After a couple seasons racing for the Jayco-AIS WorldTour Academy team in Europe, Australia’s Jack Haig has made the step up to the WorldTour in 2016 with Orica-GreenEdge. He’s not currently racing the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, but it’s still been a frenetic start to the year for the former mountain biker.
In his first diary entry for 2016, Jack brings us up to speed on his past few months and his transition into the pro ranks.
After the 2015 season ended I stuck around in Europe for a while to relax and enjoy some time off the bike. In fact I had close to two months before I had to fly back to Australia for a training camp with Orica-GreenEdge in November.
I spent the first three weeks doing some traveling. I went to San Sebastian for a couple days and also spent some time just outside of Barcelona. I really enjoyed San Sebastian — the city itself is super cool on the edge of some really nice beaches. There are heaps of things to see and do and lots of places to eat and enjoy good evenings out and about.
I have to thanks the guys that let me tag along on the trip — it was a great group of people and made the trip really enjoyable. Apart from the San Sebastian trip and the trip to Barcelona I just explored my new hometown of Girona. By the end of my time there I didn’t really want to leave.
Soon after I got back to Italy from the World Champs in Richmond I went to the Orica-GreenEdge service course and swapped over my U23 Scott bike to pick up what will become my home/training bike when I get back to Europe. At the moment it’s also my race bike while I am in Australia.
I decided to go with the Addict model over the Foil, which I had for the whole of 2015. So far I really like it — it’s a bit more comfortable then the Foil, making the training on some of the bumpy country roads here in Australia a bit nicer. It’s also a bit lighter than my Foil.
I’m also pretty sure I can put some 28mm tires on it if I decide to explore some gravel roads around Girona during training this year.
I had about three weeks off the bike to let my body reset a bit and rest before I started doing some light training again. I brought my mountain bike with me to Girona and started exploring all the awesome mountain biking just behind the city. There is a great network of trails and I’m really looking forward to doing some more exploring.
During this time of easing back into training I was going to the gym close to three times a week to build up a good strength base before really getting into the on-the-bike training. By the time I had got back on to the bike a lot of the Australians had gone back home, so I spent a lot of my time training with the Europeans that were left staying in Girona.
I made some new friends, which I am looking forward to getting back to training with in a couple months.
After arriving back in Australia I didn’t have much time before I headed off to training camp, which started in Canberra. The team had most of its Australian and New Zealanders riders at the camp while the Europeans didn’t make the trip down and are having a camp a little later on in Spain. We did some medical screening and testing for the UCI to make sure we had no underlying issues.
The first section of camp was pretty relaxed and more about enjoying the riding, getting to know everyone and stopping off at some small country pubs while we rode from Canberra to Nagambie. After a couple days in Nagambie for the Orica winery ride at Mitchelton, six of us headed to Bright for 10 days of some more serious training.
In Bright we did a heaps of riding to lay down a really good pre-season foundation to build on for the rest of the Australian summer. The riding wasn’t too intense, but more focussed on volume and sub-threshold strength endurance work.
I did the Orica-GreenEdge training camp two years ago and met a lot of the staff and riders throughout 2015. This made the transition into the team really easy and nowhere near as stressful as I imagine it would be for most neo-pros at their first training camp.
My first races with the team were the four Bay Crits races down around Geelong. It was a pretty low-key affair for the team with only a small group of guys racing most of the races. But we went into the races wanting to winning the overall and as many races as possible.
With a guy as quick as Caleb Ewan in the team, it wasn’t too hard to put him in a good position to finish it off and get some good results. It was pretty weird feeling racing in the Orica kit, but it felt amazing to be representing the team.
It wasn’t long after Bay Crits before I was racing again in Ballarat for the Nationals crits and then my first elite Nationals road race. These races had a bit more pressure on them than Bay Crits with the goal of coming away with two national champ’s jerseys. We only managed to come away with one after Caleb did another really good ride to win the Crit, but we got a little caught out in the road race by a very in-form Jack Bobridge.
Jack raced an incredible race and was a very deserving winner. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes this year and to watching him wear the national champ’s jersey. The team was pretty disappointed with the end result, but at the end of the day Jack was by far the best rider on the day.
Bay crits done and dusted. Great first race with the @orica_greenedge guys, thanks for a fun 4 days. Really looking forward to the rest of the year. National Crit next up on wednesday. ? @iamlucasmirtsios ??? #baycrits #jayco #bont#scottbikes #shimano #YourRideYourRules #baycrits2016 #outsideisfree #prohours #festiveseason #fromwhereiride #bontcycling #HealthyCatchUps #kitdoping #lightbro #cycling #bikeoftheday #maap #maapritte
Right now I am just enjoying what’s left of my time in Australia and putting in some hard work to make sure I set myself up for a good year ahead. I kinda wish I was in Adelaide ether racing or watching the Tour Down Under. After doing it the last two years with UniSA its probably been a highlight of both those years.
Good luck to all the Orica guys racing as well as the UniSA guys. It’s an amazing opportunity to be given and an unforgeable experience to race with UniSA at Down Under.
I am going to race the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race later this month and then the Herald Sun Tour before flying to South Africa for another training camp. Then it’s off to Europe for the rest of the year.
As always, if there are any questions you’d like to ask, let me know in the comments below. It might be about what I’ve been up to in training or about the experience of turning pro more generally. I’ll do my best to answer them in the next blog.
Thanks for reading,