It’s been a very long time since my last post, especially in English, but I’m going to try to write a whole lot more this year. The plan is to make a blog-like page for my website with some good behind-the-scenes info on racing the pro-circuit and a bit of my personal life. Of course you can also follow me on twitter where I try to keep everyone very up-to-date:
I’ve only just returned from Australia, I’ve been there for a very long time although it never seems long enough, also because I left my partner Kaitlin behind for another few weeks while I’m busy with training camp and races. At first I had a good holiday in Australia, no riding and enjoying the good weather, spending time with my partner’s family and our friends. We stayed in Melbourne most of the time but we made trips to: Noosa, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Fraser Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Brisbane, Adelaide, Coffin Bay (Port Lincoln) and Geelong. I started training again from the end of October, first only short rides but by the end of November I was doing big training weeks. Especially the last month, when I was staying in St Kilda, I trained a lot, I even did the famous ‘Hell Ride’ a few times.
I’ll have to explain riding in Melbourne first. Lots of professional cyclists live in and around St Kilda: Matty Lloyd, Baden Cooke, Greg Henderson, Jeremy Hunt, Mitchell Docker, Matty Wilson and Simon Gerrans, to name a few. For me that’s very good because I can train at a very high level with these riders but beside the professionals there are hundreds more cyclists out…. Every day! In the weekend I dare to say there are thousands out on the bike! When I first arrived in St Kilda and rode on ‘Beach Road’ (THE road to ride on in Melbourne) I was dumbstruck to see all these groups ride past. Big groups of up to 50 riders at a time were everywhere, going both directions. What a cycling culture!
The ‘Hell Ride’ is the biggest thing on Beach Road. A big group of over 100 high-level cyclists get together on a Saturday morning to ride from Black Rock along the coast to Mount Eliza and back, and it’s ON! It’s a full-on race through normal traffic (hence the Hell-ride I suppose…) but I have to say we stop for traffic lights and don’t do any dangerous stuff. Everybody knows about the Hell Ride because I’ve heard it’s been crazy and dangerous in the past and there has been some controversy about it in the media. It’s good training for the professionals as it’s a pretty good simulation of a race and everybody wants to win in it.
Just before I left Australia I did the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, 4 criteriums in 4 days near Geelong and Melbourne. The races are done in teams of 5 riders with a total of 90 riders in the race. The crits have teams are made just for that race with their own sponsor, a bit like the 6day races on the track in Europe. Some of the big-name riders in this race were: Robbie McEwen, Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Leigh Howard, Matt Wilson, Greg Henderson, Matthew Hayman, Chris Sutton, Baden Cooke, Jeremy Hunt, Matthew Goss and a whole lot more. I did the crits for the O2 networks team so I wore a jersey with O2 networks on it but the Skil-Shimano knicks, socks, gloves etc.
The crits were very tough, fast racing on very short circuits. The 3rd crit had the shortest circuit, a 600 meter hot-dog circuit (A 300 meter road up and down) but the 4th crit was only 850 meter long as well. I felt really good and I was happy that all the hard training from the last months paid out and I was able to place myself top 10 in the bunch sprints the first 2 crits and break away by myself the last, harder, 2 races. Resulting in a 4th place the 3rd race and a 10th place overall.
Now I’m back to reality in cold Europe. It was a bit strange going from 40 degrees in Melbourne to 8 degrees below zero when I landed in Amsterdam last Friday. Training with these temperatures isn’t easy but I managed to get a decent amount of hours in. This week is a relative easy training week for me in which I have UCI and team obligations. I’ve already done the photo shoot with the 2010 Skil-Shimano team, UCI blood test and a VO2max test. I still have a bike measurement test, time-trial aerodynamic test and team press day coming up. Next Sunday I’ll leave with the team on training camp to Mallorca. Of course I’ll keep you all updated on Twitter and this website.
If you want some more info on riding in Melbourne or on the Jayco bay cycling classic see my friend Wade’s website: http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com