2016, a year in review…
With 2016 nearly over it’s time to take a quick look at what has happened.
I’ve clocked up slightly over 28,000km of training and races which is my biggest year to date. That’s over 76km’s per day, which when I think about is a little bit scary. Spending 840 hours, or slightly over 2 hours a day in the saddle required lots of chamois cream, clean kit and lots of cafe stops. Towards the end of the season, I also joined a gym more seriously, and incorporated a couple of sessions per week under the supervision of Stuart Canavan from High Rise Performance. Saunas started to make more regular appearances, first starting whilst I was training in Boulder, Colorado and now back in Melbourne I still try to go once a week. Sitting in a sauna for 45 minutes (3x15minute repeats) is harder than it sounds! I lost my Strava Kinglake KOM to Joe Cooper early in the year and probably won’t get it back for some time. Donuts still have a place on my training rides, but less frequently now.
There are two obvious highlights that stand out for me in the racing season. Firstly, was my early season performance in the Tour of Oman winning the young riders competition, top 10 on GC, and showing some potential against the best climbers in the world – including Vincenzo Nibali and Romain Bardet. Second was my first professional win in Europe during the Tour of Austria. I’m not too sure which one is the bigger highlight, but I’ll definitely remember these two events for a long time. The Tour of Oman was probably more of a catalyst in the scheme of things, and has changed my life forever. I also had a few bad races, including the Tour of San Luis in Argentina. I crashed twice here, got sick with a cold towards the end, and celebrated my 24th birthday along the way. And it was something similar in Giro del Trentino… getting sick, washing out around a corner in the TTT, and having a DNF next to my name a few days later.
2016 was the biggest overseas journey I’d ever done, and I definitely learned lots about how to deal with travel and living overseas. I spent bits and pieces out of Girona (staying in different accommodation most time) and although it was fun, it could be rather stressful without having a ‘home’ to return to after a race (except for my stint in Boulder, Colorado!) For 2017, I’ve already got keys to an apartment sorted for the whole season, and I am already in talks about getting a really good domestique coffee machine. The time has come to be a professional, and being a professional means you should avoid using a Nespresso pod machine.
I am definitely looking forward to getting back over to Europe and doing things right. I always find this difficult to articulate, but the more time I spend in this sport, the more I realise just what it means to be a professional. This extends far beyond waking up and training on your bike. It is your life. You need to let it consume you, and you need to adopt the right lifestyle that works. Small things can effect performance in a big way over a period of time (such as lack of sleep, bad nutrition, too much walking around on recovery days, or even something such as not having a toaster and kettle in your apartment).
For me, 2016 was always a big year. We knew about the Cannondale-Drapac World Tour merge early in the year, so that placed more pressure from the start. Fortunately, I had a great season and showed the team enough to be considered as one of the few riders to be selected. Some people say if you’re good enough, you will always make it… but I’m not so sure how true that is with professional cycling. I mean, what if I had a bad start in 2016, became injured, and hindered any chance to be promoted with Cannondale-Drapac for 2017? The good news is that this didn’t happen so I don’t need to spend time contemplating. Instead, I can look forward to the future, enjoy the journey, and make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.
I didn’t write on this blog nearly as much as I would have liked. I wrote about the races in race report formats, and that was about it. But there is so much more that I would like to share that I think you, my family, friends and followers would like to read about. And if you don’t… well, I am going to write about it anyway!
The new 2017 bikes are here with some kit, which I am looking forward to sharing with you in the new year. I’ll celebrate New Years down with the family in Blairgowrie, but then I’m off to Ballarat on the 3rd of January starting my 2017 with the nationals time trial, followed three days later with the road race.
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and have a happy new year!