The countdown to the start of my 2010 season is officially underway here in Girona and it is only a matter of days now until I kick things off with the one-day Clasica de Almeria.
I’m looking forward to my return to racing and I have to say that I’m pretty happy about how my preparations have gone over the past six weeks.
The team training camp in the Algarve in early January was a reminder of just how much work I needed to put in to get back on top of things after a slight injury and the worst Irish weather in 50 years derailed by winter training schedule.
The guys who are focusing on the early Spring classics like Milan San Remo, Gent Wevelgem and Flanders were flying and were doing an hour or more on top of the three or four hours I was riding.
I got done what I wanted to do each day and I was being careful so as not to aggravate the knee injury. My knee is practically recovered now and I have had no problems going for longer and harder rides.
The past two weeks have really helped me to regain my condition and I have been steadily building my strength with four to five hour endurance rides and two hour intensity rides.
I have different training zones and the endurance rides are my zone two which is 250 watts on rolling terrain with two or three low cadence, high power sessions thrown in on some good drags or steep climbs.
From this week on I will be focusing more on my intensity training which all about riding for 1.5 hours or two hours at 300 watts. I will also start work on improving my climbing which involves riding a nice 20 minute climb just on my threshold.
I’m not expecting much from the opening races of the season like Almeria, the Tour of Murcia or the Volta Cilista a Catalunya. Those races will be about getting back into the swing of racing and getting through them as best I can.
The team training camp in January was all about planning and I’m preparing to peak in April for the Ardennes classics and to carry that form into May for the Tour of California.
Leige-Bastogne-Liege is one race in which I hope to make a mark but La Doyenne is never easy and the succession of short, steep climbs always decide who’s really got what it takes to win.
I prefer longer climbs and I have never been super strong in a race that is more than 250kms, but every year I am getting stronger and better at going harder for longer periods, so with that in mind I really looking forward to giving it a go.
Andy Schleck showed how it’s done last year but you only have to consider riders like Philippe Gilbert, Damiano Cunego, Samuel Sanchez and my old teammate Simon Gerrans, who all finished in the top ten last year, to know how hard that race is going to be.
While my training has been going well it looks as if I’m going to have to alter my schedule to travel to California for a few days this month as part of Cervelo’s ‘Brainbike’ initiative.
The trip will give me an opportunity to meet distributors and bike-shop owners in California and to enjoy some training rides in their company. I’m looking forward to the trip and to some sun, even though I know that the jet-lag will kill me when I get back to Girona.
All in all I’m pretty happy with the work that I have been doing and the way things are shaping up for this year’s season. The next stop is the start line.