Hello December! Matt Brammeier writes for RCUK

The usual continuation of that sentence would be; ‘where did November go?’ But I know exactly where it went. I spent a good majority of those hours riding my bike on some of the most beautiful roads I have ever ridden on. Oh, and eating ice cream; I do like my ice cream!

Girona has to be without doubt the best place a bike rider can be. It has a good airport just 20 minutes away, there are a million different roads to ride on ranging from last week’s dirt tracks to perfectly smooth, almost highway-standard roads. You can ride relatively flat or pretty god-damn hilly! All of this with barely a car in sight. The place is also one of, if not the most fantastic towns I have ever set foot in. Before you ask, I don’t work for the tourist board, I just wanted to big-up Girona a little as my way of saying thanks for such good time!

As I mentioned last week, 2012 is going to be a pretty big year for me so getting on the right track asap after a good rest has been my priority. My cycling has been going great, I’ve churned out a fair few five, six and seven hour rides and I’m further ahead in fitness now than I have ever been this time of year. I don’t know exactly how many hours I have but each block of three days was between four and six hours per day.

So my fitness is good and I’m feeling strong. My only problem now is sorting out my hip and core strength. I’m still feeling pretty weak on the left side and have a monumental amount of work to do in the coming weeks.

So apart from training, what’s next?

I’m on the way back to Belgium for my first real team training with Omega Pharma-Quickstep. Well I say training, it’s actually labelled as ‘survival training’. “Don’t forget a headlamp, extreme winter clothing and swimming trunks” they reminded us. The mind boggles!

It’s all been a bit of a secret with not too much information; all we know is we have a lunch today with Mr Bakala, our team’s majority owner, and then we will be dumped at an undisclosed location for who-knows-what! We have been split into groups or teams and, as bloody usual, I opened my big mouth a little too much and have ended up being voted team captain. Nothing like a little bit of extra pressure. Maybe getting lost in the woods last week was a blessing and a bit of pre ‘survival’ training for me!

All I know is I’m super excited to get stuck in and get to know my team mates and can’t wait for the madness to begin!

Quite why we need swimming trunks in December in Belgium I’m not quite sure!!    [Doesn’t sound good to me – ed.]

I’m sure next time I won’t be struggling with things to write about.

Wish me luck


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