Where on earth did January go? Im finding it hard to believe that I’m sat on the plane on the way to my first race of 2011 already. I fell on my feet this time as the flight to Doha was direct from Brussels. So a 30 minute drive was pretty cool compared to a few of the 4:30 am starts and three flights a few of my team mates had.
So I got back from Majorca to a cold and blustery Belgium. You may think the last thing you would want to do after a 52hr training camp is train but Saturday morning and I was kitted up and off out for a bike ride. After training so much and so hard for so long, the worst thing you can do for your body is suddenly stop, so an easy 2hrs ride with a few light sprints was prescribed and I was ready for a well-earned day off on Sunday.
Sunday morning came and I was up and out the door at 6am! Not for training, but for a quick drive down to Sankt Wendel, Germany to support my grlfriend Nikki in the world ‘cross champs. She had a great race, finishing 15th after a flat tyre mid way into the race, I was pretty proud! It was the first ‘cross worlds I’d managed to get to, the last few years I’ve always been racing myself so it was a pretty amazing experience and was awesome to see. More than 20,000 fans crammed into a short 2.5km circuit is pretty special. If I could rewind 10 years I think I’d like to have a go at a bit of ‘cross!
Training camp done, rest days gone, what was next? The inevitable email came from my trainer with the next few days’ work set out. I must say it was a bit of a wakeup call. I expected an easy week but it was straight back into big k’s and big numbers. I suppose this is what it takes to be a good professional bike rider???
I can’t really say I enjoyed that last block of training, intervals, big hours, motor pacing and -1 temperatures are never going to be fun, I suppose.
So training done, time to race! Writing this I’m sat on the plane on the way to Qatar with what I think is half of the pro peloton! If this plane went down I think cycling would be in a bit of a mess… Fingers crossed.
The fun begins on Sunday with a 2km Prologue, then another five stages which I hope will bring some more victories to what has been already a great start to 2011 for HTC. I think the team has already racked up six wins and its only just February! The team for Qatar is Myself, Gatis Smukilis (Ivan Drago), Jan Ghyeselink, Patrick Gretch, Lars Bak, Bernie Eisel, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish. So we have a pretty fast team apart from me…… haha.
How am I feeling? Pretty nervous but also excited. I just hope that excitement will overcome the nerves come race day. As always on this team, wins are almost expected, especially when you turn up at a flat race with the fastest man on the planet. So I suppose the pressure is on!
By the time you read this I’ll be well into the race. Wish me luck……….