Welcome to the off season. We’ve rounded up an assortment of ORICA-GreenEDGE and ORICA-AIS riders to tell you about how they spend the ever-diminishing months without races. In his own words, Christian Meier kickstarts our off-season series from Thailand.
Where to begin? After a hard calendar of racing and training, the off season is always a welcome change of pace. This period is vital for recovering from the year’s work. For many of us this means no bike, a plane trip home or somewhere we can relax, a lot of sleep, and a bit of comfort food.
My wife and I decided to spend our vacation time in the Philippines, flying there straight after the final race of the year, Japan Cup. We enjoyed a great two weeks of good food, some beach time and of course a few piña coladas. We finished our vacation by flying from the Philippines to Bangkok where we spent the third week exploring Thailand's spas (my favourite being the hot/cold plunge pools).
Which brings us to now, early November. We decided to head up north, to the city of Chiang Mai. I had heard in the past that cycling here is quite prominent and the riding was very good so I thought I'd switch in the narrow cobbled streets of Girona to the humid, lush mountains in Southeast Asia.
At this point, I have only done two rides on the bike, with one day in the gym, and I have to say, the body really fights to keep you in the ‘relax-and-do-nothing-phase’. Waking up this morning I was sore, as the muscles I use most all of the year have been given three weeks of the good life!
The first couple days after returning to training can be a shock. It doesn’t always feel good to get the legs going again but it always comes back pretty quickly. Like they say, ‘it’s like riding a bicycle.’
I am very excited to test out some of the routes here in Chaing Mai. I have connected with a local bike club and people here are very passionate about cycling. I am already pleasantly surprised, and I think these next few weeks will be a very memorable riding experience.
Chiang Mai is home to one of the largest mountains in Thailand. It’s called Doi Inthaon, and its paved peak is at 2600 meters. I am hoping to tackle this climb in the coming weeks.
I hope to write next week about the Thai food I am using to fuel my training, and I anticipate having some photos of the roads I plan to explore.