I was thinking to myself the other day how great I have it, because sometimes it seems I should be the one paying to do what I do - not getting paid! The sun’s out, I’m pedalling along getting my tan on and checking out the awesome scenery, and this is my job!
Of course it’s not all plain sailing, especially when it comes to racing and the travel to and from races. But outside of that, Spain is one awesome place to live and train when summer’s on the cards. I was out the other day in 35C heat! It was awesome. Then I rode past this massive beetle scuttling across the road, saw a green snake curled up on the asphalt and got smacked in the face by this massive dragonfly. Brought me down to earth and for a moment there I thought I was in Jurassic Park! I’ve never come across a snake before, let alone when I’m out on my bike - we don’t get them at all back in NZ. Next time I’ll bunny hop the bugger. We’ll see how quick his reflexes are then...
I think one of the best sides to what I do is the chance to travel to new countries and experience a bit of the local culture. Coming from New Zealand we’re kinda in the middle of nowhere surrounded by oceans - it takes awhile to get anywhere! So we don’t generally go. When people from NZ travel they tend to see as much as they can in one whack and get it out of their systems. There’s always Oz just over the ditch, and within a few hours you can be in Sydney, but it’s not really the same as what’s on your doorstep when you live in Europe.
Every time we race we’re getting on a plane bound for some new location. Of course the majority of our racing happens in the cycling mad countries of France, Spain, Belgium and Italy but every now and then we go somewhere new. Endura sells cycle clothing in countries all over the globe, so our job is to market the brand through racing and getting results in countries where the brand is growing.
A week ago we travelled to south-west Poland for a three day stage race called Szlakiem Grodow Piastowskich. What a tongue-twister of a name huh? I had enough trouble getting the spelling right for this blog let alone trying to pronounce it. We just referred to it as "The tour in Poland"! The night before the race began there was a 30km circuit race (or crit) in the local town centre of Legnica (at least from memory that’s what it was called). The results didn’t count towards the overall standings for the following three days so we got involved in the crit but didn’t take any risks in the final mad gallop for the line. The actual tour was a great race but I lost too much time in the 27km time-trial on day two to have any hopes for the overall GC. Instead I spent my time helping out Iker who was our highest-placed rider.
I’ve had an interest in Poland since learning about the country in school and the large part it played in World War II. I have a German dad as well so have a bit of a connection to this part of the world. I was keen to see even a small part of this country where so much had happened back in the day and where such atrocities against humanity had been committed. It was really sobering to be there and imagine how different life must have been there, just years before. How good have we got it huh? We can believe what we want, live the life we want, do the job we want, and we don’t really need to answer to anyone. Riding a bike for a living wasn’t an option back in those days. It makes you thankful for what you’ve got and definitely made me realize that the issues and problems I face during the day aren’t that big after all.
After the last stage we jumped in the cars and headed across the border and into Germany. Our flight back home left from Berlin, so we had a night in the airport hotel and then flew out in the morning. So two countries in four days, a bit of history and new experience. Not bad at all huh?
You see what I mean about getting paid to do what I do! All I gotta do now is work on some sort of light-speed way of travelling between Girona and NZ so I can see everyone back home more often! Oh yeah and a shout-out to you Brent, clocking up the k’s over in Samoa. Thanks for the email bro, make sure you grab yourself a MET lid for protection against falling coconuts and try the foot-to-nose technique on those stray dogs yapping at your heels and harassing you during hard-earned training miles! Ride on man.
Tomorrow I’m off to Holland, the land of wooden shoes, windmills and more land below sea level than above it. We’re racing the six day Royal Smilde Olympia's Tour which over seven stages features a prologue, individual time-trial and mammoth 223km stage finale. I’ll be keeping you posted. Anyway what am I going on about, six days isn‘t that long. The Giro’s been going for 8 days already and they’re not even halfway there! Guess that’s what it takes huh?