Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finally found the fastest way to do chrissy shopping, give yourself 30min and limit yourself to one street of shops in town!! In tassie this makes life even easier because our streets are so short!!

Anyway within my allotted time frame managed to find an ice cream maker, board shorts, face and cream, beach towel, gym cloaths and polo shirts, the best part had most of them gift wrapped thanks to gold coin donations for charities, great initiative.

Time for a massage to recover from the mornings TT session and my 30min of shopping madness!!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time off to recharge and reload

The off season is now well and truly a distant memory and it's back to training track for the build up to the national champs in January. With the nationals coming early in the year for us Aussies it means if you want to put in a decent performance you need work fairly solidly in november and December to be ready. My off season lasts 4 weeks but this year I was not really ready for one as I had already had a forced break as a result of that pesky rib fracture. None the less I took the opportunity to remove the structure from regular training for the period and just enjoyed being active where and when I wanted to be and in turn freshen up the mind and body.

During this little break it's a great time for me to spend as much time as possible with my beautiful girlfriend Jess, plenty of rounds of golf, some time helping out at my old school Hutchins with there rowing and cycling programs and plenty of coffee catchups with my pals about town. Jess recently brought a new home so its been great to have some time to help her digging up dirt and planting trees in the garden as well as some odd jobs about the place, all activities designed to bring couples closer together through renovating!!!!! Golf is a huge passion of mine and I really enjoy getting down to the royal Hobart golf club as much as possible to sharpen up my rusty swing after the season on the bike and also catch up with all the great members I have the honor of playing with on Wednesday's and Saturday's in the members comp. It is nice to use the mental energy I usually use thinking about cycling and channeling it into improving my game, being nice and relaxed and comfortable with the fact that I don't need to be any good at golf has meant that as I have improved in my cycling I have made equal improvments to my golf and getting my handicap down to single figures, all be it just at 9, which I put down to the improvements I feel I have made learning how to learn. This year I certainly learnt more than ever on the bike and I certainly find that my analysis of what I do on the golf course to improve my game has benefited so I have enjoyed that.

Next stop for on my break time is back to the hutchins school to help out where I can. The school has the number 1 u19 rowing program based on last years national championships and I love helping out and being involved there. Also they have recently added a cycling program aswell s the tasmanian institute of sport u17 development program based there so it is really a thriving sporting hub for school boys. For the record the school is also #1 in the state for academics so the priorities are certainly in the right spot and I certainly make it very clear to the kids that there education is the most important thing and then sport, I must be getting old!! Its really great and in many ways inspiring watching the kids push themselves and show such a passion to learn. It helps me to look harder at what I am doing swell as it is always easier to demonstrate things than putting it into words so the content new challenge of teaching is something I really enjoy. Seeing the kids improve and get excited about there achievements is really gratifying and likewise the challenges that crop up with the pressures of coaching. All in all it's a great activity for the off season as it is not only physically draining and tiring, the return to 5am mornings to help out at the rowing sheds is not something I miss, but the added mental fatigue by constantly thinking of ways to help up to 10 kids at once really give me a massive appreciation for what great job our teachers must do being able to deal with this day in day out year after year. Along with the coaching I was honored to be the guest of honor at there annual awards assembly where I handed out the numerous awards and did the closing speech. Doing a speech in front of so many does not seem like such a daunting task as from time to time interviews are just part and parcel of life as a sportsman, the only but major difference is you are simply answering questions during interviews so half the work is done for you whereas when you write a speech you have to do all the work yourself. So after about 300 pages of ultimately useless notes in preparation I had finally narrowed it down to one page of dot points and it seemed to go all ok. Most importantly I got some laughs which I think is always a nice feeling when delivering a speech, you know at least for that moment the audience is actually listening. All good practice none the less.

So now it's back to work and into the daily training regime. The first couple of weeks are always a bit painful as the body has forgotten what exercise is to a large extent but this is exactly what you want to feel. It means that you can also trick you body into thinking you are back in great shape within a few weeks cause you feel so much better than when you got started again, unfortunately the power meter is always a little reality check of where you are at really. I certainly feel the best I have ever felt following a season of racing and feel like I am starting from a good base, each year I seem to start out a little bit ahead of where I was at the same time 12 months before, a combination I guess of exposure to the higher level of racing and also the body learning to recover and also rebuild following the seasons racing. So with that in mind it's full gas in preparations with my first major race of the season at the national championships in early January.


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Saturday, October 15, 2011


Last stop for the 2011 season is in melbourne for me this year. On wednesday we started the jayco herald suntour which i am riding with the national team. The race has been fortunately or unfortunately charactorized by a breakaway on stage 1 which took 10min out of the peleton. With every team represented in the move bar a few we all seemed happy at the time to give it a little space. The front guys of this break would go onto to dominate the weeks racing which is a huge credit to them being right up there every day, this was amplified yesterday with an exceptional display by nathan hass and jack bobridge on the only hilly day and finish atop arther's seat. Unfortunately for our team and many others however it ended up being the last we saw of the 15 riders on day 1 and despite our team, saxobank, drapac and a few other teams organising a chase depite having our guys in the move to try and keep the race interesting, the commesairs were very unreliable with there time boards and we never knew what was going on up the rd. We you are chasing having reliable and regular time updates is curcial not only to know what the gap is but the moral of the riders on the front. You can often gain a fair bit more strength you did not know you had when gaps start coming down so in the end wez sulzberger, matty lloyd and myself felt really bad for the young guys whom we had put on the front all day pretty much in vein. Anyway this type of thing happens all the time and is just racing and is an opportunity for the beneficeries to make the most off. We had the break coming down as per the plan but when we heard it was 4min it turned out it was actually 8min and the race was long gone. Also un beknowns to us in the bunch The front group split even more adding to the frustration of chasing teams as only 5 men stayed away at the front. We had our young bloke joe lewis in the 2nd group and he ended up 7th on the stage which was a great result by him.

The following days we have spend trying to break up the race at any opportuntity but like always once a GC like that is formed its not an easy task, and coupled with that the two domestic teams, genesyis and drapac having guys occupying 1st and 2nd since stage 1 did a great job of controling any dangerous attacks or splits we tried to instigate so huge credit to them. Also with the course being well suited to this time of the year, i.e somthing for everyone to enjoy and Short stages also prevent too much going wild in the bunch and for the following couple of days it finished in bunch sprint.

Yesterday marked the only real mountainess off sorts difficult stage and as we had planned to set up matt lloyd this week for the win in the tour and on the stage with the steep slopes suiting his little rock spider frame, we obviously had lost anychance of the overall victory but a win on the day became our main focus for the week. The plan was to make it as hard as possible on the run into the climb we would do twice in the final 15km and set a high tempo for him to launch from on the final climb to line. All went perfect as we along with saxobank, garmin and lotto got the bunch going nice and quick on the run into the climb, i then took to the front to set a good but steady tempo up the climb. We needed to not only set the race up for matt and race a pace preventing attacks but also keep it smooth so our man joe lewis whom was still 7th on GC would remain with the front group and try and give him a chance to move up a spot or two. So onto the climb we went and i started the pace making but wez was feeling full of beans and decided to take up the pace making and really go for it. He set a furiouis pace so i sat on his wheel and take a bit of a break. Realising that it was such a hard tempo i looked back to see where joe was and saw him floundering on the back so with wez going strong and lloydy looking good i dropped back to look after joe. Sure enough when wez peeled off joe was also dropped and knowing the horrible feeling of suffering like that when you are defending a GC spot like happened to me in the tour of turkey i knew i needed to just stay with him, let hime recover a bit, give a bit of encouragement and i could ride him back on on the decent and run into the final climb. With wez finished pulling on the front i knew the bunch was not going to far so was not too concerned about getting him back on. Sure enough he was safely back in the group before the final climb and wez and i had a quick chat and decided it was best for me to look after jack and he would try and help lloydy. Fortunately wez's furocious pace setting the first time up meant that is was a much more gentle pace the second and although joe again suffered off the back he did a great job of just watching my wheel and limiting his losses as best as he could and in the end maintaining his 7th on GC. Unfortunately lloydy was a little out of sorts the final time up and lost contact with the front but we atleast did what we could to set him up.

At the front of the race it is fitting the revelation of the race Nathan Hass who now leads the tour after 2nd on stage 1 and 2 and then again yesterday, spinting past jack bobridge to not only take 2nd but also the yellow jersey, points jersey, young rider jersey and his team leading the team classication shows just how dominent he has been. I never saw him go too far from a few wheels from the front yesterday and will be almost impossible to dislodge from the yellow jersey in todays final stage. The domestic aussie teams have certainly given the european teams a little bit of a lesson this week which is testament to the domestic racing scene here in australia.

Anyway final stage criterium today so again i will look after joe and try and keep his GC spot before starting the next phase of the year, the off season!!

