One of the hardest parts of being a professional cyclist is there is there are so many things outside of your control that can affect your health and how well you perform and ultimately, the amount of success you experience throughout the season.
Ever since I got sick at Tour de Langkawi, I have been having a bit of a rough time and I haven't quite been able to get back into gear again. I moved to my new home in Girona and tried to recover from the bug that took out half of the field but since then I've been plagued with constant illness. Every time I get my health back in order I seem to catch something else. Last year when I lived in Toulouse with the development team, my year started out much the same. I'm beginning to think I just must be a slow starter to the Europe season.
A big contributor to your health is trying to keep stress at bay, setting up a routine and sticking to it. Unfortunately when you move to a new city this isn't possible and most of my time when I'm not on the bike has been dedicated to setting up my life here. Which unfortunately comes at a cost to stress levels and health. Trying to sort out bank accounts, phone issues and everything that comes with a new apartment is a lot harder than you'd think it would be. Especially in a country where you don't speak the language and no one is working for a few hours everyday when I get home from my ride as siesta is between 2-5pm.
I think I have spent about 10 hours sitting on the floor trying to get Movistar to work and my phone/TV are still not up and running. Luckily my girlfriend flew in for a few days from Australia and made furnishing my apartment a bit easier and a lot of fun (even if, like a typical girl she dragged me into every furniture store in Girona and even to Ikea in France). I probably have a few different pieces of furniture than I would've got if I went shopping on my own but I'm really happy with how my home is coming together.
Although things haven't been smooth sailing, I wouldn't even consider living anywhere else. The roads for training are amazing, living is so cheap and the support with the Garmin Sharp team service course just down the road makes it so much easier for me to live in Girona.
Although I'm stuck at home with a virus instead of getting a ride at Tour of California as planned, its not all bad. I just got the recipe for mums soup she used to make me when I was a little run down, and I get to eat that while I watch the guys race the Giro! It's great to see Haas lining up amongst the big boys for his first grand tour! It just shows how quickly things can change. All it takes is a couple of results and then you’re in. I'm hoping to get my form back and pull some results quick because a grand tour for me isn't totally out of the question for this year - just yet. If I can get my winning form going again, I might be able to snag a spot in the Vuelta. However, that is a long shot with the season I have had so far, so I'm not getting my hopes too high.
The one thing that really separates the seasoned pro's from the rookies is that with experience you learn how to conserve energy, rest and at the end of they day they are able to go the extra distance with everything. The difference is that they are organised with a good routine that allows them to eat, train, eat, stretch, eat and sleep. That's what I'm working towards but its been a long process to try and make it and if I can get that dialled this year I know it will help more than anything towards my results. The experienced guys like Robbie Hunter - I feel I can definitely learn a lot from.
So right now I haven't been the cyclist I came over here to be. Running around shopping and setting up a life overseas, as well as getting sick all the time isn't something I want to do ever again. I definitely haven't been able to complete one of Andrew's brutal training sessions that will eventually qualify me as a professional. I'm hopping soon though, so I can kick-off the next few races with some positive results!
Next on the cards will now be a race in Germany called Bayern Rundfarht and following that, if I'm successful, I will have a few more good starts too! But first things first: get my health in order and then I will get a better grasp of what I will be doing.
No one ever said bike racing was going to be easy. So for now I'll sit back and watch, rest and hope Ryder and the team can make a repeat of last year at the Giro and Tyler can get some wins in Cali!