After a whirlwind first 3 weeks i am finally back into my normal european routine. On friday i had a very easy 2hr drive to the mediterranean town of savona for the start of Troffeo Laigueglia on saturday. A far cry from the 20hr plane trip i had 2 days before the race 2 weeks ago. The race went well for our team with Simone Ponzi arriving in 2nd position, it was my first opportunity to race along side ivan basso and he along with ponzi and 4 of the other riders were fresh from an altitude camp and looked and showed they were in great shape. My role was my usual one, stay alert in the first part to ensure no dangerous breaks get away without me in it and then give the break a nice little lead before i start riding tempo on the front. With our team filled with rock spiders i basically had to do the work on the flat lands and early climbs until our road captain basso decided it was time to really hit the gas. This occurred after 120km and in the final stages of a long 15km climb. Two boys came to the front and drilled and i enjoyed a couple of kms respite while we traded long pulls, just before the top of the climb i was spent after nearly 3hrs 30min and 130km on the front and started to slip back though the bunch, this slipping porcess did not last long and i was quickly out the back of it as my team mates had desimated the field from 160 to 40 riders with there pulls on the front. I briefly got back to the group on the decent but as soon as we hit the 2nd to last climb of the day 40km from the finish my power was gone and the liquigas boys continued to drill the pace eventually whittling the front group down to just 10 to contest the sprint finsh, of the 10 basso and ponzi present and bosso showed his class as a rider pulling full gas to set the sprint up for ponzi so for me was a very enjoyable team effort, everybody did there job and the result was almost perfect.
After the race i travelled home with basso to varese. I probably burnt his ears off with the billions of qustions i asked but it is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the greatest cyclists to ride in the pro peleton. With all the questions i asked the trip was over pretty quick and next stop was pizza and a beer with my mate Will Walker and his fiance Chiara Sassi. They took me to a bar first for tappas italian style and it was incredible. Conveniently the brought out a massive pasta plate which you eat from with a tooth pick one shell at a time so this not only kept me entertained constantly fishing into the bowl for pasta but also refueled my muscle with all the energy i used in the race. I never thought going to the local bar could be such a great recupperatian activity!! It is such a swet deal, you simply by a bear or beverage of your choice for as little as 3euro and then you are entitaled to what i lickened to and all you can eat buffet of italy's most beuatiful food, meats, cheeses, pasta, break, fruit, salad, pizza, you name it this joint had it. Once tappered out we went for a pizza and i headed home to sleep off what was a very enjoyable and satisfying day.
Today i finally resumed normal training> Since arriving in europe i was here there and everywhere and it was nice to be able to wake up and have my favourite breaky delights and head out for some solid training. The great thing about the varese area is there is no shortage of great training partners. Today as with most days i headed for training with basso. We live about 20km appart so conveniently if we leave home at the same time we pretty mush meet each other exactly half and then continue on our way. This 10km journey is a bit of a trip down memory lane for me. I leave from my little town of gavirate where i currently stay while in europe and head along the road beside the lake. First i pass the rowing club i spent so many hrs, follow the rd beside the rowing course i lapped up and down and up and down over the years. Next i pass the hotel continental which is where we stayed on those long stints with the rowing team, next up is the monate lake which is also another lake with a rowing course and offered an alternative training venue when a change from lago varese was required and also and excellent swimming venue for those sweltering summer days. A km or so later at the end of monate lake in the town of vergiate i meet Ivan Basso, the man largly responsible for inspiring me to try cycling and be where i am today. So it is s great daily reminder of where i have come from and some time to relect and cherrish the opportunities i have had through sport and more particually what a significant part this varese region has played in my sporting developedment and life. Upon meeting Ivan and with the legs starting to warm up the day dreaming ends and it is time for us to get to work. Somewhere between 3 and 6hrs later depending on what the daily programm entails we say goodbye in the same spot and i can day dream and ponder my home to gavirate and everyday i get home i am already excited about waking up the next morning and doing it all over again.
I am certainly a man of routine so it is nice to be back into one.