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stage 5 tour of beijing

The tour of beijing wrapped up today with a short little journey from tianamen square to a circuit of olympic park with the finish at the water cube used for the swimming in the 2008 olympic games. So as far as significant landmarks go in china we have been lucky enough to ride past the great wall and now today see the hostoric sights of beijing. During a world tour bike race is surely an interesting way to do a sightseeing tour and i must admit you dont really get a chance to have as good a look at things as you would on foot but certainly a unique experience none the less. Todays circuit around olympic park took us past the birds nest stadium and convention halls as well of course the water cube so was great to put a figurative picture to what i had soon on TV in 2008. I got more of a chance to have a look at them today as for the final 30 or so km i was on the front so when you have the luxury of being on the front of the peleton it is alot less stressfull and so long as you keep the pace high enough you can afford to have a little look and enjoy the race and the atmosphere in amoungst the pain in the pins!!! After yesterdays 1st and 2nd placings we were pretty confident and set a plan to try and execute another win. The plan was for the break to be controlled then i would ride on the front in the final laps helping keep the pace high and then the boys would start the train in the final couple of km's. Unfortunately after yesterday everybody was watching us today and we had to work a little earlier than anticipated and consequently the train could not quite get elia close enough to line before he had to open up his sprint due to the headwind and he eventually finished 3rd. Still a 1st 2nd and 3rd for the tour is not too bad so we are a happy little team and all enjoyed our week racing in china very very much.

SRM Data
47kmph average
2hrs 30min
240 watts av
125 HR av
2100kcal burnt

Next stop melbourne and the suntour to wrap up the 2011 season.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stage 4 tour of beijing

Today was a hugely awesome day for liquigas cannondale with the dominate victory of elia viviani and his famous lead out man superman sagan completeing an emphatic 1st and 2nd in todays sprint finish! I must admit it came as no surprize to me that we would have a good day. The stage finished at the olympic rowing course and being the only ex rower in the bunch i had convinced myself and the boys that it had to be an unbeatable oman on our side. We started with the clear objective to deliver elia in the sprint and rode as a real tight unit all day. We stayed as a group right at the front for the first 170km in a deceptively difficult windy fast day before myself and mauro did what we could to keep that front position as everybody swamped to the front once they could all smell the line in the final 20km. This unity today proved to be our biggest advantage and with 500m to go we had 7 riders positioned in the front 10 riders which made the leadout a little easier to execute and also meaning that when peter finished the final lead out for elia he was so close to the line and going so fast that only elia came past him and he still finished 2nd. So very satisfying and i must admit i was desperate to do a little more than usual in the final part of the sprint with the finish at the rowing course and was a real buzz to be up the front clearing the path and blocking the wind for the boys and the best part about it was once my job was done with a few hundred m's to go i could sit up and see first hand first danial then peter and off course elia finishing off a great day for liquigas cannondale. Last stage tomorrow so really excited to shut my eyes and get some rest so when i wake up it will be time to get out there and race again.

Srm data
Diatance 189km
Time 4hrs 12min
Speed av 45kmph
Heart rate av 126
Watts av 225
Max watts 1030
Kcal burnt 3700

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With the season just about all done and dusted, i have been fortunate to return back to Tassie after 7months in Europe to commute to my final races of the season from little old Hobart. Following the tour of padania i had a couple of days to pack my things and jump straight on the plane back to aus to finally see my beautiful girlfriend, dog, family and friends for the 1st time in 7months. Being away from Australia is just something you have to accept if you want to ride in the professional peleton and you are an Australian. Although we are all pretty well settled in our respective corners of Europe and traveling to and frow becomes the norm, It is always jolly great to be back in the home land. With cycling becoming more global or as our international governing body the UCI put it, Globalising Cycling, being able to commute to the odd race from Australia is now more of a possibility than it had been previously. I had intended to return home after paris Roubaix as my next event was to tour of California but a programme change meant that I remained in Europe and race the tour of turkey instead therefore making 2011 the longest period I had spent away from all my loved ones. With my programme upended again with my untimely busted rib, failing to make the national team and consequently not having and races between finishing padania tour of Beijing to be followed by the Herald Suntour in melbourne, it meant that my team could give me an early make to head back to Tassie and train and commute from there for the final month or so of the season which I greatly appreciated.

As I have still done a majority of my time on the bike on my home roads I feel very comfortable that I can get the most out of myself. It is certainly a unique place to train Tasmania and particularly after spending longer than ever before on foreign roads this season I was certainly a little desensitised from how hard training on the roads of southern Tasmania can be. The first thing that gets you is the surface of the rd being rocky and loosing that easy speed you get used to from the hard packed lightning fast smooth roads we rock around on in Europe. With the exception to Belgium and turkey of course and was perhaps the main reason why I enjoyed turkey so much, Tassie has me well prepared for it. Next its never flat, you are always up down, left right, just always seem to changing rhythm. But perhaps the thing that gets me most is the wind. I just cant remember ever having wind like we get in Tassie. It can pretty much bring you to a stand still and quite often have you riding along on a constant lean for km's on end. Combine this with the rd surface, undulating relenting terrain and it came as no shock to me that without even trying to the Watts on the SRM were creeping up more than usual in training. It was strange as I would find myself getting frustrated in the first couple of days out on the road with wind, temperature and climate changes by the second which are all apart of a day in Tassie but quickly came to the realisation that is indeed normal and I just need to harden up again.
Fortunately I have travelled so many times now that I have a pretty good routine with trying to minimise Jetlag and therefore on this occasion I timed my travel home to be immediately after tour of padania where I must confess I was a little fatigued by the end due to the rather long stints I had riding on the front every stage of the 5 day event. In the end I had averaged 270watts and 145 heart rate for the event so was in need of a few days downtime which meant I had a very good long deep sound sleep all the way back to Melbourne and was back to training like usual 4-5 days after a hard weeks racing like in padania so all worked out quite well. With 2 races still on my calendar before I wrap up the 2011 season I slipped straight back into training and with exception of taking jess too and from work my routine between Europe and Tassie was very much the same. Infact perhaps I even added a little structure as being a bachelor in Europe I tend to waste a little time playing playstation, watching movies and off course the curse of surfing the net. With jess working 830-5 and with wanting off course to spend as much time with her as I possibly could, I would get my core, training, recovery, massage and other cycling related things done during these 8 or so hrs each day and worked very well, this inturn I think meant I could even work a little harder than usual but also recover a little better so thumbs up for routine!!!!
When training in Europe I never take any form of entertainment with me. Fortunately our Team Trainer paolo slongo gives me plenty of intervals so I am never board. Also the sights of northern Italy are pretty specky so I never ever consider addind the ipod to my cycling attire. In Tassie however it is another story and I don't know why. The landscape although very different is also very beautiful and I do all the same intervals but there is no way I will ever exit my home at Mt Rumney without my AM/FM pocket radio. This was a present from jess and perhaps has turned into the single most used thing I own so a jolly good present. During the week I have it locked onto Sea FM which is our local commercial radio stations and plays all the latest hits which I like. Find the radio better for training than an ipod as it is more of a background noise I listen to when I want to pay attention and don't even notice it when I don't pay attention to it. Also on the long days just having another voice like when the news comes on can help minimise the monotony of what you are doing. On weekends however at this tiem of the year I switch over to AM radio for ABC radio's grandstand programme which is all about sport and starts at midday on both Saturday and Sunday and takes you all the way through to 6pm. Most importantly the footy season has just wrapped up so along with updates on all the sports around the globe, the commentary of the AFL is just brilliant and certainly makes me forget about the fatigue of training and motivated by the commentary team led by drew Morphett and the boys, its just sensational and especially the past couple of weeks as I have been able to listen to my beloved geelong cats march toward another Premiership which they wrapped up on Saturday. Asside from the footy it is great to listen to peter newlends grandstand Tasmania as he focuses on all the sport and sportsman in Tassie and does a great job of recognising many achievements by Tasmanians that might otherwise go un noticed and these are always great story to here and the way he interviews can often make them very inspiring stories as well so great stuff pete and all the AFL grandstand team, you have made my weekends on the bike extremely enjoyable over the years and certainly hugely enjoyable these past 2 weeks.

So with a couple of good weeks of hardening myself up again down in deep south, I am commuting to the tour of Beijing which starts on Wednesday and although only bing 3 weeks since my last race looking forward to catching back up the all the staff and riders. Being so far away in aus I missed them a little bit so be good to get back amongst the Italian's. We have had a really good year together and it is nice to see how close we have become and starting to work really well together, padania really highlighted that for me and I am really excited about the team we have for the tour of Beijing and I hope continuing that success. Gyd'y up Liquigas Cannondale!!!!


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Friday, October 7, 2011

Stage 3 tour of beijing

the queen stage of the tour of beijing lived up to its diagram in the race manual and causeing some splits in the field. While the GC remained largely unchanged, the two short climbs in the final 30km of the stage turned a gentle start to the day into quite a suffer fest. With everybody knowing it was the only opportunity to make any moves on the gc attacks went off left right and centre which meant the lesser likes like myself just had to put the head down, chew the handle bar stem and hope to stay in the slip stream and we set about prettending we were on a flat rd as apposed to the 6% gradient 7 and 5km climbs we charged over. With all the attacks only 3 riders remained as we crested the top of the final climb with 10km to go with a 10sec lead. It seemed they would come back but a wild fast twisty decent split the front group and with 5km to go we were in 3 groups which disrupted the chase somewhat. Unfortunately i was one guilty of being caught out by gaps on the decent and got stuck at the back and was unable to help our sprinter danial oss who showed great strength all day to be in the front group in the final kms. When we finally all got back together with 1km to go i went full biscuit to try and actually get to the front of the group but at the same time a team mate in davide cimoli lit up the front at 60kmph and and 10riders from the front was the closest i got before blowing to pieces so i am dissapointed i missed this moment to help my team mates. Working for the boys is always what i enjoy most so will have added motivation to try and make up for it in the next couple of stages.

