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. Christian Meier is back to tell you, in his own words, about his second week of training in northern Thailand.
So far so good. I have been able to do some really cool rides in the mountains and through the flatter farming plains.
The weather here is very intense. Mid-day temperatures reaches upwards of 40°C, so leaving a bit earlier in the morning ahead of the heat has become a good schedule. The temperature becomes almost unbearable from 1-4pm, which is the perfect time to be enjoying a shady lunch or a cheap-as-chips massage.
With the heat being so intense, hydration becomes imperative. Queue natures most hydrating, natural electrolyte filled beverage -- the coconut. The fruit grows here like a weed and can be bought at every food stand in Thailand. They sell the whole coconut or you can buy just the coconut water, which they sell in a small plastic bag. Fresh coconut water spoils surprisingly fast and won't last more then two days in the fridge, so Amber has gotten in the habit of picking up a couple bags on her way back from her morning meditation classes and I have them just in time for my ride. As a bonus, she is exceptionally calm post-mediation when she hands over my drink.
Chiang Mai has an amazing vegetarian and organic scene that has made eating lunches and dinners very enjoyable. There is no shortage of fresh pressed juices, raw salads and hearty dips -- all for just dollars a meal. Thailand’s main staple is rice, so without any forethought, I realize I have gone two weeks almost gluten free. Being on the road so often, I eat what is provided by the hotels and restaurant. A lot of the time pasta or bread is the main carbohydrate option, so having a few weeks to reset the system off of a main element is refreshing.
Of course, it is still the off season and we are taking advantage of being in such a cool country. Taking Thai cooking classes on off days, exploring the night markets and enjoying some Thai boxing. We are planning a small trip to the northern town of Pai next week, situated on the border of Burma deep in the mountains. The training should prove very good while staying in teak bungalows and taking in the rice field views from every location.