This past week has flown by, it seems like a lot longer than 7 days ago we were wrapping up catalyuna. The final stage was like all the others, pretty stressful. Rain and a crash 10km in split the peleton and with Basso in the second group I resumed my place on the front and helped the other teams in the same situation close the gap. This was neutralised pretty quick and we enjoyed a nice gentle role into the finish circuits in the down town of barcellona. We were smack bang in the centre, infact we did laps up and down the cities iconic la rumbla. Jess and I enjoyed a few days there in 2006 and it was the highlight of our holiday so although I did not get to have as good a look around as last time was cool to see it again. Last time I was particularly intrigued by the fact you could by an alligator, snake, and a monkey for a home pet at the markets there. Crazy place. The circuits were pretty crazy, they were 5 x 5km with a lot of corners. I assumed my position to what I though was safely mid field and where I could see and ensure I was ready to help my team mates where required. It occurred to while on the circuits that I was not having to fight for the wheel which is a rarity in the final 15km. Having not looked backed through fear of crashing into something I was unaware that the peleton had shrunk considerably from 150+ to 80 riders and I was roleing around with my Team mate Slyvester Smyd in the final 2 positions in the bunch. Anyway it meant after a pretty stressfull week I could enjoy a more relaxed finale to the tour and finished safely in the front group and surprisingly did not feel that tired. This was a good indication to me that the extra work done in training was paying off and the races were not taking so much out of as in previous years. Before I knew it I was in the airport downing a quiet beer and some tappas, could not leave spain without enjoying this speciality. The plane trip home was a bit of a whos who of the cycling world, I was perched next to my team mate Basso, also onboard was Cadel Evans, Michele Scarponi and Nicolas Roche, between those four there was enough horse power to power the airbus jet aircraft we were traveling on. All in all was a good educational week and nice to get my first small tour done in Europe for the season before heading home to get another good block of training done.
I recovered very quickly from catalyuna and after 2 days was keen to get back into it. With 4 weeks till my next race however common sense prevailed and a took a couple of extra easy days on the bike pretty much just cruising around with basso which was nice to do some riding without the stresses of specific training and racing. I also ordered my new golf clubs which I am super excited about arriving this week. I am going to need all the help I can get to keep my 10 handicap this season but I am sure my new titilist golf clubs with atleast give me no excuses on the equipment department. Cycling and golf certainly don’t seem to complement each other, i.e the only time I have to play is when I have easy days so walking around for 4hrs aint really resting but I am just addicted. Also I think its nice to have something else to focus on appart from the bike in a competitive sense, playing golf means my focus changes and I don’t dwell on the difficult times I have on the bike so i will keep enjoying my golf. On Thursday we had another round of climbing testing with our superstar team trainer Paolo Slongo where the sensations I was feeling in the race and post race were confirmed with a nice improvement in my condition. Back to work on Friday with 5hrs on the tt bike and yesterday I did 7hrs nice and relaxed exploring my favourite climbs in the varese region. I nice rest day today watching the moto Gp and a very exciting tour of flanders on the tele and I am ready to get back to work tomorrow.