Team Sky rider Ben Swift blogs exclusively for www.cyclingweekly.com
A rest day on a rainy day in Tuscany can be a boring day, but when you have a comfy sofa and a box full of TV series to work your way through it can be quite a nice day.
Luckily we don’t have too many rainy days out here, so for it to fall on a rest day is like magic. For one you don’t have to sit around sweating all day, as with the rain comes cooler temperatures, which is a nice relief. After a busy few weeks, and disturbed sleep thanks to jet lag, it’s nice to take your foot off the gas and totally relax.
After returning from California two weeks ago I have been like a zombie walking around. I thought I had cracked it on the very first day; I managed a big nine-hour sleep undisturbed on the first night. But then the jet lag kicked in and, just for good measure, stuck around.
It was hard getting to sleep as my body was in race mode, and then trying to get out of bed was like waking up for a 4am flight. It just wasn’t happening. I must have left my legs in California, as they defiantly weren’t with me for the first week, that’s for sure.
Slowly I got back into my rhythm, pulling myself out of bed earlier seemed to be the key, but my legs were still asleep for the first hour of each road ride. Once I had given myself a week to get over the travel and hit the reset button, I set about doing some proper training again.
I had a short visit to the UK where I managed to get out on the old stomping ground even though I wasn’t stomping that much. It’s what I needed: a good, hard day taking a bit of a beating from the guys whilst team-mate Russell Downing was in the pack in the little ring. That’s the ride that broke the seal and through my aching legs I could feel them coming back to life. Two more good days for this little three-day block and I felt I was back to where I left off.
Back to sunny Tuscany, or so I thought, as I was greeted with storm clouds, another three-day block was on the cards. To my pleasure I woke up to bright blue, sunny skies. Seeming to time it perfectly, I finished my rides in the sun and when I put my bike in the garage and got into my apartment it was well and truly throwing it down. Something very satisfying knowing you have just dodged a thunderstorm.
Sitting on my sofa with a good week in the legs, I feel more like the rider I left in California. Now it’s time to make the most of my day off, stick on another episode of Prison Break and put my feet up.