Hard times and sunny roads!

Conor starts 2015 early

The winter is a hard time for any cycling fan; with little racing and disgusting weather it’s easy to lose the faith. Yes, there is track racing and that frolicking they do in the mud, but we all know where the real excitement lies…

Well fear not young warriors because the road-racing season is rapidly approaching and luckily for you I will be writing about my adventures on/off the bike all over again! I hear your cries of ecstatic jubilation and I thank you. The fan mail I have received throughout my brief hiatus from the cycling blog scene has been numerous and whilst it has been tough to reply to everyone, I hope the news of my return comes as some small consolation to my sluggish responses. Also, whilst on the topic, to the lady who repeatedly sends me underwear I must confess your advances are beginning to cross lines.

The months of October and November have, quite frankly, been brilliant. After the Worlds and packing my Belgium life away in boxes for the umpteenth time, I arrived home and duly realised that I was completely shattered. Without exaggeration I spent a good week sleeping about 14 hours a night and slowly coaxing myself back to life.

I finally woke from this regenerative slumber and felt bloody fantastic, ready to conquer the world once more. The following weeks contained mixtures of enjoyable evenings with friends, a trip to Paris, idle afternoons drinking coffee and even a spot of surfing. It was excellent to catch up with everyone I have missed so much during the year and the rest was much needed.

The longer I spent away from the bike, the more the motivation to get things right and work hard towards 2015 has increased.

This winter I have been working a lot more closely with my coach, Kristof de Kegel. Last year I learnt a lot about what happens when you overdo things, I look back at all the sicknesses I suffered at the start of 2014 and in hindsight I contribute this to overtraining. So this winter I feel I have got a good training structure in place, under the watchful eye of Kristof. I’m also doing a lot more strength and core work in the gym, a factor I feel I have greatly underestimated in recent years.

Another aspect that I am working hard on is my diet, for the last month I have been following the food plan of Kjell de Potter, my nutritionist and all round top bloke. There isn’t really any big secrets, just eating the right food at the right times and sticking to the plan. Whilst I have been noticeably hungrier than Kjell’s plan I followed in the summer, so far I have stuck to it. Although, that is discounting the restaurant I went to last week, which brought out a BBQ rib ‘platter’ which must have been sent from the gods.

All in all I’m feeling quite excited about next year and I believe I have everything at my disposal to achieve what I want; the rest is up to me! I will once again be riding for An Post – ChainReaction, I now feel quite settled in the team, used to my surroundings there and the race programme is awesome. It feels great to have another bite of the cherry with them and I am just excited to see what I can do next year and get going again.

I am currently mid-air on my way to the first week long, team-training camp in Calpe. After that I will spend most of my winter near Valencia in a room I have rented from a Spanish family. I’ll keep writing about everything and I’m sure a few interesting stories will emerge. If they don’t, well, I’ll just have to describe the warm Spanish climate in elaborate detail.