Certainly i had hoped today to feel better but i was a little bit shocked by the pace of these world tour races. I had not done a world tour race since the dauphine in june and while the out and out pace is not neccessarily any faster than the smaller races but the number of riders going that pace is much greater so i was a little tentative while regaining this rythm in the small hills. Anyway got the shock of all that out of my system now so am looking forward to getting stuck into the final 2 days. Tomorrows stage finishes at the olympic rowing course so hopfully it can be a good oman for me and inturn my liquigas cannondale team mates and we can get a good result.

Srm data
Time 3hrs 53min
Speed 41kmph average
Av watts 250
Av heart rate 139bpm
Kcal burnt 3500
Altitude gain 2200m

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

2nd stage tour of beijing

After yesterdays tt to kick things off around the olympic park which started at the olympic stadium and finished at the water cude, we were let loose on the open rds of beijing for stage 2. As expected it finished in a bunch sprint and our goal was to place elia viviani in a good position for the fast finish. Unfortunately it was a chaotic final 5km riders going every which way and we were not able to give him the perfect leadout we had managed in tour of padania. In the end elia was 6th which is still a great result at the world tour level but he and the team will be hoping for more on the final two stages after tomorrows queens stage which on paper atleast looks like it could cause some sort of selection which may shuffle the GC a little. Anyway time for a bit of rest as i am looking forward to tomorrow as we will be passing the great wall of china so i hope inturn it makes it a great day for me!! (Pardon the pun).

Srm data
Time 3:04
Distance 136km
Speed av 44kmph
HR av 126.4
Kcal burnt 2301
Max watts 1116

A rare easy day!!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I will never complain about an uncomfortable bed or pillow again!!! Chinese police having a quick nap at lunch time!!!
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Touchdown in beijing

Just touched down in beijing for the tour of beijing that starts wednesday. A few things have been eye openers to me in the 12hrs since i left the comfort of aussie soil and most notably that this is a culture that is very intrigueing! Being pretty well traveled you consider yourself pretty resourcefull at finding your way around and being able to muddle through a few words with a bit of a latin spin on the end and i can usually get by. That i have learnt very quickly does not work in chinese, i have no idea what so ever what they are saying and certainly no clue in the world as to how to know which symbol means which letter and number or word or whatever. Anyway it is certainly an edventure and we athletes are jolly fortunate to be able to have these experiences. Another thing i have noticed is there efficiency in que's! As soon as a que is required they all immeditately bunch up as close as possible, i guess a by product of always being in such large numbers wherever they go. It was a little annoying for me at first as for example in the customs que as you edge forward a few mm immediately there is an equal advancement right behind. At first i was annoyed they decided to play a little game as the que was jolly long and i was bored so i would through the dummy and pretend to move forward but not actuactly move forward forcing a big bunch up on the poor bloke behind me. When he almost got toppled over after a few fake advancements on my behalf i pulled the pin on that game but for anyone interested it keeps things entertaining in the customs que. Next up was my cab ride from the airport and i wish aussie taxi's used the same pricing schedule as the chinese, you also get quite an adventure with the discount rate. Firstly there are no flash falcons or commodores as we are used to in aus or big merc's which is normal in europe, in china they is little corolla sedans and certainly not the latest models and they are painted with pretty much every colour in the rainbow. So the cabbie was a bit annoyed about having to squezze my bike bag and two suitcases in his trusty chariot but like in most cultures a small cash tip all off a sudden changed the finger waving to basically offering to get out the angle grinder and remove the roof if need be to get my bike and goodies in the little toyota rocket ship. Fortunately no alterations the cabs structure were required and before i knew it i was on the hwy to beijing and brought the days journey to an end at the race hotel for the week. Anyway just a few first impressions of my tour of beijing adventure, our hotel is right in the olympic park so looking forward to getting out and checking it out before the race gets underway on wednesday.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stage 5 padania

the final stage of padania went nice and smoothly and successfully for our team liquigas cannondale. By days end Elia finished another very close 2nd in the bunch sprint, Ivan wrapped up the overall victory for the tour and elia won the points classification so was a great 5 days of racing for our team and most significantly our two leaders Ivan Basso and Elia Viviani. The day went along pretty calmly. A breakaway of 2 got away early and built up a big lead of 7min untill we started to real them in with about 100km to go. I traded some work on the from with longo and vanotti so was also a bit easier day for me than the previous days were i spent alot of time alone on the front. With 30km to go the race was back together so then we really whipped up the pace to discourage and further attacks and with 10km my time in the sun on the front of the peleton came to an end for the tour and i retreated to the saftey of the back of the bunch for an enjoyably fast ride to the finish as our strong men, bodnar, oss, basso, sabatini and finally elia took over to set up the sprint. So all in all the days work went off without a hitch and we all had a nice end to a great 5 days racing. It was a particularly enjoyable race for me as it was first opportunity to race a small stage race with our team leaders in fine form and me also feeling good and being in the condition required to contribute so from this point of view i was really happy to be appart of the sort of race i had always hoped to be with liquigas and its big leaders like Ivan and Elia. To see ivan win was certainly a special moment for me as being so close to him throughout the year on and off the bike and training and racing i had seen him have a few tuff months but he never diverted from his work ethic and finally this week in padania it was rewarded. He truly showed his true class with this win in padania and i hope it gives him the confidence that he was missing at times this year to keep up with these great performances. For Elia well he is a young kid going places very very fast as per his charactoristic as a sprinter and the cycling world will be hearing alot about him in the years to come. It would come as no surprize then to know that it is very very enjoyable working for these guys and knowing that a long day on the front will usually result in a great performance by one of these guys makes the pain and fatique pretty much dissapear. It was certainly a great 5 days with a great bunch of guys.

Time 4hrs 10min
40kmph average
265watt average
140 heart rate average
3600kj burnt
1500m altitude gain

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Stage 4 padania

It has been another great day for liquigas cannondale here at the tour of padania on stage 4 with an emphatic victory by our team caption, Ivan basso. Today was the only mt top finish so therefore was always going to shape the GC and it was Ivan who proved to be the strongest of the mountain goats. By virtue of his 52second victory he also takes the overall GC lead so we have the jersey to defend again for the second time this week and on the final stage 5 tomorrow as we head from trento to venice, the scenic way i am told.

For me it was a pretty quiet day, my role was to stay with ivan aslong as i could on the climbs but after the previous days on the front i was well aware i was not going to be climbing with the best of them today. Elia viviani showed his versitility and was present in the days breakaway and although it was swept up on the first of the 2 major climbs for the day elia survived in the front along with danial oss and myself to occompany Ivan to the base of the final climb. I made sure he had plenty of fresh fluids for the final climb and once it kicked up with just inside 10km to go my time at the front came to an end and Ivan was alone but fortunately in quite a small group and as he proved very capable of looking after himself. Soon after he shredded the field to just 5 and from there one by one they dropped off his wheel until he was alone for final 5km. I was aware he was infront when i hit 7km to go so started saving my biscuits for anticipating him taking the jersey and just after passing the 3km to go sign i was told of his victory so was a very enjoyable final part of the climb in anticpation of defending his lead tomorrow which i am pretty confident will require me to spend some more time on the front. So all in all was a great day, i would have loved to help him more in the final climb but after the previous days work on the front my climbing musles simply desserted me so i just had to contribute in any way i could and fortunately i was of some help. Best on groud was certainly elia for his ride in the break, survival in the front group till the final climb, winning the days intermediate sprint and extending his points jersey lead and doing all this after alread winning one stage and finishing 2nd in 2 others so definately hats off to him. Time for some rest, cant wait for the final stage tomorrow and finally getting the opportunity to defend the lead of my great friend, team mate and training partner mr Ivan Basso.

SRM data
Time 4hrs 45min
Speed 40kmph average
Power 264watt average
Altitude gain 2000m
Heart rate 147average
Energy burnt 4700kj

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stage 3 padania

Another day in tour of padania and another day of italian controversy. This time it is was not protestors but instead paolo bettini decided to flex his italian national team selectors musles and have the stage lengthened by 40km to try and make it more similar to world championship length to guage his chargers. I was surprized he did not also any non italian to sit patiently behind this most important race within a race and let the italian superstars do there thing in piece. Nope it was business as usual for us internationals and with the leaders jersey to defend i knew it was going to be a tuffy for me. Sure enough as soon a the flag dropped it was on for young and old and trying to control the makeup of the break meant we average 52kmph for the first 1hr of racing before it finally went clear. I was happy with the 7 escapees appart from my good mate and fellow tasmanian and hence big rival for the tassie cup being in the break in wez sulzberger so now not only did i have the incentive to chase to protect elias jersey but also to make sure wez did not gain any time on me. Ultimately we pulled them back and we were both spat out the back of the peleton with 10km to ride to the finish so that objective was completed. As for defending elias jersey and doing my main job it was pretty similar to stage 1 but this time i was on the front for 201km before i started to role back into the field. Once the break went i rode alone for 20km or so to ensure there lead did not balloon to much before longo came to help me until just over half way when a couple of other teams sent some guys up to help and make the chase a little easier in the run into the circuits. Ultimately the race was all together with 15km to go and my work was done and the rest of my team mates took over delivering elia to another fine 2nd place but unfortunately behind sacha modelo by a tyre width and hence loosing the leaders jersey to the colnago rider. Tomorrow's stage features a mountain top finish so i will be interested to see how my pins pull up as our focus will shift to Ivan basso being the team GC man. Time for so well earnt sleep i think because today was potentially the longest in distance to intensity ratio i have done on the front of the peleton and i am a little tired.

