So, that was my twenties!!
Yes, I celebrated my 30th birthday here on our training camp in Mallorca and, to be honest, considering I couldn’t be with family and friends, it was an enjoyable day - even if it involved spending several hours in pain on a bike!
In all seriousness, being away at this time of year when it’s my birthday is something I’ve been used to, going back to when I was a kid.
Last year, I actually managed to be home for it for the first time in ages but the year before I was in Tenerife, which was terrible for reasons too long and boring to go into, and for all the big ones I have been away. My 21st, 25th and, now, my 30th, have been spent with a load of sweaty cyclists at some training camp or race somewhere.
It’s not great but, as I often say, that’s just one of the small prices we all pay for doing a job we love. In any case, the hotel management and GB staff here made a bit of a fuss which was nice of them and my wife Lauren sent me away with a magnificent Lego-themed birthday cake which me and my room mate Chris Latham got stuck into.
That was appreciated because we’re now getting close to the World Champs in Hong Kong so we’re on a low carbs, high protein diet right now so that cake was our last treat for a while.
But the first week here in Mallorca was good. Grim in terms of how hard the training was but good in terms of how we feel our form is progressing and the fact that the sun is out. Training in the sun, rather than the pouring, freezing rain, really is so much more beneficial for a variety of reasons and, on one of the first days, I even managed to pick up some mild sun burn it was so hot.
Mallorca is obviously a place popular with British cyclists, particularly at this time of year, and it's become a home away from home for a lot of us in recent years. I really enjoy coming here, despite a lot of painful memories and I've got to know the area quite well. It's quite nice to feel at home in a place and have your favourite coffee shops and restaurants. In this type of weather it's also nice to be able to walk around the town and get a break from the hotel - even if I almost got knocked over by a man walking his pig on Sunday! (True story: see photo below!)
While we’ve been here, GB have also named the squad for the World Champs and I think it’s fair to say there were not many surprises in there, at least for the endurance guys.
There are seven of us male enduros, with the six of us out here in Mallorca being joined by Matt Bostock for Hong Kong, and we’ve been training together off and on for the last few months so the squad pretty much picked itself, as it often does in these year after Olympics when some of the stars like Ed Clancy (happy birthday to him as well by the way) are taking a break from the track.
I think the plan is for Chris Latham to do the omnium in Hong Kong and I believe I’m doing the individual pursuit, but the rest of it is up for grabs, as is the line-up for our team pursuit squad out there.
Chris and I also have a date with the Mallorca Six Day this Friday when we’re riding a one-day final type event which promises to be brutal and should be a good way to wind up this training camp.
After that, it’s all about staying healthy and recovering from the training we’re doing because, before we know it, the Worlds will be on us and we’ll be in competition.
I can’t wait!