Settling in to life in France

Well I guess it’s been over 2 weeks since I arrived here in Roanne – still feels like I just got here!  Time is certainly flying by, but that means the racing season will soon be here!

Since arriving it’s been a pretty busy few weeks for me getting things organized for the rest of the year.  I’m living here in the team appartment with the other foreign rider – Reijo Puhm from Estonia.  We have a nice place on the 4th floor of an appartment building and we’re only about 1km from the team’s service course.  We’ve been putting a few personal touches to the place, and I’m happy to say that it is really feeling like home (the addition of the coffee maker was the last thing that I required!)  Aside from having the team headquarters close by, there are a few grocery stores within walking distance, as many bakeries as the eye can see (we are in France after all) and there are top notch roads for training right out our door.

Last week was a big training week for me to finish off a training block, so pretty much all my time was spent either riding, eating, stretching or sleeping.  We did many 5+ hour days through beautiful scenery with a few of the other members of the team.  Here’s a picture of us after having just climbed some ridiculous col called the Col St. Thomas.  This thing is like 20% for over a km – it was brutal!  The roads really are great for training though and there is incredible variety to choose from.

Aside from riding, I’ve been doing a bit of work getting my TT bike set up for the year.  It’s almost all dialed in and I think it’s going to be a wicked ride!  I’ll get some pics of it and our new road bikes up sometime in the near future.

So next on the list for us is our team presentation on the 29th and 30th.  Essentially we do a mini training camp with a few good rides, and on one of the afternoons we have the presentation for the public.  Lots of pictures will be taken and all that jazz.  The weekend will also be a chance for the non-local riders to meet and get to know each other.  We’re 15 riders on the team in total, but only 5 or 6 live in Roanne, so I’ve yet to meet the others.

After that, we travel to the Pays Basque to get the racing underway.  We have a 10 day long camp there where there are races most days, with each rider doing 3 or 4 of them and training the rest of the days.  It should be beautiful but painful down there, as the roads either go up or down without a lot of transition in between.

That’s about all the news for the moment.  I should have a good idea of my spring racing calendar pretty soon, and I’ll post it in the schedule section of the site when I get everything sorted out.  Thanks for reading!