Eating, sleeping and the occasional trip to the beach
What are you supposed to do when you're supposed to do nothing at all?
After many weeks of preparation and then participation in the Giro Donne it all came to a sudden halt after one final race, Cento. One of the things I enjoy most about racing is the routine; knowing the plan will be wake up, eat/caffeinate, kit up and ride/race, come home and shower/eat/nap and then dinner and sleep.
And then came the change - our DS, Manuel, told us "10 days holiday after Cento". Yes, a welcome invitation to do nothing. But therein lies the trouble. What does someone who likes a schedule do when there isn't one?
A 10-day break in the middle of the season is necessary for recharging the batteries and keeping the dreaded beast that is over-training at bay. I know this from personal experience. Of course you still want to stay in reasonable fitness and unlike off season where I don't touch the bike for at least a month, I went out most days for an easy "cafe ride".
I took the opportunity to ride with friends or just explore back roads that I normally don't bother to turn down. Ah, life in the slow lane... I could get used to this!
Beyond that I spent a few days at the beach in Viareggio trying to erase multiple sets of tanlines with only minimal success. After a couple of days I was starting to remember how nice it is to wake up with the possibility to do whatever the hell you want.
So the beach yielded to long naps and even longer dinners with newly-minted friends in Lucca at one of the best restaurants I've ever been to. I'll leave the name of the place a secret but if you're ever in Lucca and run into me maybe I can be convinced to show you where it is...
A week-and-a-half flew by and now it's back to schedules and training and getting ready for the end of the year. Hard to believe we've pedaled through almost two-thirds of the season, it seems like just yesterday everyone was gearing up for spring. The days here are long and hot but there is the feeling of summer ending soon, an urgent need to push a little harder and squeeze a little more out of the year.
As for me I'll be in Italy, then head to Eurobike and after back to the States for my first season of cyclocross. I'm really looking forward to that - pure sweet hell, as it's been called.
Guess there is always plenty to do after all!
- Elizabeth Hatch
Follow Liz, a third-year professional as she embarks on a season of European racing with her new Lotto team in Belgium. Liz loves all things cycling, traveling, the occasional Belgian beer and can often be found twittering at http://twitter.com/Liz_Hatch
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