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 Gunnewijk reviews her busy week jam-packed with 'cross riding, mountain bike riding, clinics, motivation speeches, birthday parties and family gatherings. She apologizes for the blurry picture. Apparently she's just as fast on the ice as she is on the bike.
Well, here is part two of my off season!
Two weekends ago (18-19 November), I did some forest rides. On Saturday, I trained with my fellow Dutchies Annemiek van Vleuten and Roxanne Knetman close to my town. On Sunday, there was a ride close to my parents’ place. I was already in the area to visit them. I was there to celebrate the birthday of my old speedskating coach on Saturday evening. It was a busy weekend full of good times!
Last Tuesday, I had the first meeting and training session with the Ducth Selection at the training centre in Papendal. We began with strength training before heading out on the bikes. In the evening, I presented a workshop called ‘Mental Aspects in Sports’ in Zwolle for the regional talents from across all sorts of sports. It was cool to share my experiences and hopefully inspire those that are just beginning on the path I began many years ago. I hope they put to use some of what I said and maybe I’ll see some of these athletes at the Olympics in the future!
After the talk, it was time to cheer for the men’s Landstede volleyball team. They played in the Europacup against Ankara (Tur). I like to watch other sport games beyond cycling, so it was a fun night. Our screaming didn’t do much good because my team lost 0-3!
On Friday, my family got together to ice skate in Enschedel. There were uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces all together on the ice. We decided that the night time we skate together, we should ditch the ice rink and instead find a frozen lake. Hopefully the winter will wait for me, and we can do this after the Ladies Tour of Qatar!
This past weekend, again I rode in the forest as part of my training. This time I broke out my brand new mountain bike. It was an awesome ride on my Scott – a fun new challenge. In the last ten years, I’ve always ridden on the ‘cross bike in the winter. I love having different options this year.
On Sunday, I participated in the ‘Achterhoeks Wielerspektakel’ in Varsseveld. The event includes a youth mountain bike and BMC clinic, regional ‘cross racing and a ride through the forest. Many good pros and former pros assisted with the event. Jeroen Blijlevens, Robert Gesink, Steven Kruiswijk and I were all on hand to help with the various clinics and races and help raise funds for ‘Kanjers for Kaniers’ that devotes time and money to support projects for sport and games for local children.
Monday was a recovery day, and that meant a good massage and chat with Vincent, my Australian masseur. I also need to spend time today writing a poem for Sinterklass. It’s a Dutch Christmas tradition. I’ll tell you more about it when I’m back to report again next week.