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 tells you about transitioning back to training following nearly a month off the bike.
I usually return to the bike after a break of three or four weeks. For me, this meant by early November, I was back on the bike. The length of time between a rider’s last race and his first week of training depends on how long that rider feels like he needs to rest. It’s a very individual thing. I know some riders that are back to training again already after only one week.
My third and fourth week away from formal training resemble the first week of my off season that I already described for you. The only difference is that by the fourth week, I’m starting to plan the specifics of my winter training. I make sure that my road bike and my mountain are ready. This allows me to start training without any mechanical problems. Also, during the fourth week, I usually go to the gym once or twice. The first gym session leaves the muscles sore for a couple days. Starting with the gym before the bike gives the body a chance to adapt a little bit.
This last week is characterized by my desire to start training again. I count down the days until I can get back on the bike. Having spent so much time on the bike, my body wants to start training after a period away – and this is a good sign. It means that I’m ready to get to work again.
The weather in Belgium can get really bad in the winter, so the more I want to get back on the bike, the better. I need the motivation to get out the door on the worst days. After a short period away, it’s not always fun having to think like a professional bike racer again, but this is balanced by my eagerness to body’s response to inactivity. Despite the sacrifices, I’m always looking forward to get my training under way. This year has been no exception.