Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Time

Well it's summer and that means there is plenty of sunshine here in Europe!! Once the month of June roles around the continent seems to spring to life with an major boost in the general mood about the place. It seems with the longer days and extra hours of vitamine d soaking into the skin, everybody on this side of the ditch seems to have an extra spring in there step. I can say I am any different, could probably be accused of being a fair weather sailor but fortunately I have a job that allows me to literally chase the endless summer!

Since I last tapped my fingers away on my iPad I have really taken advantage of the summer time sunshine. My exercise activity time has increased, socializing taken up a significant bigger part of my time and hours with my head on the pillow has decreased as a result. No stress no doubt I will catch back up on that next time I am unfortunate enough to find myself in a climate where the daylight hours encourage me to retreat in doors again! So with the climate scene been set I will give you a little recap on what I have been up to over the past couple of weeks.

Tenerife as per usual was magnificent. I have to confess that I arrived there full of nerves and a little apprehension following my experience in California but I certainly left with the knowledge that all was back on track. Coach weber was awesome in nursing me back to my normal condition during week one in the middle of the atlantic and fortunately for me had more confidence than me that my respiratory problems would not effect me in Tenerife so cracked the whip straight away. Having said that I did hold my breath for the first minutes of my first intervals on the volcanic island and to my absolute delight my ability to board the pain train on the bicycle had returned. In California my body simply would not let me work and my heart rate tapped out at 160beats, my max this year is 210!! in the first interval back in Tenerife I hit 198!! Which was a combination of freshness from good recovery, excitement, and hard work but the underlying fact was I was free to do what I love doing again and train at my enthusiastic level.

With the system all back on track the weber set the program for my 2nd week on the island. it may come as no surprise that I simply love riding my bike. If I can be put there all day I am happy as a pig in poop! Weber knows this but is also much more intelligent than me and understands the concept of quality over quantity. So a mix of hard days and enjoyment riding days as we have started to call them mapped out a 40hour training week, a small phycological training hour barrier I like to reach during building periods like this. I trained for between 5-8hrs for 6 days and had one day in the middle for a bit of work absorbion and required catch up recovery. I don't know if it was the perfect combination between absolute lung and leg busting sessions and relaxing long days exploring the island but in the end it was by one of my most enjoyable and productive weeks on a bicycle so thanks mr weber! While I was certainly on the bike for a large percentage of the week and in bed for a larger percentage of it! The rest of the time was spent hanging in the hotel parador which is always an experience in itself whilst training Tenerife.

As usual I quickly struck up a good routine and found myself again a little institutionalized! Being there without the cannondale clan was a change however I had had some experience at this during my previous trip in April so was a little prepared. Simon Clarke had introduced me to a local legend in Julian who is an absolute dude and brilliant at organisin anything and everything you could ever need when training in Tenerife when left to your own devices. It was not only julian whom was happy to help in anyway possible but also the team staff form astana, team sky, and Saxo bank. Each day I would drop my washing off in the laundry room and my would get done with one of the teams and be dried and ready for me after dinner. Paolo slongo from Astana made sure I had a stretching mat and fitt ball, he had been my trainer for 2 years at cannondale and knew I liked these creature comforts in my room. The Saxo mechanic would give my bike a quick check over for me from time to time and it always running perfectly and the sky guys made sure all my nutrition and hydration requirements where taken care off. Basically everybody made sure I was all good and it was a great reminder of the unique little bond those whom venture to Tenerife share. So basically whatever i needed i had and back to julian he quickly had massage organized for 5 days a week and a trip down to santa Cruz to the chiropractor just make sure I was all lined up. The timing was all set up so I would return from training, shower, eat, and be on the table in time for an early dinner and early night. Only having to worry about yourself makes all this planning a little easier so big thanks to Julian for ensuring I was always in good hands. After dinner I would chill for a little while while I built up the courage for the final piece of recovery for the day! The ice bath before bed! Each evening the waiters would have a bucket ready for me to fill up with ice around 9:30 to lug back upstairs and pour in my already cold bath. From there I would hold my breath, jump in, grab my trusty iPad and watch a Floyd Mayweather Junior documentary or other boxing legend doco to keep my mind of my legs turning into ices bricks! Ten minutes later I was done and it was finally for bed, for some reason the ice bath at that time of the day not helped my recovery but also put me to sleep pretty quick so was a good little exercise. 

When the alarm went off in the morning I again had a ROUTINE! I reall enjoy a light jog first up in the morning and when amongst the fresh crisp thin air of Tenerife it even more enjoyable. After 30min of walk/plod I would be back for a little bit of core, summer time is not the time to neglect your abs! Infect it the time to work even harder on the beach body! A quick stretch and shower and it was time for breaky and my favorite meal of the day. The chef would have my salmon and tomato ommelette with a side of avocado always ready to go when I entered the dining hall at 9am. Before sitting down I would go into the kitchen where jamila would have the blender set up for me and make my morning smoothie. With the arrival of summer I like to cool down the core system before a long hot day in the saddle. My smoothies are something take very seriously have refined them over the years. My latest incarnation is a combination of protein powder, ice, yogurt, a banana, honey, and a yakult! It is um um um delicious! Once armed with my morning smoothie it's back to the dinning hall to tuck into some Tucker and have a chin wag with the other boys staying in the hotel. It seems every time I go I get to know a different rider a little better and this time it was the Astana combo of westra, fugslang and kessikoff whom I spent most of my time gas bagging to. With the tummy topped up it was time to board my cannondale evo for what always ended up being an enjoyable long hot day in the canary island sun! So that was pretty much my routine, a very enjoyable one and when I finally boarded the plane for my return to Italy as always I had a nice big satisfied smile on my dial. 

Once back in Italy I had a chat with my team director Stefano Zanatta where it was decided that I have a small schedule change with replacing to tour de Swiss with the tour of slovenia. I was pretty happy about this as I have never been to Slovenia and only heard amazing things about the place. Added to that anybody who has done the 4 day race has raved about it so I am excited to hit the roads over there next week with my Slovenian team mates in junior mohoric and kristian always your performance in races in June tends to have a significant impact on the racing you will do in july and through to the end of the year so as with every race, tour of Slovenia will be an important outing!!



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