December 22, 2007
So how long are you on holiday for?
As an athlete a lot of people ask you this question. They seem to think that if you are not overseas then you are just hanging out, playing golf, surfing, staying out late, bumming around, getting fat, being a normal human being......of course this does happen, but so does some rest and a lot of base training, Or, in the case of some riders, they haven't really had a rest yet and they are still travelling the world doing Track World Cups, going to training camps, actively looking for teams or going from race to race on the Summer crit season up in Queensland.
I am not sure "holiday" really comes into it for most. Mat Hayman mentioned to me that he hasn't been at home for more than 4 days straight since getting back to OZ, and he hasn't seen his wife for weeks! Some holiday! Not many athletes are asked to do a season of 9 months, let alone 11.
I have been laying very low since I have been home, only venturing out of the misty, wet, cold Blue Mountains to go to the Cronulla Crit this past weekend. It was great to be a part of Whitey's last race, to see some familiar faces and to meet a few new ones. It has been nice doing my own thing for a month or so, but it reminded me that I have essentially been bored for some of that time.
As with everything, it's all about balance, and I reckon I was a little to reserved over the past few weeks. Small towns make you go a little crazy, especially when the weather is crap and visibility is one metre, but being in one place for 6 weeks has been great. You get to see all the people that only see you once a year and have absolutely no idea what you do, or how you can have a job where you just "ride your bike". You also get to see that nothing much changes and the captain of the footy team at high school still talks about the try he scored back in '97.
I planned things a little differently this off season, and am heading back to the US around New Years. It is going to be early, but I am looking forward to getting back to San Diego and doing some good km's with Neil Shirley. We have both re-signed with Jittery Joe's, which is great. Willo will be coming over a little later, and the team's new Aussie signings Jono Cantwell and Ryan Sullivan should be hitting the US around February. The team has changed a little bit for next year - essentially it will be very similar to this year. We have dropped back to a smaller roster but, we will still be doing much the same race schedule and the team colours will still be orange!
It has rained everyday at my house for the last 5 weeks, we had 470mm (crazy) in November, and we are still in a drought! I had really hoped to do some typical Aussie summer training days where you need to apply the suncream 3 times over, you can't ride more than an hour without filling your bottles up, you have to be finished training by 11am or you bake and get tan lines through your jersey, but alas I have had, maybe, only 3 days that have been like that! You can't really stop and get a coffee after doing 4 hours in the pissing down rain... no wonder nobody wanted to come up and train with me. If I were them I wouldn't have accepted the invite either! However things have been bloody green out west which is a great scene.
The whole family is going to Mum and Dad's for Christmas this year. It'll be a bit hectic, but hopefully the weather holds off and we can have a game of Golf on Boxing Day, maybe I will finally be able to redeem myself and beat my 93 year old grandpa....he still plays every week, but his back 9 isn't so hot anymore. He thinks he's getting old, I reckon it's the 4 schooners he has at the club house after the 9th!
I guess I should go and buy everyone something for Christmas.
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