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, Jens Keukeleire describes the first week of his off season -- which began on the train home from his final race of the year.
Paris-Tour ended in early October and my 'off season' already started that evening. It is a long way from Tours back home in Bruges, Belgium. The easiest way for me to get home was to take the train to Lille. From there my girlfriend would pick me up for the last 40 minutes back to Bruges.
I was with several riders on that train and for the most of us this was our last race, so the fun began on the train ride home. I could feel that there was another atmosphere immediately. A lot of us enjoyed a couple of beers. They taste especially good after a long period without. Then after the train ride, I made a rendez-vous with some other Belgian riders to go out and have a dinner that night. So the first night, a couple of hours after the finish of the last race, my off season was already underway.
I always try to keep a bit busy the first three to five days after my final race. If the weather is good, I go out for a small ride with some friends, but nothing more. That first week for me is all about catching up with friends and family who I didn't see for a long time because of my race schedule. This week consists mostly of going out for dinner and enjoying some of the good beers Belgium has to offer.
This period is also an excellent time to have a fan club night. This is one of the things that I really enjoy doing because these are the people that come to a lot of races. They support me no matter what, and if I can give them something back, I am more than happy to do it. Days (nights) like this are always a lot of fun!
This was, more or less, the start of my off-season.