SRM Data
46kmph av speed
282 watt average
150 heart rate average
5000kj burnt

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Second stage panadia

It was Win win win today for our fast man elia viviani in the 2nd stage of padania. After his fine 2nd yesterday he got the better of his previous days nemisis sasha modelo in a fast drag race into the out skirts of milan. Elia with his win takes over the overall race lead and therefore responsibility will be on us to control tomorrow.

As far as work goes we actually did very little today. We had the luxury of recovering a little after the hard day on monday and waited until 10km to go to hit the front. First up was me and it was my job the keep the pace high and get our other 7men as close to the line as possible before they had to begin the lead out, 4km later with 6km to go i swung off and the boys took over with 1st basso followed by longo, bodnar, vanotti, sabatini and finally a perfect lead into the line from oss saw elia win comfortably and not only that but oss was 4th accross the line. I roled in safely at the back of the bunch enjoying the usual excitment that come with a team mates win and excited about the opportunity to defend his lead tomorrow.

Time for bed cause i cant wait to get up tomorrow and get some more sun tanning time on the front of the bunch and doing all i can to keep elia in the race lead.

Race SRM stats
4hrs 40min
200 watt average
1100 watt max
130 av heart rate
4000kj burnt
1000m elevation gain

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stage 1 padania

Today i was back at work in the tour of padania in northern italy. A race of significants of sorts in that it is a political statement of north v's south of italy with the north wanting the region recognized as seperate from the south. In light of this and the fact that italians seem to enjoy there controversy we had one road block of pro padanian region protestors and as i was riding on the front at the time working on pulling back the days early break i was in no mood to stop and listen to there gripe and just plowed on through giving one dude who got a little close to me a good old fashioned rugby style palm off in the process, i do apologise to the said man if i caused any injury to you however in my opinion there is now place for such behavior of protestors in the sporting arena. So this was certainly a first for me experienceing this type of rd block and i am sure it wont be the last this week infortinately so my aussie football argy bargy skills will likely be required again!!!

So with this north v's south significants of the race it is only fitting that the race is also the next edition of an even greater north v's south rivalry, that being for the Tassie Cup and north of the state aka being matt goss and wez sulzberger and south being my goodself set to do battle over the 5 stages of padania. I dont want to be a winger but i certainly have the odds stacked against me, not only are these two guys that far ahead of me in class, skill and power on a bike but also there is 2 of them and they are on the same team, the aussie national team as they build toward the world championships. I have another big dissadvantage in that i am merely a dish pig in my team and as such my role is the long hrs on the front of the peleton controling the break for out team leaders which for this race are elia viviani and Ivan basso. Anyway no excuses and i will do my utmost to uphold some honour for the south and vow to fight the boys for the cup in any way i can all the way to the finish in venice on saturday.

Now finally to the race and it was a pretty run of the mill day for me. Being my first day back after the broken rib i was hoping it would pan out as i did all and i could get the rythm back into my pins. An early break went of 3 guys and after the gap got to 9min after 30km of the 170km stage i starting riding alone on the front and it was a bit bathurst style for the 1st couple of hours with my first stint being 30km solo to get the break back to 6min and then arrived the help of a teammate where we shared more managable 10min stints till the first climb at 100km gone. We were controling the race for an anticipated sprint finish for our inform sprinters elia viviani and danial oss. Once we hit the hills i started to feel good and top of the final hill with 40km to ride the gap was back to 3min and nice and manageable for a fast decent and run into the finish. I pulled on the front until about 5km from the line when i just could not maintain the ever increasing pace no more so after 150km working on my suntan either on the front or second wheel behind my teammates in either paolo longo and alessandro vanotti, i enjoy a nice casual run into the finish while ivan basso, bodnar, oss and sabatini delivered elia to a very close 2nd place behind sacha modolo of colnago.

So all in all was a good day, i am happy with my condition post the fracture, i seem to be able work as i did before i had the lay off so happy the hrs on the ergo trainer achieved somthing. I am looking forward to tomorrow where i hope we can deliver elia a little better and perhaps help him to a victory. As for the initial day of the tassie cup i have no idea where the other two finished as i was a little in my own world following the work on the front, i will certainly check the classification tomorrow and see where it all stands, nothing quite like a bit of north v south rivalry!


SRM Data
4hrs 20min
40kmph average
272 Watt Average
149 Heart Rate Average
4300Kj Burnt
1900m Elevation Gain
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Gold for australia

Today i had the honour of watching the australian mens lightweight 4- win the rowing world championship for 2011. It was certainly a surreal feeling watching what i would say was one of the finest techniqual display of rowing i have ever seen. At no point in the race were they frazzled and they clearly had a plan and stuck to there guns, easy and quickly into a sustainable rythm out of the start loseing a little ground but staying intouch, working through the middle of the race were the fast starting crews started to suffer, and the clinically sinking the boot in with 1/4 of the race to go and breaking the spirits and any chance of the other crews coming back at them. Having had the honour of rowing with each of these 4 fine athletes, sam beltz, todd skipworth, ben cureton, and anthony edwards i realise it was the perfection in performance we have discussed on many occassion while training together and also since i have been out of the sport but very much staying close to all the lads. From last years worlds were they were second they showed that they had the best "easy speed" of all the crews in the world through the middle and a slight lack of conditioning probably cost them gold. Under the watchfull eye of there man of very few words coach brett crow they have stuck to there guns of there idea of executing the perfect race plan and with another 12months of very hard training under there belt's it was clearly evident that easy speed was still far superior and they also had the conditioning to really sink the boot in when it mattered most. It was certainly a amazing victory for a perfect planning and execution of there preperation.

Its also worth noting that unsurprizingly these are 4 far from run of the mill athletes. Anthony edwards is an olympic silver and bronze medalist and multiple colour world championship medalist. Ben cureton also an olympic silver medalist and along with todd skipworth qualified and competed and completed the hawaii ironman in 2009 so a pair of seriously gifted athlete's. In the same year todd also won the olympic distance age group 19-24 triathlon australian championship to further underline his sporting proess. The last but by no means least samual beltz is the power man of the crew and has the australian record and is very close to the world record on the rowing machine for the benchmark 2000m test. While he chooses to focus all his efforts on just rowing unlike the ben and todd, he is certainly one of the most gifted athletes i have been fortunate enough to grow up with and whether it be ping pong, beer pong, rowing or cricket he is always a tuff man to beat and usually for me unbeatable.

Yep was certainly a special 5min 55seconds watching my great mates put in one of the finest displays of team work and spectacular rowing and in the words of the italian commentators the boys were simply "tecniche perfetto, grande atleti, grande vincitore, bravo ragazzi" perfct technique, grand athletes, grand victory, and finally jolly great job.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Keeping on Keeping on

When on the injured list maintaining a positive mindset is not surprisingly very very important. Although I have not had a lot of practice being slightly inhibited by injury, I am certainly embracing it if that is possible and doing all I can to not only keep pushing forward and finding ways to improve but also learn as much as I can from the whole experience. The broken rib has certainly been the most inhibiting injury or setback I have had in terms of the number of activities I am unable to do but fortunately basically the only thing I can do is ride the stationary bike. Immediately when I heard my fate from the doctor I processed the information for probably less than a millisecond before shooting back the question of what can I do and what cant I do. The rib was broken so no point crying over spilt milk as they say and all I cared about was what I would be able to do to achieve what I always set out to do which is return from a setback no less than in the same shape as when I suffered the problem and if possible find a way to come back stronger. I think being an athlete finding ways to keep moving during these difficult periods in your career can be some of the bigger hurdles you can face. You are used to day in day out smashing yourself and improving and enjoying the adrenaline and thrills that go with that, to having it taken all away from you and being told you cant do what you want for whatever the specified recovery period is. I therefore wanted to share the way I have kept of keeping on during what I would regard as the more challenging periods of my career.

As I have stated before I am not very good at taking a day off and usually find some sort of activity to occupy my mind for a large majority of the day to avoid getting a little grumpy as a result of not working up sweat. It may come as no surprize then that when I suffered my first sporting injury, a Labril or cartlidge Tear in my left hip in 2005 as a result of falling off my bike when a piece of wet ash felt from the rd got stuck to my tyre and inturn jammed in my brakes which subsequently threw me over the handlebars very unceremoniously on our one a week rower’s riding full gas send yourself hunger flat smash fest. I immediately knew there was a problem which would ultimately require surgery however being a true cyclist in the making my first instinct was to get straight back on my bike like I had seen the pro’s do on TV and pretend there was no pain infront of my mates. I was at the doctors first thing the next morning and was informed that I could not row for a while and that I could only swim and ride my bike. Therefore being able to go out and smash myself daily and work on my fitness was no trouble and for the following 6 weeks I reached I new level of cardio fitness from time on the bike and in the pool. The day of my surgery was fortunately pretty straight forward. It was only day surgery and through a bit of a white lie regarding a goo mate Tim O’callahan who pretended he was my brother I was checked out of hospital as soon as I had seen the doc to make sure all went well and asked all vital question of what training before I had recovered fully. Now the bike was out so it was just swimming for another 3 weeks so after a night in Melbourne I was home the next morning and drove straight to the pool. After a couple a km’s I was well and truly over the pool as I could not do tumble turns and had to stop and turn every lap so I jumped out of the pool and drove straight to the bike shop and brought a swimming wetsuit so I could swim in the ocean where I could swim for as long as I liked without having to do tumble turns. After a while when my speed started to improve I would even work on my technique and inturn could envisage picking up the water in the same way the blade would pick up the water in the rowing boat. It kept my thinking about my primary sport in a technique way that certainly transferred into me rowing with much more feel. When I finally returned to the boat I was fitter than ever and even had improved techniquely despite not being in the boat and so was happy with my maiden injury management experience.

