I don’t know if it’s a dog’s life being a cyclist or the other way round but, either way, my wife Lauren has had to put up with me and our pug Burt being ill these last couple of weeks!
I’m glad to report that a quick trip to the vet’s was all Burt needed to get him back on his four feet. For me, it wasn’t quite so simple.
My problem started straight after the Berlin Six which was a great, but exhausting, event.
After being ill in Amsterdam, my partner Chris Latham was absolutely flying and we actually led the whole field after three nights. Of course, Six Days being what they are, that meant we were marked men and, being the only Brits in the field, there were a few alliances formed to make sure we didn’t win the overall.
People seem to assume all Six Days are fixed. They’re absolutely not but what does happen is people make partnerships with other teams - often based on nationality - to try and mark other teams out of contention and that’s what happened with us.
The event was a lot of fun but not even having my Manchester house mate Phil Hindes there could help with a long, and very tiring week.
Phil, as you may know, makes really funny video diaries/vlogs and he did a couple in Berlin. One of them caught me at the track in a VERY grumpy mood one night after I found out seconds before an event started that they had changed the running order and I was massively over-geared for that particular race. They passed out printed instructions every night in English which was great but, quite often, they would change them as the day went on and they would only pass the new instructions out in German! So, I respectfully pointed this out to one of the commissaires and, of course, Phil captured the whole thing on camera!
We also managed a couple of enjoyable trips to various coffee places and, for once, Phil was actually useful for me … as an interpreter.
From there, we flew to Mallorca and I was meant to be riding in a GB team at the Challenge Mallorca road race although, by then, I had come down with whatever virus or flu it was that hit me.
It was really frustrating. I was happy with my form in Berlin but I had really severe flu symptoms and had to spend five days in Mallorca feeling as sick as a dog - well, as sick as Burt anyway.
Unfortunately, I had to start the third day to make up the numbers although I told everyone I would just do a couple of hours. Sure enough, I got dropped on the first hill so climbed off expecting the broom wagon to pick me up, only for it to drive straight past!
By the time I got to the feed zone all our soigneurs had left - because they assumed I was in the broom wagon - which led to one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I descended 15km but the way I wanted to go, into Soller, was closed because of an avalanche so I had to hitch hike back to Palma.
I managed to get a ride with a guy and we turned it into our own version of Carpool Karaoke - I remember Shakira, Katie Perry and one or two other classics being belted out - before I finally managed to get to Palma and ride back to the hotel.
The next day, I started, had a coughing fit and packed pretty much straight away and, ever since, I’ve not felt great if I’m honest.
I think the docs have got to the bottom of it and I’m feeling much better now but, with the World Champs in Hong Kong coming up in April, I hope I can bounce back quickly from it.
In fact the next couple of weeks are all about the track, in Manchester, before heading to Mallorca for a training camp in March in which Chris and I have also been invited to ride the Final in this winter’s Six Day series while we’re there.
I’ll keep you in touch with how things are going before I head over there.