Volta Catalunya

I had some pretty high aims for this years edition of Catalunya, I was good there last year and I've got a few more hairs on my chest now! I was a very tired boy after my journey to Nice but after a few days on the couch I got a little more training in and was ready for a good week in Spain...with the hope that now I had some racing in the legs I'd be dancing!

The first two stages were easy enough but as we hit the mountains we also hit the snow, and when we hit the snow I hit the brakes and went backwards. The race seemed rather relaxed compared to the week before, big roads not a heap of fighting and some selective stages so I was enjoying my time on the closest things to what I can call home roads in the pro tour. Although that changed pretty quickly as we arrived at the base of Valter with zero degrees and snow. I had felt great at the start of the stage and was starting to feel optimistic about the day ahead but as the snow came down I could feel my legs emptying and then eventually I just couldn’t feel my legs but not in a good way. I completely died on the climb and it just became a case of survival to the top. I was happy just to cross the line but once I had full movement back in my joints, I started to feel quite gutted about the day and tried to evaluate what went wrong...why the other guys who share similar body fat percentages and volume to surface area ratios could kick on when ol’ GB was doing well just to turn the pedals. After some consultation with our trainers I found out that our bodies can adapt and make changes at a physiological level when acclimatized to the cold, which is quite interesting – it's not just that some guys are soft. Coming from the NZ summer and not being cold since the Giro last year the legs just didn’t know what to do with themselves. It does raise a few questions though, like do I need to re-organize my season and get some cold training in before the early season races or just hope like hell the Giro is warmer that last year? All things to ponder.

The race warmed up a bit for some nice sprint stages and then we hit the final stage, a filthy lap race around 2km climb in downtown Barcelona. To make things fun it was p*ssing down all day which made the oiled up corners rather sh*t to navigate. I finished up safely, just coming unstuck on the last climb and rolled it into the finish, took a hot shower and booted it to the airport to jump on a plane down to Tenerife. It’s the one time in the whole season I could have been home for dinner, watch some “dos hombres y medio” on tv and get a good night sleep but instead it was a drag the whole way south and at about 1.30am I got to bed, 2200meters above the sea! It makes sense being up here now, I would normally take some days easy to recover and also a few days easy to acclimatize so combine the two birds with one plane and no time wasted. So now up here at el Teide, lets see if it’s the magic formula we all read about on cycling news.

Zero degrees and snow...

Zero degrees and snow...