My second injury would come later that year when I suffered Tendonitis on my wrist. This injury proved to be the catalyst for my changing to cycling. This time I was forced out of the boat and onto the bike and running track. Therefore I was certainly not concerned about being able to maintain my fitness, in fact the opposite, I was so excited to get to ride the bike, all be it on the stationary trainer and running around lago Varese in the boiling hot summer that I had to hold myself back so as not to over cook it, quite literally. I found particularly when I was running that i could use the sensation of my feet hitting the ground and propelling my body past that point as the same way you lock the rowing blade into the water and leaver yourself past that point. This lead to me being able to run much quick and more effectively and get more out of my time on the path around the lake. It also kept my mind thinking techniquely about the art of the rowing stroke. Sure enough following the surgery and the full recovery I performed the my best ever laboratory test after only being back on the rowing machine for 1week following 10 weeks without pulling a single stroke. It certainly gave me a whole new appreciation for both rowing and cycling. Knowing that I would return to the boat only 2weeks before the rowing worlds following nearly 3 months away from the boat I had mentally worked hard on rowing and executing what I thought to be the perfect stroke and race plan so many time in mind that when I got back in the boat I again felt at another level. Following this the worlds almost went perfectly the way I had practiced in my mind winning the heat and semi final with ease only to come up about 300m short in the final a fade to 4th place. Mentally I had been prepared for the event but unfortunately in a world championship final my lack of sheer rowing racing intensity caught up with me and I ran out of puff. In fact after the training I had done with the injuries in 05/06 I should have had a crack at triathlons to see where I was at. Anyway I am pretty happy it was just the bike I took up as I certainly enjoyed that more than time on the rd or in the ocean.

The 3rd stoppage of my sporting career was a little more complex when I suffered Glangelar Fever in 2009. Having raced most of the season with it, when it was finally picked up I was forced to have a very long 4months of pretty much doing no intensive training. After a while I could ride the bike but only for periods up to 1hr so I used the mountain bike as it was a great opportunity to work on my very limited bike handling skills and as a result felt much more comfortable handling my bike particually in difficult conditions when I resumed racing last year. Stil 1hr each second day was not enough to keep me occupied so I decided to have a good crack at my golf again and get my handicap which I had neglected for a few years back down to 9. I played golf most day’s and while it is far from a physically demanding sport it would keep me entertained for the time I would usually spend training and not only that but I focused fully on what I was doing the same way I would approach my cycling training. I improved to a level I had certainly not envisaged and even won the club completion every Saturday for 6 weeks in a row when it was finally time for me to get back on the bike and put the clubs back in the shed I was undefeated in the club comp days I entered. Sport for me is all about rhythm and timing and particularly in golf. You can apply all the power in the world but if your timing is out you won’t go anywhere. When I resumed full training on the bike I really tried hard to think not only about applying power as I had done for my first years on the bike, but seeing if I could apply it more effectively and as a result going faster for the same effort or going the same speeds for less effort. I found this to be a good little tool I had basically subconsciously taught myself particularly while riding on the front of the peleton controlling breakaways. In this role you always have to go a certain speed to bring the break back but if you can do it more effectively you can stay on the front and be more use to your team. I had previously just got on the front, rode as hard as could and got spat out the back of the bunch content with my work. Now simply with a little bit of added thought regarding rhythm and timing and adding to that power, I was finding I was getting a lot more out of training and racing. So although initially the glangelor fever had basically restarted my system and I had to rebuild my engine, as often happens sometimes you need to take a step back to take a couple of steps forward, when I finally got back up to condition I felt like I had finally learnt to apply the energy or power I do have in a much better way and as a consequence improved as a cyclist. So again I was happy that I could draw some positive’s from the episode.

As for my current predicament, being the busted rib, it has required a little more thought to try and gain something from the forced time off the rd. With the fracture so close to my Lung breathing has been difficult so invoking a high respiration rate was out of the question. Secondly I could not put any wait on my arms which lead to weight on my torso so standing out of the saddle, abdominal work, and gym work was out of the question. Finally another crash and potentially making the fracture worse could have sent it through my lung so I had to be very attentive. So firstly I was confined to the home trainer. This does not worry me as I am more than happy rolling along for hrs watching tv. For the first 10 days or so I had to keep my heart rate nice and low so this was not so exciting sitting at 110-120 heart rate for 4-5hrs a day but also it give you a chance to work on building the base of your energy system as normally you are working well above this zone. Being on the ergo fan you have the advantage of hearing the fan and can also pick up how smooth your pedal stroke is. I find that when I am working efficiently the fan has a nice consistent wurring sound. If I can achieve this I always feel much better when out on the open rd. As my rib healed I slowly build up my respiration rate first with 5min efforts then up to 30min and then multiple lots until now I am able to work at threshold for short periods again. The only thing that still causes a slight amount of discomfort is out of the saddle so now I have been doing the mindless endurance out on the open rd before returning home to complete my intervals in what now seems like a relatively short 90min-2hrs on the bike ergo. Staying inside for 16days now has one other benefit and that is I cant wait to get back outside and get stuck back into racing next weekend. So from this latest time of adjustment to my routine, I have been able to work long hrs at a low level which also has my batteries fully charged for the end of the season, and after so many hrs of the wirring sound of the ergo fan I am confident that I have made a few subtle improvements with the efficiency of my pedalling. In 2 weeks I am pretty confident you should not lose to much condition and I am reasonably content that I have been able to gradually rebuild the intensity to a point that I hope enables me to get back to doing the job I love the best I possible way I can for my team, Liquigas Cannondale.

I am well aware that everyone has different recovery methods and there are many different ways to skin the cat, but these were just a few simple little things that helped me through these difficult periods and I feel in some ways was able to turn what appeared to be a negative situation at first into a way to learn and grow from the experience.

I am well aware this has been very long winded which is another side effect of having way to much time stuck inside recovering on the couch!!!!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sofa Time

Yesterday i began watching my 3rd Grand Tour of the season, The Vuelta Espana from the comfort of my sofa. Watching Both the Giro and Tour De France, i was filled with excitment about watching particularly my team mates whom i have enjoyed such a great season with thus far and enthusiasm for when i would finally get my chance in the Vuelta. Unfortunately It did not turn out as planned and while i was still so very excited and sending any amount of telepathic and moral support for my team mates in spain i also had a hurting side of realising what an amazing race i was missing out on. The mood in our young team is always super duper and i knew in the team tt that the TEAM word would have our boys right up the top of the results sheet. Sure enough all nine men turned themselves inside out for vincenso nibali and almost pulled of a amazing victory and in the end only being 4 seconds shy of the all conquering leopard trek team contain world time trial meastro chamion fabian cancellara in second place. Asside from Alan Manangoni none of our boys are pure time trialists but they showed there commitment and tighnittedness to each other to put in such an excellent performance. Not only that but it also clearly illustrates the amazing skills these lads have on there bikes, somthing i am always in awe of at training camps but while i wished i was there so bad with them, thats natural i think, i was also so excited to see the team spirit they showed and take away the results and glory that goes with that, that type of bonding in the team is the thing that i really cherrish and enjoy and will miss so much not being appart of for the next 3 weeks. In anycase i will be infront of the tele every afternoon when the eurosport coverage begins giving them all the moral support i can muster. I am very confidient that there is going to be many more really really really great performances by the boys over the next 19days.

Following another ultra sound on my rib i have been ordered to have another week indoors on the home trainer to ensure it heals up nice and strong. Once it became evident that i was not going to be able to be cleared to race the big races which are now underway the Team Doctor Roberto Corsetti is forcing me to take the utmost precaution with my recuperation. One thing the ultrasound di highligh was the close proximity of the fracture to my lung so upon seeing this spending long hot sweaty days indoors infront of the tele did not seem like such a bad option.

Its pretty fortunate that i dont seem to mind the home trainer. I imagine its another throughback from my rowing days where i think you would be hard pressed to find anything more monotinous than a rowing machine, specially when you spend 1hr at time on one. Atleast on the bike ergo i can watch tele and when i have my time trial bike i can even play playstation. With heavy breathing still not really allowed for me as yet it is no dramas maintaining concentration on the playstation at the low heart rate i am able to comfortable trundle along. Its pretty funny looking at an SRM power file after being on the bike ergo playing Gran Turismo, i seem to slow my cadence down into corners before accellerating out of them with a high cadence simulating the acceleration of the car all completely un beknowns to me. Its a bit like when you are on the coach and you start leaning with your body or turning your head into corners when you get into the game. I have therefore come to the conclusion that its actually a small race simulation with the power ossolations which occur out on the open rd. Sure i wont be replacing playing playstation with my normal training but over the past 10days its been an enjoyable way to pass the time whilst allowing my bone to heal and i hope maintain some of the condition i spent 100hrs developeing in the 3 weeks before this most inconvenient fracture occured. Appart from the PS3 i am very lucky to have SKYTV and i have certainly garnered a whole new appreciation for SportCentre and major leauge baseball, those two can take up a serious amount of mindless ergo trainer time. I also like to try and utalise my time in an effective way and multitask where possible and as a result have found that the History Channel has been excellent in refreshing my memory on all those things that unfortunately left me after having so diligently listened those many moons ago at school. Through in the copious amounts of re runs of Top Gear and i have not really minded one bit saddleing up on the home trainer each day. Having said that i am really really looking forward to hitting the open road again on thursday when i get the green light from Dott Corsetti.

