It has been a rather frustrating couple of weeks for me since heading of to the united states of america. I just never got on top of my condition after turkey which i have now found out was due to a nasty tummy bug which i picked up from one of the 3 continents i have raced on over the past 4 weeks from food, another rider, water or really i would not have a clue. During california i was really struggling with everything, keeping fuel onboard, tummy cramps, chest pain, and just generally feeling very very average, i tried hard to get myself right but if you are missing a few gears you pay for it at this level. Luckily i identified not being right early on in the race and instead of suffering to race at the front i was able to slip into a domestic role for our superstar spinter peter superman sagan and contribute a bit to the collective effort of the team. You cant feel great all the time and i guess my rowing tendancies of ignoring little warning signals sometime backfire on me. Unless you are on your death bed you seem to be able to atleast perform very close to your top in a 6min rowing race because basically there is not enough time in the race for sickness to effect you too much. I have taken this approach a few to many times in cycling adopting the same principle and while you usually do feel ok for the first 6min of the cycling race unfortunately the next 5-6hrs are very very difficult and you need to exercise all your patience in suffering though the race. So after pretty much a week off post california with the travel and a couple of days off the bike to let the antibiotics and medicine rid this jolly thing from my system, i am super fresh and was great to get back out on the open rd for a couple of easy hrs today in the beautiful sunshine of northern italy and feeling like i am well and truly on the mend.
So from this rather unpleasent eposide i have certainly learnt a couple of valuable lessons. Firstly really take notice of all the food that goes into my system, i think i am pretty good but you can obviously never be to carefull and also when it comes to water. Us cyclists certainly get accused of being a little too precious but after most likely suffering from a food or liquid contracted bug through a rather intense cycling tour it is certainly somthing i will take as much care with what goes into my body as i possibly can to ensure it does not happen to me again. Trying to ignore any illness symptems seems to be a very rowing mentality and i guess it is because you get so few opportunities to race on the highest stage that if sickness or injury strikes at these time you simply do what you can to put it out of your mind and get on with the job. In cycling there is a big race every week and therefore the culture is simply to sit a race out if need be and get back on top of your condition before starting your next race. In this case the worst problems did not start untill a couple of days into the race so i did not have the option of pulling out. If you pull out the team is weaker and if you can contribute oin anyway and survive the race you are much better of to the team to stay in the race and do what you can, its one of the ultimate team sports and no matter how bad you are feeling you always judge your ability to continue on weather you can contribute anything in the race. In this case i knew i was still more than capable of spending time riding on the front of the peleton to help control things for the sprint finishes so i never considered pulling out. It is times like this where you realise hopw lucky you are to be in a team and also how much you must really enjoy racing and being with your team mates in a race situation. Certainly the joy we all shared as team after peter's great win on stage 5 completely overshadowed and outweighed any personal discomfort i was experiencing.
So back in europe and back into my routine, look forward to a few days good training and the criterium dauhpine libere.