It’s been a while since my last blog update at Christmas, which was a round up of the 2014 season. The 2015 season is now well underway and it has been an exciting few months, which I’ll try to capture in as few words as possible.
It was the 6th of January when I packed my bags to move abroad for the season as things kicked off early with our first training camp of the year in Altea, Spain. It was here where some of the pre-season photo and video shoots took place.
However things were also pretty intense with lots of training, physiological testing and the body fat percentage check which is always very welcome after the festive season…ahem. It was great to see everyone in great shape and focused for the upcoming races.
After a month training in Spain I travelled to the Philippines for my first event of the year. It was here that my teammate Scott Ambrose took Team Novo Nordisk’s first professional victory which was a fantastic day. However personally, let’s just say I was hoping for a better start to the season. I didn’t finish the race, which was very disappointing, however it was clear to see my body wasn’t performing as it should. I was over trained and needed to take a break to recover from the fatigue.
Luckily I could spend this time in my new home of Girona (100km north of Barcelona in Catalonia). It’s an amazing city, with many of my teammates and other professional cyclists living there. The climate and training roads are absolutely perfect and the atmosphere and local people make it an ideal place to be based. Now I just need to learn the local language!
My next race back in action was the 5 day Tour of Taiwan at the end of March. This went really well and I surprised myself with how I felt despite the break from racing. I made it into the breakaway on stage 3, however we were caught just 4km before the finish. It was a boost of confidence at a good time as this was to be the start of a busy block of stage racing, with one week away racing followed by one week in Girona, on and off for the next 9 weeks.
Brazil was up next for another 5 day stage race. Once again I was happy with how I was performing. I did what I could to help the team throughout the week and made it into another breakaway on the final day also. Another quick stop back in Girona before I was off to Croatia for another 5 days of pedaling my bike! I have to say this is probably the most beautiful country I have ever been in. It was nice to watch the race on TV in the evening to see the amazing scenery which we had raced past without knowing! It was a difficult race, and one where my focus was on helping my teammate but it went well. I was definitely tired, having done my longest stage to date at 230km during the race. So it was time for an easier week of training in Girona before we made the trip to Azerbaijan. This was another hard tour with lots of wind and 5 days of fast racing. Having done 208km on day 4 at an average speed of 48.1km/h it set the record as the fastest stage I’ve ever done.
I am now back in Girona for a week before doing the Tour of Norway, another 5 day stage race. This will be followed by one single day back in Girona before I go to Estonia for a 2 day race there. I’m looking forward to this, as it will be my last race before I get to travel home to Ireland in June where I’ll be competing in the national championships in Omagh on the 28th. The season seems to have gone by so fast, but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. I’ll keep you updated with how all the upcoming races go in the next blog update which will hopefully be sooner and consequently shorter than this one! Until then, all the best!