It’s quite amazing how a five or six-hour ride when you’re in those last stages of the Giro feels like absolutely nothing. Then you have a week off the bike, come back and you’re having trouble finishing two hours. It’s funny how the body almost goes into shut-down mode. The Tour of Austria serves as a fun wake-up call.
I really want to do the Vuelta. It sounds like a really fun race with the same intensity of a Grand Tour. From what all the guys tell me, they have more fun at the Vuelta than they do at the others. It’s not that they take it less seriously, it’s just a different time of year and the weather seems to favour more smiles too.
My life has been so structured for the past two months — and not from my own discipline but that of the team. To be honest, coming home all of a sudden, you’ve actually got to think. You’re not getting an email at nine o’clock at night telling you what the next day is going to hold. It is an adjustment and I think every guy feels it.
Being on the road is so insular! At dinner every night we’re bitching about things that happened in the race, or talking about something that has happened in your immediate sphere.
There was a point at the Giro where one of our directors, Robbie Hunter, sat down and said, “Does anyone know what’s happening in the real world? Has anything big happened?” We all looked at each other and went, “I have no idea.” The next night we spoke about world events. It was a good laugh when we realised we had all turned off.
There is no job in the world that has got a distinction between social and work. If you’re not social in your work you’re probably not very good at it. Maybe there’s times when I’m too social in my work and too work in my social. My best friends are the ones I don’t have to talk bikes with.
I play a lot of guitar. A few months ago I was given one of the original Nintendo game consoles, made before the 64 model, it was built in like 1984. It had pretty basic games and that’s about as far as I can get. I get bored with computer games. I can’t focus for long enough to actually get good at it.
I love going to the beach and rivers around my base in Girona when I get a chance to. I switch off when I’m outdoors, but that too is a bit of a conflict when it comes to recovering well on the bike. You get on the bike the day after sitting on the beach and have to take the day off again because you’ve cooked yourself senseless!