Another great thing is that all my rowing mates have been here during this slightly frustrating period of my season. I time my sessions so we can do recovery seeions in the hot cold baths and there is always soemone to chat to while i am having my daily Treatment from our resident Physio Emedio who has me hooked up to all kinds of modern medical healing machines to ensure i am good as new again. Certainly having the support of the European Training Centre here in my little town of gavirate and Emedio has made the whole process unquatifiably more pleasent and ensured i get the best possible treatment. Us aussie athlete's are sure very lucky that our Magnificent Aussie Government has provided us with such a resourse. In years to come i am certain it play a massive role in the continued increased prominance of aussie sport on the world stage.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Racing Re Schedule

I am most inconveniently on the recovery train again. This fractured rib would have to be the most frustrating injuries i have ever had. Fortunately i can only remember being injured 4 times in my international sporting adventures, 2 in rowing and now 2 in cycling, since 2001 so i cant really complain, the annoyance of these injuries is that they either required surgery or repairing fractures so i certainly make sure i get proper injured when i do.

This latest inconvenience could not have come at a more annoying time. Should i have noticed when the initial fracture actually occured 4 weeks ago while racing in arona i would probably well and truly be healed up by now. Instead i have managed to aggrivate the fracture and inturn made it worse in the the racing last weekend which has put my recovery back probably 3 weeks which inturn will mean i will miss another grand tour for the 2011 season, the Vuelta Espania. Now i am starting to see some benefit from missing le tour as i am well equiped to coming to terms with missing what would have been the most important race of my season. Like i learnt before you can do nothing else but re focus and whats going to be up next as a result of the forced schedule change and i am already very motivated on the programme i will do over the nect few weeks instead of spending the time in spain. First i need to get the all clear to get back out on the open rd for training from the doc and inturn the go ahead to pin a number on but expect that to happen at the apsolute latest toward the end of next week. So instead of finetuning my racing pins in the eneco tour in holland last week and packing my backs for 3 weeks of pain in spain, i have been stuck on the home trainer watching television for 3-4hrs each day to keep ontop of my condition as best as possible whilest not aggrivating to much heavy breathing and inturn avoiding aggrivating my pestky fractured rib. While i am very aware that a broken rib is by far a big problem or accompanied but significant pain, being fractured means the bone is weakened and should i crash again which is very common in the stress of such big races and on the same side, another fracture could cause displacement and stick a hole in some vital internal organ which would not be good at all. Then it would be a big problem. While the selfish side of me would be prepared to take the risk as i still feel even with the pain at the moment i could do a good job, the risk of somthing going wrong and jeopising my contribution to the teams effort of the defence of vincenso nibal's crown, and in that form being what i believe to be very much a man for the team the only option is to not be appart of the vuelta team in 2011. So few more days inside before i have another scan and see where the recovery is at later in the week and then i hope start planning my return to the battle fields of the roads of europe for the final couple of months of the 2011 season.

Time to rub a few more kg's of arnica cream on my busted wing and get some shut eye, another big day ahead tomorrow spinning my legs away infront of the television


Monday, August 8, 2011

Busted rib

Well the first day of the eneco tour did not quite go as planned. My rib pain had far from subsided this morning so i basically walked the prologue which was double forced on me due to a freak downpoor of rain and wind. After the stage i went the hospital as i knew this pain had to be a little more than torn muscles and sure enough i have a cracked rib so no more eneco tour for me and i will be on my back to varese tomorrow for a week on the home trainer to let it heal properly. Its just a small crack so best to rest up now and be right to race again next week. Prognosis is that i probably banged it when i crashed a couple of weeks ago and somthing has aggrivated it since but really i have no idea, i am still convinced grabbing the feed back on saturday's what did the agrivating and either the outcome is the same. I am sorry to the team as i was super excited and motivated for this race but wont get to test the pins in it in 2011. Time for some r n r

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

A hot hard day in tuscany

Yesterday i was back into a bit of racing action in the gp camaiore in tuscany. The race is natorious for being very hot and very hard so in otherwords alot of suffering. The day started out well for me and the team, after doing my usual job of policeing the breakaway and who was in it i decided to jump in a move myself and low and behold after covering the first 30km in less than 30min along the coast of the mediteranean i was back in a break again. We quickly built up a nice big lead of 8min as with almost every team present nobody was too keen to chase, also being used to being the one who chases the break i kind of hoped with me up the rd gave us a little bit better chance and i was really feeling like i could be a good day for me. Unfortunately team tactics meant this was not going to be the case as i was instructed not to help ride in the break so off course the other 11riders were not going to keep on charging giving me a free ride and inturn our gap plumeted as quickly as it had risen. I simply had to sit tight in the break and wait for our team leaders to ride accross later in the race or if by some miracle nobody chased us i could use my fresh legs to attacks the break and try and win. Once the gap started falling i quickly realised i was going to waiting for our leaders before assuming my usual role of pulling on the front. For me its not a great feeling sitting on a breakaway and not doing my turn's on the front. I realise its a part of cycling but i feel really uncomfortable being a free loader and annoyng the poo out of the other riders in the move. So low and behold we started going nowhere fast. This became the least of my worries in the feed zone at exactly half way 100km into the race when i took a feed bag awkwardly and damaged my intercostrol muscles in my back. All of a sudden everytime i hit a bump or stood up or had to breath deeply i was in serious agony as it felt like i had busted ribs again. This is not a great injury to have just as a bike race is hotting up and as i had already pissed off all my breakaway companions i knew that they were going to do all they could to attack the life out of me in the final 4 laps of the challenging circuits. Fortunately i can mask pain pretty well and with the rule in cycling being basically if you can still ride you ride stopping certainly never crossed my mind and being in the front group retreating to the safety of the bunch was also not an option so i braced myself for 100km of suffering. Sure enough with 75km to go the first attack happened on the climb. Not being able to stand and accellerate quickly i had to remain in my seat and gradually ride back the escapee, this inturn thin'd our group down from 12 to 6. Next lap another dude went and i was forced to do the same of gradually riding hime back which was quite a balancing act as i had to go hard enough so i actually pulled him back but not too hard so i had to breath deeply too often so was quite an interesting exercise for me. Anyway with 1 lap to go or 25km we were now down to 4 when the first riders bridged accross from the peleton. We had one of our leaders in the group in damiano caruso and as soon as he arrived he instructed me to drill it which i duly did. We kept a gap over the rest of the bunch and when we hit the climb for the final climb i did my final big with all i had left, well with what i had left sitting in the seat and when i knew i was close to running out of juice i held my breath and felt like a 100m sprinter for my final m's of power before damiano kept of charging with the another 5 guys left in the group that had bridged accross and i roled of to side of the rd to sack in some very painfull deep breaths before continuing onto the finish at a nice leisurely pace for the final 10km content with my days work which was just what my body needed. Damiano ended up 6th in the sprint which was a good result for him. As for me it was time to think of my ribs and initially i was convinced it was broken but fortunately i learnt later it was just a strain of the intercostrol muscles in the area which is equally as painfull and to rub insult into injury i have been told that the therapy which i will begin tomorrow once the spasm's have settled a little is really really painfull so glad i picked an nice inconveniently annoying injury because tomorrow i also begin the week long eneco tour in holland and belgium so not only will i get to suffer on the bike but instead of then enjoying a relaxing massage i will have another pain fest in the hotel. "Such is sport hey"

Anyway another experience for me and as usual i will find a way to enjoy it!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting a year older

The last couple off weeks has seen me log some pretty long hrs in the saddle. It is pretty much the final block of structured training i will do for the season with racing and recovery now set to keep me occupied through august september and october. A little bit of periodisation, i small block within a season of pretty crucial work that i hope give's me the possibility to perform well through to the end of the year. I particualy love getting into my core stability, you should never neglect your abs, and also the strength work on the climbs. For me it seems to be the work that keeps my body ticking over at its best. So after 3 solid weeks of 30+hrs work i feel like i am prepared as well as possible for the final part of the season.

