Hello Australia: Matt Brammeier writes for RCUK

So here I am, in sunny Australia. After a long couple of days travelling, we finally arrived. It’s my third trip to Oz, so I kind of knew what to expect. First we had to fly from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, then wait for eight hours and then fly on to Adelaide. Our first flight didn’t exactly go to plan. We were delayed for five hours and so had a bit of a wait before we even got going. Lucky for us, we were flying Business class, so we had a few nice perks to help us arrive that little bit fresher.

I always look at the flight and arrival times and try to come up with a bit of a tactic as to when I’ll sleep and stay awake. Our first flight was 11 hours, then the eight hours in Malaysia and then a last flight of seven hours to Oz, where it would be 7am. So I decided on staying awake until that last flight, sleeping for its seven hours and then waking up to what would be the morning. That meant going 28 hours without sleep – pretty extreme but it normally works. Jet lag is always worse when you’re fighting to get to sleep rather than fighting to stay awake, so ending up being tired was my game plan. So far it’s working pretty well; I’ve had a good few nights sleep so far and am settling in ok. Fingers crossed, I’m now in the rhythm.

Of course, after such a long trip the legs and body don’t feel too good. The first few days here I just wanted to take it easy on the bike, loosen off a bit and, of course, stay awake during the day. I was up and out before 10 for a steady two hour ride, back to the hotel for massage and a spot of lunch and then out again for another hour, not training but just to stay awake. I normally drink a lot of coffee, but this week has been crazy. I’m not only drinking it to keep me awake but I’ve also found myself going out just for the sake of it. Normally I spend every minute I can in bed but recently I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. If I lie down on a bed, I will sleep for sure.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m in the rhythm and should sleep fine from now on. After arriving in Adelaide I soon realised what a big event the Tour Down Under is, the whole of the city has TDU fever. Apart from the travel and the jet lag, there’s not really much else to talk about. After a few easy days training, we picked things up a bit and did a little more over the last two days.

We had a block of three, four and five hours training planned with some course reconnaissance and a bit of motor pacing too. I don’t know how on Earth most stages here finish in sprints because I haven’t seen much flat so far. Yeah, there are no mountains but it’s up and down most of the way every day here.

We have been riding on some pretty nice roads with not much traffic in the obviously perfect weather so of course we’re all happy enough. We also got on our new race bikes and spent a few days fiddling around with our positions and annoying the mechanics. It doesn’t matter that the bikes are identical and measure exactly the same as our training bikes; they always feel slightly different and need a bit of adjustment.

Another bonus of training before a race is we get to train on our nice race wheels. It’s pretty cool to batter around training on Zipp 404s, hey! I don’t know what it is about my bike, it’s pretty much identical than last year’s but I seem to like it a lot better, I feel much more comfortable and faster too.

So we’re settled in and into the first block of training. Getting to know the place and fiddling about is done; it’s now time to get to work. We have a couple more big training days planned and then a few good recovery days before it all kicks off.

As always, I’m really excited to race and can’t wait to show my new jersey to the world!


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