Welcome to the Off Season: Loes Gunnewijk Report #1

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 her own words, Loes tells you about her first six weeks post-World Championships. 

Well, the first week of training is doneski and it’s time to wake up from my ‘hibernation’! After the Worlds in Valkenburg I didn’t ride my bike for a few weeks and instead I did other things then cycling. So I had quite a long recovery time.

First I went on vacation with teammies Meli [Melissa Hoskins] and Spratty [Amanda Spratt] to the Greek Islands! We relaxed in the sun, saw the island on a quad, and watched beautiful sunset on Santorini as I restored my bruised ribs (leftover from a crash at Holland Ladies Tour). We did a really funny donkey ride tour to the top of Fira in Santorini. Spratty’s donkey looked like a drunkard. He walked from left to right and back left again, and he insisted on taking the first position. The donkeys that Mel and I rode only walked when it suited them.

Back home in Holland, I have visited many friends and family! During the season, I didn't see them a lot, so it was nice to spend some time with everyone. And like a real Dutchy, I went a few times to the indoor hall to ice skate.

At the end of October, I went to Curacao for the Amstel Gold Curacao Race (and some vacation)! The organisation invited pro-riders and many Dutch Olympic medal winners! We did a lot of fun stuff mostly in or on the water. There was jet skiing, riding on the banana boat and swimming with dolphins. I achieved my Padi (Scuba certification) during this time! It required three days of studying and practicing the skills in the swimming pool and open water. The last dive was to a shipwrecked boat and a coral reef to 18m depth! Awesome!

Coming home a week ago I started with training again. This gave my body a wake-up call, and it was a little bit in shock! I had to adjust not only to the training but also to the weather. I went from 30°C in Curacao to 5 °C in Holland.

Right now, there isn’t much power in the legs anymore, but my head is fresh and really looking forward to the next season. On the weekends I did two fun rides on the cyclocross bike in the forest. During the week, I put in two hours on the bike and went two times to the gym to get in some strength training! It’s never easy to return to training after a period away, but I’m ready for it.  

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