January 19, 2008
I am back in Sydney after my first road trip of the year, the Jayco Bay Classic and the National Champs. The off-season and pre-season have come and gone and the 2008 season is underway. It's been a busy off-season this year, probably my busiest yet.
Last time I wrote I was on the way to Noosa for the "Dash for cash." It was once again a sensational week away, the promoters really spoil us. A few rides, a bit of beach time, a golf day, some coffee shop time, a bike race and quite a few beers was pretty much the week. The race itself was tough considering the money that was on offer. I was glad I rode my bike between the Sun Tour and Noosa, it was definitely no stroll in the park.
The 'offy' was over quickly this year. I didn't have as much time off the bike as usual, mainly because I had already been cruising for two weeks before Noosa and mentally I was fresh. However, the 'offy' wasn't spent relaxing with the feet up on the lounge, because I had to move house twice in three weeks. There also seemed to be something on every weekend, or every second day for that matter.
The pre-season was good, with a few weeks of easing into training along with gym, two weeks up the Gold Coast and a few good hard weeks of training back in Sydney.
I was up the Gold Coast for almost two weeks to race the South Bank and Surfers crits. Once again, Geoff Meyer looked after us well. Most days were spent doing four to five hours on the bike, some pool time, a body bash at the beach and a pub meal with the boys. The highlights had to be Nick Gates's engagement party, the Annual Surf life saving luncheon, and the gold day at Lakelands.
The Southbank crit was a wake up call to the body and the rain didn't help make the race any easier. I had good legs in Surfers and cruised through a lot easier. It was great to see Bobby Phillips get a win in his last race.
Back in Sydney, and it was back to reality. The weather at the time was dismal, and I got wet more then a few times. It was then once again, time for another December crit. This time in Cronulla, and again we had another retirement. Matt White also took the win on his last day as a professional and then through the best "end of career" party ever, hiring a boat on Sydney harbour. I had good legs in the race and actually took out the overall sprint competition for the day.
Christmas and New Years was a low key and I got the chance to get a huge week of miles in on the bike in the good weather. Except for when I was able to see a favourite group of mine, Sneaky Sound Systems at my local pub, the Mean Fiddler.
Next was the first race of the 2008 season, my tenth consecutive Jayco Bay Series. The form wasn't too bad and I rode myself into the series getting better everyday. By the last crit I finished in the top ten. The weather was great this year and I really enjoyed the series this time around.
I spent the next week in Melbourne training with a good group, a mix of Melbournians and Gold Coastian's who were down to miss the flooding weather they were having up north. We got some good rides in mixed with a few laughs along the way. The weather was once again fantastic and it was a very enjoyable week while staying at Allan Lang's house.
I went into the Nationals this year with a lot of confidence; I knew my form was good for January, though I have never ridden well at Ballerat. It was of course a hard race around a hard course with pretty much the who's who of Aussie cycling minus a few. The field was damn good! I ran 14th, not what I was expecting, but with the legs I had on the day I have to be happy, and there weren't too many non-professional’s at the finish.
Now I am back in Syd's having an easy week on the bike before ripping into it again next week. I have another six or so weeks to make sure I'm going well when I get to the states. It's a late start there for us next year, but it will be a stacked programme once it gets underway.