Australian World Tour Academy rider and Orica-GreenEdge signee Jack-Haig has been keeping us up to date on his adventures in Europe before things get too hectic in his life. In this update, Jack talks of his trip to Girona where he’ll be living next year as a neo-pro, as well as his training block at altitude in Livingo.
I had a couple days spare in the middle of the season, which I had always planned to use to check out places to live next year. I had narrowed it down to two places, Girona or Nice, but I only ended up going to Girona because I really wanted to get a good feel for the place. I had also pretty much decided before going to Girona that that’s where I would be living next year.
GreenEdge has a really big presence in Girona with a lots of riders living there as well as staff. There are at least one of the team doctors, some coaches and other staff living there as well. This will definitely make it easier to sort out any problems if they arise next year.
GreenEdge also has a mini service course there — it’s basically just a shed with some bikes, team car and spares kept in it. I only got a brief look inside when I went for a ride with Durbo [Luke Durbridge], but I’m sure I will learn a lot more about everything there next season.
I kinda had really high expectations about the riding around Girona because people rave about it, but I was actually kinda disappointed with it. I found myself missing the ride around my base in Gavirate and it made me realise how spoiled we are in Italy to have such a great home there.
The riding in Girona reminded me a lot of Australia where there are big open spaces and flat wide roads between towns and hills. But once I got my bearings and sorted out where the good places were to ride, it was pretty decent. One positive was it seemed to be a bit safer on the roads than Italy and the climbs aren’t anywhere near as steep or as narrow as the ones near where we live.
I have been working ultra hard since crashing in Tour of Bretagne, probably harder then I have ever worked before. I’m trying to make sure I am in the best shape possible for the second half of the season. I have kinda been quite disappointed with the first half of the season — other than Tour Down Under I haven’t really got the results I wanted. Some of this has been because of bad luck, and some because of injuries.
I was able to put in two solid weeks of volume with a bit of intensity thrown in before heading up to altitude when I was in Girona. After that I had a slightly easier week before heading to Livigno for the altitude training camp. It’s quite import to head into altitude block rested because it can be quite a shock to the body for the first week.
It only ended up being Harry [Carpenter] and I going to Livingo, which was kinda strange. The others got told that they where basically too fat and unfit to head to altitude! Which meant Alex Clements and Rob Power stay in Gavirate for the whole time and where told that they needed to loss weight and get fit before the nest race block instead of being able to come to altitude. But we had Nick Schultz staying with us for the first couple of weeks which was good.
I basically did all of the training on my own because I have a different coach than the rest of the team and the training program was completely different to what Harry and some of the others were doing. I really enjoyed it though and it meant I could put some solid work in and focus on nailing every single session.
I also bought a mountain bike just before heading up, which meant I could go for bit of a cruise and get a mental break from worrying about heart rate, watts, TSS and doing efforts. Like most of my training you can see it on Strava and if you have any questions I am normally happy to answer them.
The weather can be bit of a lottery and we were quite lucky this year. The first week was quite cold and we even got a bit of snow, but after that we where treated to some spectacular weather.
Now it’s time to start racing for the second half of the year, which includes three hilly tours that I will be looking to do well in. It all starts with Giro Valle d’Aosta, which is a six day U23 tour in the Aosta region of Italy [ed. at the time of publishing this race had finished. Jack got third on one stage and teammate Rob Power won the overall]. I will hopefully give another update during the middle of this racing block.
Thanks for reading!
- Part 1: An introduction
- Part 2: The season begins
- Part 3: The perils of bike racing
- Part 4: Recovering from injury and the road ahead