In preparation for the 2017 season, we’ve actually kept things very simple and with very minimal travel and disruption. I’ve based myself in Germany as it’s got some great facilities and roads to train on and is a good central location when preparing for the European race season.
I’ve made a trip back to England and also visited my coach in Switzerland, but apart from that, we’ve just wanted to focus on high quality, consistent training, day after day, week after week. I have a great base set up at my home here and gone to work for the winter!
It’s not always possible to do this and sometimes it’s even very positive to change things up for variety and take some weeks out for a training camp in more favourable weather conditions than northern Europe in winter. But, after the challenges of the big injury last year as well as other previous disruptions, it was important to put some consistency back in to training and not over-complicate things. I can work extremely hard from my base here near Hamburg and for now the simplicity is working very well.
For racing, travel is a bit more difficult, but as I mentioned previously, basing myself in central Europe and focussing this season on the European races without the more exotic Asian or American races, does reduce the stresses of travelling somewhat. The 2016 season turned into a bit of a difficult one, so as with everything, we’re getting the basics right and keeping things simple. 2017 feels like a second chance at my first season of truly racing as a professional.
That’s not to say that there won’t be challenges when travelling to the races however. It’s always a balance between keeping costs low, but also getting to the start line fresh and ready to compete, which affects how we’ll travel and how far in advance we’ll get to the race site. At least we don’t have to worry about time zone changes and jetlag though!
For some races we’ll drive, which can be more tiring, but has the benefit of being able to transport more home comforts with me and others races we’ll fly there, which can be faster, but brings with it the risks of flying with a bike and all your equipment. It’s always a lottery where you take your chances on how much you’ll eventually be charged by the airline, whether the bike and other bits arrive in one piece, or whether it arrives at all. I have experience of all three!
My ‘favourite’ of these has to be getting charged £120 extra by the airline at the check-in desk to allow the bike on the plane, due to a failure in their booking system and for the bike to then not arrive at the destination! And that was at the very first race of last season.