During this time a couple of other crucial activities needed to be squeezed in. Firstly a game of golf with our great family friend gunther from germany or "the german tiger" as he likes to call himself. Just before i wrapped up my last similar preperation phase before the tour of turkey in april, gunther came over to varese for what was our 3rd grudge match. Like the previous 2 matches both played in australia, the 1st played on lord howe island and the 2nd at my home club royal hobart gunther gave me a hiding and sure enough he did the same to me in varese. Gunther's handicap in golf is 6 so he is a pretty good player so i certainly set myself up for a belting each time. On the return leg this past weekend gunther again made the journey from germany along with his wife stephanie as he feels now such battles are crucial to preparing me for the intensive racing blocks to follow. This time around i was better prepared and although i did again lose it took him until the 18th hole to defeat me so in the same way i micro manage my improvements in my profession i was happy to see some gains in my golf game all be it coming up short again and giving gunther a 4-0 victory rate over me. Gunther figured it was better he win again as last time it preluded perhaps my best performance in a race this season in turkey so in his opinion it was best not to mess with the routine. All in all however although the competition certainly spices up a round, for me i just love playing golf for a couple of other reasons. Firstly i dont have to be any good at it as win or lose on the golf course i am just happy to be on the course, my job requires me to punish myself and stress about making gains that the golf course gives me a great place to simply switch of and enjoy sport. Secondly days of for me a somthing i find very hard to endure. I need to do somthing. Golf thankfully takes alot of time and it is also is sport so i get some form of exercise so for a day off it fits in perfectly into my schedule. I am sure as i get older i will find it easier to take days off.

On the getting older theme this time of the year, well august 3rd to be precise is my birthday and it was time to turn 28 in 2011. To celebrate my birthday i was fortunate to have jess's sister elana and her boyfriend jack living in london and offered to have me over for dinner. Now lanny is one seriously exceptional cook along with all the wade women so i did not need much twisting of the arm accept the invitation. For the meal i knew i had to be prepared so fortunately the week precedeing my birthday was the longest in terms of hrs and intensity i have ever done on my bike so i was certainly going to earn a good wade family meal. So on august the 3rd i got up and headed out for a few hrs with my mate and training buddy ivan basso which was great to see him as i had not seen him since before le tour. Training with one of the best riders in the world is not a bad treat to start with i reakon for your birthday. After training it was of to the airport for a quick flight over to london to catch up with lan and jack. I rocked up conveniently just intime for dinner and as expected lan had wipped up all my favourites of roast crispy potatos, lazagna, bit of fancy salad, a great bottle of plonk and perhaps most importantly for the birthday cake, a toblorone cheese cake. I ate until i felt i had enough energy onboard to sustain me for the final few months of the season when i could indulge in another such fiest and was even sent on my way with a bit of a doggy bag and a box of my faxourite biscuit, the "anzac". Thought i might give them a test drive in some upcoming races. So that was my birthday, another one ticked off and one i wont forget in a hurry and looking forward to having rediculiously large amounts of energy to burn off in the coming months.

So with the training all done, another defeat at the hands of gunther on the golf course and a stomach full of fuel i think i am ready for the final part of the season beginning on saturday in tuscany.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hanging out with my new training buddy Lucas Neill and now Liquigas-Cannondale fan!
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Not very often Lucas Neill would pull on a jersey with another player's name on it!!!
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cadels day

Well today was certainly an extraordinary day in australian sporting history. By my analysis the only two significant sporting events we have not dominated until today was le tour de france and the soccer world cup. Until cadel came along both seemed a long way from happening but now the country has one in the bag and fingers crossed lucas neill and his men can get the next job done in 2016!!!

Cadels performance was simply amazing, he showed all 3 weeks that his engine was certainly running on all cyclinders and his courage to take the responsibility of the race on his proportinately more broarder shoulders than his rivals the schlecks, contador and voukler was somthing to admire. Having been fortunate enough to be mates with cadel since i inadvertedly caused him to crash his bike one day in 2008 when we were training together in ballarat, i have had the honour of seeing how he has worked toward his ultimate goal today. It is hard to have a conversation with cadel without the words le tour being mentioned in some way shape or form so to say it was his passion would be an understatement. Sharing aldo sassi as a coach with him since 2008 thanks to cadel organising our first introduction has always meant i have been fortunate to witness admire and respect the work he has put in.

Cadel is undoubtably an australian role model and legend, today with his victory in the greatest annual sporting event in the world he became and australian icon!!!

Good on ya cadel, you are a champion

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soccer Time

This past week i have had the apsolut honor and privilige of meeting and spending some time with our mens national soccer team captain Lucas Neill. Lucas decided to spend a week at the Aussie Training Centre here in my little home away from home gavirate to kickstart his engine for the new european soccer season. I was initially asked to take him for a 2hr bike ride early in the week to show him the rds so he could use the bike as part of his programme. When he turned up wearing boardies, a t shirt, sandshoes and aboard a mountain bike i felt like a bit of donkey all dressed up in my usual work cloaths and equipment that goes with professional cycling. It became evident very quickly that lucas did not usually use the bike for exercise and fortunately the rain arrived so i directed him in the direction of the bike path where i was confident he would be safe and retreated to the warmth of my home and left him to enjoy the rain. Not really what i was expecting for our organised training session. That we caught up again for dinner along with the physio's from the training centre, Emidio and Vince and i realised that Lucas was pretty interested in learning more about cycling and how it all works. Luckily i had a spare cannondale race bike form the team at home and offered to lend it to him for his stay so he could get the feel for what cycling is like aboard a top line machine. I kitted him out in the full liquigas-cannondale team outfit including team issue shoes, it was quite fortunate that we happened to be exactly the same hight and cloathing size so all fitted him like a glove. Not surprizingly he quickly became hooked and was up at 630 each morning cutting hot laps around the lake getting pumped up for our next outing together scheduled for friday which i hoped would be a much more constructive couple of hrs compared to the non event of our first cycling date.

So with much anticipation for me we met up friday morning and as i had hoped had a very enjoyable 2hr 30min spin. I kept it as scenic as possible to show him the sights of the varese area and not to dis similar to Darrel Kerrigan of the Castle, lucas repeated on numerous occasion, "just look at the view" so i was pleased he was happy with my chosen route. Guess was a bit like me with rowing where you get a little borad about seeing the same thing all the time which i am sure is the same for him on soccer pitch day in day out. As for the ride itself it was very relaxed but i must point out he does ride like a soccer player. Firstly he had no problems bumbing into you occasionaly and also he would do these sudden bursts of speeding lasting about 6second before slowing back to a traquile pace. When i asked him why on earth the violent accellerations where neccessary he simply said he was trying to gain some momentum!!! if only cycling was that simple, unfortunately to go fast you has to keep going hard, i am pretty sure it was just the ingrown soccer player in him with all the constant bursts of speed. Rowers on the other hand ride like rowers, they hate it when you pump into them and go as hard as they can untill they cant turn the peddals anymore so quite he opposite. Certainly never go riding with a rower if you want a nice leasurely spin because rest assured it will be flat bannana until they run out of juice.

Along our journey we had a great chat about all things sport and i made sure i took the opportunity to inform him it is not only cycling that i have had a passion for on a sporting front. I informed him in great detail that i was not to shaby on the soccer pitch aswell and had even reached the summit in 1995 winning the 12C premiership with the Kariong soccer club on the central coast of new south wales. I remember the day like it was yesterday, my step father richard had painted the back of my neck in the team colours, red, yellow and blue and also around my eyes with the same colours to add some intimidation on our opposition. After scoring the goal that sent us through from the central midfield possition in the semi final i moved back to centre back for the final and loved. At the end of the day it was a 2nill victory for us and what i remember well is how much i enjoyed being that last line of defence and the satisfaction you got from shutting down the dangorous attacks on our goal. Sure your not up front taking all the glory scoring goals but i took just as much satisfaction from stopping them and chipping in that way to help the team out. Interesting that at 12 i already developed this trait and it took me another 14years to find a job in cycling that fits this mentality perfectly. I also remember it pissing with rain all day so the paint richard had so meticulously plastered all over my face turn me into somthing out of a horror show completely oblivious to me but i am sure it had an effect on my opposition, great tactic richard!! Anyway the reason i brng this up was that lucas being centre back i could explain why i loved it so much back in the day and the reasons for it which he obviously on quite a different level but i think was nice to know other people understand the crucial role he plays in a team, even if he does not score that many goals like his great mate and superstar harry kewell. Also this mentality i guess gave us common ground to discuss our jobs as they both require a mindset of self sacrifice and dedication to the success of the team so was nice to not only meet him but also have a conversation and interaction with some substance. Like i said to him when we were climbing the final climb before the decent back to the base in gavirate and i am sure he wont mind me saying but he was starting to show signs that it was actually the first time he had even done a climb on rd bike, sport is a great leveler. Here was our national captain and a man i admire highly along with the rest of the nation and i was encouraging him to the top of the climb, seeing him suffer a little and enjoying the experience with him you can see a side of people you cant replicate in a restaurant and for this is the beauty of the sport and the great bonds form as a result of it. It surely was a day in my sporting life i wont forget in hurry.

