With the changing of the seasons- the nature slowly waking up after a winter sleep- my 2019 cycling season started a couple of weeks ago in the Ruta del Sol. With Sepp, Steven, Antwan, Danny, Jonas and Pascal we brought a very strong team to the start line. With 20 degree temperatures and sun in the South of Spain, mother nature honored the race’s name this year. Meanwhile, while writing this article I am waking up in the thin air of Font-Romeu, where I am currently doing some altitude work in preparation for Basque Country.
First things first, after a good winter I felt more than ready to start racing in the Ruta. We have had some good training camps with the team and the winter in Girona felt more like spring with temperatures above 20 degrees in the beginning of February! I have to admit, I like this kind of good weather but it also makes me very concerned about the whole Global Warming issue. Although I am aware of the fact that my Carbon footprint is way, way too big with all the traveling and so on, I am becoming more and more concerned about the current state and the future of our stunning planet and think about our planet’s well-being by taking care of small things. I am also aware by the fact that I have to change my behavior rapidly after my cycling career, starting by thinking twice if I really have to make this flight or jump into the car, yes or no.
Back to racing and riding a bike now. The Ruta del Sol is held in the state of Andalucia, which is in the South of Spain. A five days stage race was waiting for us, with some hard days and some even harder days! During the beginning of the race I felt quite good and the first two stages went fine. I did my work for Danny the second day by pulling the break back and was happy with how the first two days went, waiting for the 4th stage with twice the Sierra Nevada. This stage turned out to be worse for me than I expected and I was hoping to be better, especially since my numbers on training were getting back to my old level before all my crashes. Being aware that I have to show improvement to get a better race schedule in the second half of the season, I wanted to be good this day. When that does not work out, it is quite a disappointment.
The final stage was pretty brutal, with a hard start and some guys being on a very tight flight schedule we flew towards Malaga. Conclusion of this race: worse than expected, but it is only the beginning of the season. Steven did a good race by becoming
3rd in GC.
The first couple of days after the Ruta, I took it quite easy before traveling with teammate Sepp Kuss towards Font-Romeu. A skiing town not to far from Girona in the French side of the Pyrenees. In July last year, I rode by bike from Girona to Font-Romeu and stayed there for one night, so I am kinda familiar with this area. The purpose of this altitude camp is to make a good preparation for Basque Country and the Tour of California. With Sepp being a professional route maker, we are making some cool rides through the French and Spanish Pyrenees. Once again we are lucky with the early spring, since there is almost no snow at all in the Mountains. A week ago, Font-Romeu was packed with skiers, skiing on humanly prepped snow in t-shirts between the grey and green colored mountains. Luckily for us, it does not look very inviting to rent a pair of skis just for one day. With the culinary mix of American and European food, we are prepping some nice meals here and since the town is not completely extinct, we are having a good time here.
With one more week before heading to thick air again and some hard training rides on the menu, it is time to end this blog. I hope this camp will give me the push to reach a better level in Basque Country, but with a good altitude camp, I am confident that will work out. I will keep you updated about the rest of this season and talk (or maybe write is a better word for it) to you soon.