After a very successful National Championships and World Championships this year I was selected as a non-traveling reserve for the London Olympics. My role being the backup “lead out” rider in the Team Sprint, while also working on developing other areas of my cycling to build toward future World Championships, Commonwealth Games and ultimately the 2016 Olympics.
The first part of our build up is one month in the outskirts of Valencia, Spain. Here we are able to stay less than 200m from an indoor concrete Velodrome, Gym and have ample quiet roads for training and recovery.
The other benefit is the hot weather, which will allow us to train maximally every session.
After three flights, stop overs in Christchurch and Singapore and a four-hour car ride we finally arrive. We spend the first two days doing some light road rides, setting up all our equipment, getting our bearings and generally trying to stay awake so we can adjust to the time zone as soon as possible.
Our accommodation is excellent. The hotel is set up to cater for our specific needs. All meals are provided and have been approved to meet our nutritional needs. I am rooming with Eddie and Simon in a room looking over the velodrome, small streets and apartment buildings of Valencia. For me the best part about our accommodation is the air conditioning which unfortunately sporadically shuts off. However it is always a welcome relief to get back to our cool room after a couple of hours hard work in the Spanish heat. For me, more than others, I really struggled with the heat during our initial track session. The outside temperature has ranged from 30 – 39 and the track temperature is usually around 28. I wouldn’t say I am comfortable in this temperature now but I am feeling much better after a week of training.
We are slowly beginning to understand some of the culture here. Initially I was baffled at where all the people were, as the streets are empty all day. It turns out most people don’t venture out until after 8ish. Also everything shuts between 12-2 for siesta, where everyone goes home has lunch and sleeps. They then come back to work until 7 and then they eat dinner around 9-10pm.
It has been great so far training with the team and also having the women’s sprint team here. The environment is very positive and everyone is determined to push each other all the way to the games. Some of the times and testing even in the early stages suggest everyone is at their best or above it, which is a very exciting prospect with a number of weeks still to go.
Our first rest day was our first real opportunity to have a look around the city. We decided to go to the beach and on this particular day it turned out to be a scorching 39 degrees. After a quick dip, heaps of sunblock and a snooze in some shade we made our way back to the hotel. For more sleeping (very important on rest days).
We have three more weeks here before heading to Bordeaux for final preparations. During this time Eddie, Simon, Sam and the women’s sprint team will go to Germany for a couple of Sprint Grand Prix. While Ethan and myself stay in Valencia. These are exciting times, a lot more hard work ahead. But it is great to be part of the 2012 Olympics in a small way.