So that was my experience of meeting the grat lucas neill. We has some phots taken to comemerate the great occassion which i will post to my blog asap. I sent a photo to my Mum and with Lucas Neill being her favourite aussie sports star alongside Rick Charlesworth it certainly made her day and i am sure the photo will take pride of place in her lounge room over on Lord Howe Island. Its great when you can make your mum's day with somthing so simple, gotta love Mum's hey.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

2 From 2 for the green machine

After the great win by elia viviani in arono on Friday the team was again full of optimism for another win for simone ponzi yesterday in the second race of the arona racing weekend. After taking his first victory as a professional 2 weeks ago in Slovenia, simone was full of confidence and so were the team that he could get the job done. Therefore the battle plan was set by our director Mario scirea in the team meeting before the start and each of the 8 riders new exactly what was expected. I had my usual role of control the size of the break getting away and ensuring nothing too dangerous got up the rd. The 1st 50km was pretty much downhill to the lakeside town of arona on the shores of lago maggorie were we would begin 8 laps of a very challenging 15km circuit containing 4 small 1-2km climbs each lap. Due to so many people wanting to get away it was a very fast start and predicably all together after 50km when we reached the circuits. This was were we kicked into gear. After benefiting from the work of the team the day before, our two sprinters in jacabo and elia went straight to the front to set a pace that discouraged attacks. Sure enough 2 brave soles slipped away but that was it so objective one complete. For 4 laps our fastmen became super domestics and buried themselves to control the race and I found myself in the unique position of not working immediately and was moved back in the working order to later in the race so I was pretty excited about that. When the boys finally had given there all they swung off and instead of me taking up the work as planned Lampre decided to flex their muscles and take control of the peleton and I got shuffled back into the bunch. Having not really had much time in the bunch lately due to spending so much time working on my suntan up front the previous few races, I actually felt quite claustrophobic to all of a sudden having everyone bumping into me again, back to the real world of cycling I guess. I quickly got over this and started to switch into another unique opportunity of saving my energy for when it was required later in the race than I had anticipated being used when the race got under way. Not being very patient this again took a little while for me to accept but then once i relaxed and accepted i had to sit in the bunch i actually quit enjoyed it. For the next few laps lampre continued to work away and with 1 lap remaining I realised there was only 20 riders left in the front of the race, 3 of which from liquigas-cannondale and realised it was finally time for me to get to the front and with the nod of the head from team captain for the day simone Ponzi I ripped out a turn which like all great captains he launched an attack forming a selection of only 4 riders with 6km to go. From this point I just played policeman in the remainder of the peleton ensuring no other riders got across to make simone’s job any more difficult in the arrival. Simoni inturn delt with the other 3 riders very easily in the sprint to take his second win in as many races. All in all another very enjoyable day and for me made more enjoyable due to completely different role I played than the day before. It is always a nice feeling to be in the small group at the end of a hard race and then to also be able to help my team mate from that position is always a little more special than the mindless hrs of controlling a peleton for a sprint. For me it was a double victory as not only did simone win the race but I managed not crash! Finally after crashing in 3 consecutive races I had managed to keep my bike upright and although this should just be norm I was super duper excited to finally finish a race with all my skin intact. Another exciting part of the weekend was the arrival of my dad and his wife kellee and her 2 children haylee and ryan. Like the day dad arrived last year at the tour of Austria and my teammate Leonardo Bertagnoli won the stage, he arrived on Friday to see elia win the sprint. So to then have the team take the win again yesterday so his presence seems to have a bit of a patch of good fortune for my cycling team so it is obviously great having him here!!!!

Facts for the stage
Time: 4hrs 10min
Speed: 41.5kmph
Distance: 173km
Watts average: 290
Heart Rate: 151
Energy: 4350kcal
Elevation Gain: 2250

So after my little mid year break I have suffered through the week to get going again and after 2 hard days of racing the cobwebs are gone and its full gas form here to the end of the season.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Back at it

After my little mid season break i have been back at it this week and today raced in arona which is only 30km from my little european home town of gavirate. On all fronts things picked up where they left of before my break with another dominant victory by our sprinter elia viviani and i, like i did last race managed to drop myself on the ashfelt entirely through my own doing. Really very very stupid of me. The only positive was that a hit the ground on exactly the same spots as in slovenia so atleast i had experience on how to patch myself up and how to sleep comfortably with the right side of my body missing some skin.

The race went as we hoped, a small break got away, i went to the front to control to later be joined by a team mates and a few dudes from other teams with interest in the sprint. Closed the gap at a nice point in time for our other 6 fresh riders to set up the sprint and again with 4guys on the front with 1km the result was a great win by elia and another very enjoyable satisfying day even with the crash. tomorrow is another hit out in the same area so looking forward to i hope another successfull liquigas day.

3hrs 30min
290 av watts
147av HR

So pretty solid again

Need a good sleep

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mid Year Re Charge!

The past couple of weeks have been an forced mid season break for me. With no tour de france the team stressed the importance of me taking a little break to ensure i have all the batteries fully charged for the final few months of the season. For the first week i was instructed to do just an easy 2hrs every second day and this week just gone take completely off. Well kind of off, the team were a little short for a race last saturday so i actually found myself lining up in slovenia for the gp krnaj. Not much was exepected of me as i was meant to be on "holidays" but if i pin a number i find it difficult not to give as much as i can to help out. So after 150km on the front with a couple of my very strong team mates i did my final pull with about 4km to go. With 1km to we still had 5 liquigas cannondale boys on the front of the bunch who duly delivered the very talented and motivated lovely bloke Simone Ponzi to his first professional victory. It was certainly a very liquigas dominated event which was great to be appart off and always extra bit special to be appart of a victory within the team so i was happy my vacation period was momentarily disrupted. For the record my SRM data showed the following data which indicate it turned out to be far from an easy saturday for me:

Time 4hrs 11min
Speed 41kmph average
Watts 291 average
Hear Rate 146 average
Energy 4400kcal
Elevation Gain 1650m

So onto my second week off basically no training. I dont do this very well and am usually in a pretty horrible mood if i dont exercise. Realising i could not be like this for an entire week i got a list of all the little jobs needing to be done and also it is fortunate that i can waste many hrs on the golf course. I gave my bikes a little bit of a tune up to ensure they were ready to start work again on monday and also just a little bit of tlc that they deserve for the battering a put them through. I tend to be pretty hopless at admin tasks or more i put them off way to long so caught up on all that which was very satisfying and perhaps most excitingly i finally got my satalite dish connected to SKY. Sky is certainly way cooler than i could have ever imagined and really dont know how or why i had deprived myself of such a luxury for the past 5months. Having basically every chanel under the sun in both italian and english is only the start of its greatness, i can even watch a show in italian with english subtitles which has by far been the best way to learn the language i have come accross. I get not only to watch every tytpe of sport known to man but most importantly the australian league's of football in AFL and also Super 14 rugby so really i can turn my little appartment into a minor australian oasis simply by turning on the tele. Having home and away on the soap opera channels just really caps of an exceptional television service i cant thank the founders of the company enough for offering such a product. So sky tv kept me pretty occupied for a few days but with the week and jobs to be done coming to a close i decided to head over to Luzern in switzerland to watch my aussie rowing pals in the final rowing world cup of the 2011 season. Being only 200km away was a painless drive accross and was great to spend the weekend catching up with eevrybody and at the same time taking my mind of the fact that i was not riding my bike or exercising and hense keeping any grumpiness at bay.

It is always a stange experience for me going to watch the rowing. I am always interested to know how i am going to feel sitting on the bank watching my mates and old rivals from other countries racing by and wonder if i have any urges to get out there. I guess if i was ever going to be temped back into the boat, the difficult little few moments i had had over the past couple of weeks with not doing le tour would have potentially put me in a frame of mind that may consider this. To my surprize i had no desire whatsoever to get back in the boat. It was a refreshing feeling as although i have felt some pain in the past weeks with what has gone on all the time i was in luzern i just could think of nothing else than getting home and getting stuck back into my training tomorrow. I have deffinately completely moved on from my past sport i relaised and although i loved every minute of being there to support my mates i realised how truly happy i am to be riding my bike and doing a sport a truly love every little bit off. The highs, lows, everything, well almost everthing as i said before taking time off mid season is certainly somthing is i still find a little frustrating and difficult but i am sure in time i will get ontop of that. Maby it just means i have not been working hard enough and am not tired enough so i will be sure to samsh myself for the next few months so i trluy earn my next break mid october when the season wraps up. Back to the rowing and i certainly love being there, i also love and feel a huge desire to help my mates where i can and even if given the chance do a bit of coaching like i do with my school or advice on anything the guys might want to ask me. Having had now some great experiences in cycling which i think i have managed to both successfully and unsuccessfully in other areas combine some rowing things in my way of cycling, i think some cycling things can certainly help the rowing guys so in time i really hope i can help them in any way posible with i guess the unique experiences i have been so fortunate to have. On another note i was fortunate enough to meet perhaps the two most famous rowers in the world all be it for reasons not entirely due to there rowing exploits in Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. We had a very lengthy chat as like so many others these days they have become keen cyclists and very interested to know the ins and outs of the sport. It was also another little reminder for me that no matter who you are how sport is such a wonderfull thing in engaging with different people on a completely level platform free of status or fame or whatever other social restraints that limit interaction between different people and cultures these days. Here i was standing on the side of a rowing lake in the middle of europe somwhere chatting indepth with two dudes i had recently read a book about and watched a movie about along with the billions of others around the world and they were completely engaged and genuinely interested in learning about another sport and i felt liked to be getting more of an insiders view which they may not get watching tv. Anyway just a great reminder of sports ability to bring down barriers and allow to engage with people you never could have imageined doing so. They were greta blokes and i wish them all the very best for the selection and participation at the rowing world in Bled slovenia in late august. So that was my rowing weekend in luzern, as it turned out, it was full of surprizes.

So my break has come to an end, i have survived without getting too grumpy and also managed to feel like i have all in order around the house to get 100% focused on the very importaant 4 weeks of training that lies infront of me before the eneco tour on August 8. Time for bed and when i get up in the morning i cant wait to get back to work.