch the social network which I must say is a jolly good film. Upon arriving in Milan at 7:45pm I was collected by my very good Italian pal and expert motor pacer matteo and we raced off for tea at my favourite restaurant in the world, marco and roberto’s trattoria. With some great tucker as usual on board and a welcome return to delights of Italian cuisine It was finally time for a good night sleep which I was in need of following the travel. I woke up Tuesday morning and was on the bike at 8:30am in order to meet my team mate Ivan Basso for some training. Upon getting going I was greeted by 0 degree temperature but thankfully sun and not rain but shock none the less after having enjoyed 25 degree training condition the day before on mt wellington in Hobart. I met ivan and having not seen each other for 6 weeks we had a lot to catch up on and before I knew it I had logged 4hrs 30min which is not what I would normally do the day after a long flight. Time with Ivan always goes pretty quick with Ivan as as they say time fly's when you are having fun and i am always learning somthing which is cool, he has alot of experience not surprizingly. Anyway in the afternoon a logged another 1 hr and also 30min in the gym as I train twice a day for the first 2 days to have the eyes in the sunlight to help with the time zone changes. Also it keeps you awake as at about 4pm you are usually falling asleep on your feet. Whizzing along the rd thankfully keeps you awake and the body adjusts faster. I woke up fresh as a daisy on Thursday which was a pleasant surprize as I was pretty confident I had over cooked it the day before but all seemed good. I completed another 2hrs 30min in the am and the same in the afternoon so another 5hrs down and was felt like I had already adapted time zones which pleased me no end. Friday I travelled with team director alberto volpi to Tuscany and did 90min with my team mates to freshen up for the race on Saturday.

The race was a great success for the team with our sprinter Elia Viviani taking the victory and with it the first victory of the year for Liquigas-Cannondale. It was a huge buzz to be on the start line in Italy wearing the liquigas kit, not only is Italy arguably the heart of cycling but to be in one of the world’s best and italy’s best team was a great moment for me. All Italian races are super important for all Italian teams so after a well detailed team meeting we headed to the start line with a very clear direction of what to do for the next 185km. The race went pretty stock standard for Italian races with a flurry of attacks in the initial km’s which all usually come back until we settle of a nice small break more easy to control. In the end 3 riders were set free and with 150km to race they had a lead of 9min. At this point myself and team mate timmy duggan went to the front to start riding them back along with 3 colnago riders. We had to set a pretty solid tempo due to the size of the escapees lead but this suited me just fine. The race was a great opportunity for some training for me and wanted to make sure I had a hard day at the office. We swapped of for the next 120km doing 2km turns which worked great as it meant having about 8min recovery. This meant a high wattage could be sustained which for me was 450-500watts while on the front with 30km remaining the lead was down to 2min. At this point we hit a 4km climb which on paper suggested attacks would come from the bunch. Sure enough none other than 2004 Giro d italia winner Damiano Cunego launched the first move which I was forced to up the tempo on the front of the bunch to ride him back. Once I had him reeled in Steffan Schumacher had a go and was quickly followed by another 10 riders including 2 team mates so I relaxed to jump in the peleton. Unfortunately I had not realised the peleton was by this stage spread all over the climb and we were clear so I had to jump in this group also. Having the advantage of numbers I went to the front and drove this group but soon more attacks went and as often as is the case in Italy eventually everyone started to look at each other and see what would happen next. By this time we were over the climb and the frantic speed of the chasers had them back on pretty quick and it was all going to come down to a bunch sprint. Analysing the SRM data showed that for the 12min climb I averaged 455watts which for me is probably record fr this amount off and considering the work I had done on the front for the previous 120km I was pleasantly surprized. Back to the front I went for one final pull to get the chase organised again before our rd team captain denial oss pulled me off to save our juice for the closing km’s. With For the final 15km kept our remaining 8 fresh riders up the front and out of harm’s way by setting up a train beside to still tirelessly working calnago. With Colnago tiring and the break reeled in our 8 fresh lads stormed to the front with 5km to go and in the process upping the pace by around 10km/ph and never looked back. With each rider burying himself then pulling off we still had 3men on the front with 500 to go and by the time Peter Super Sagan did the final lead out not only did alia have plenty of time to celebrate but Peter calmly rolled across the line without breaking into a sprint. Was a great day for the team and certainly one of the most satisfying I have been apart off and I will forever remember my first race in Italy with liquigas-cannondale. For me being in a new team it is important to show you are prepared to sacrifice all you can for your team captains success. This can only be displayed in a race so I was super greatfull I could display this to the team so early in the year. Anything to help blend into your new environment is always a good thing and for me helping others achieve success is truly something a greatly enjoy. Fact and figures for the race were as follows

Time 4hr 36min
Watt Av 304.5, my highest power average for a race!!!
Heart Rate AV 140bpm
Speed 40km/ph
Altitude Gain 1750m
Energy Exp 5000calories

A pretty solid day as I had wished for at the office.

So with the race out of the way today it was time to get stuck into our classics preperations training camp and also wrap up a big week for me. Today we completed another 5hrs 30min or 185km on the bike and I then had another 1hr in the gym for some abs core and stretching. With 5 out of 7 days on the bike in excess of 5hrs and 20000km of aeroplane travel thrown in for good measure I am ready for a nice long sleep.


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