Sunday, January 25, 2015


After finishing our latest training camp in Altea, in Southern Spain, my team mate, Scott and I headed back to Barcelona to continue our preparation for the upcoming season. Scott is from New Zealand so we have been fortunate enough to be able to train in the warmth of the Southern Hemisphere while the European riders battled with the cold.

Part of this preparation is to drop the extra kilograms that may have been put on during Christmas and the off-season. Some are better at this than others and Scott has returned from off season at not only his race weight, but probably a little too lean (which I will explain shortly). Personally, I have a little work to do but then again, it is a long season ahead.

Whilst at training camp in Altea, it was cold, but not too cold. We could still train quite comfortably and there were even days where we could ride in just shorts and a jersey.
The last week here in Barcelona has been a little different. The sun has been hidden behind the clouds and rain has threatened on several days, so the temperature has been far less than ideal.

On our second ride here, I took Scott on what was planned to be a relatively short, easy loop. The sun was ducking in and out of the clouds and as we approached the farthest point of the ride, a heavy mist set in and my Garmin said that the temperature dropped down to 1ᵒC. I was cold, but not that cold so I didn’t think Scott would be any worse as he was wearing several more layers than me. We descended down a mountain and pulled up outside a café that looked closed.

My hands and feet were numb but other than that, I was okay. Scott was a totally different story. He pulled up shivering with a look of grimace on his face and runny nose. He struggled to unclip from his bike and could barely talk. He was cold. Hypothermic cold. Being lean has many benefits when riding a bike uphill, but it doesn’t help when you are going downhill in freezing conditions. We were a long way from the next town and I honestly did not know what I was going to do. One look at Scott and there was no way that he could keep riding.

I had pretty much concluded that I was going to have to hug Scott and share my body warmth with him. As I reached out to hug him, fortunately, two people exited the café that I assumed was closed. We rushed inside and I ordered him a warm drink.

The café owner could see that Scott was in trouble and although she did not speak English, she made gestures to drink his coffee and warm up. Scott struggled to move and it was at this point that the lady became his Spanish mother. She placed two heaters in front of Scott and turned them up high. She then fetched him a jacket, a blanket, a beanie and a neck warmer and rubbed his back. She made gestures about calling an ambulance but Scott slowly warmed up and assured her that he was okay.

Eventually, we were able to laugh at the situation. The lady asked if I was okay and I said I was fine, and it was only Scott that was feeling the cold. She laughed and lifted up her pinkie finger whilst pointing at Scott. She then flexed her muscles like hulk and pointed at me. I don’t need to speak Spanish to understand what she was saying.

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