After a couple months of preparation it’s time to get this 2016 season underway. This year my season starts at Tour of Qatar. This will be my first time racing Tour of Qatar. I’ve heard plenty of war and horror stories about this race. If you’ve seen pictures you can tell the race blows apart every day due to cross winds. There’s no such thing as easing into the season but sometimes you can hide. In Qatar there is no where to hide.
Are you ready? I get asked this often before the first race of the season. Many of you know I live in a very opposite climate to Qatar. The Michigan winter has been pretty tame for the most part but winter and snow are not friends to a professional road racer. Going into the first race of the year is always tough to know where the body and form will be. It’s a long season so I prepare physically and mentally the best I can and then give it everything. If it goes well then great! If it goes bad there’s a lot more racing to come. I’ve had fun preparing for the season with fat bike rides, nights rides, and very few trainer rides. The mental freshness is important heading into a long season. Even if I suffer a little in the fist few races it was worth not pounding out crazy hours on the trainer.
How do you deal with the heat coming from Michigan? This is another question I get asked a lot. Luckily the temperatures don’t look too bad but it will be an adjustment. That’s not the only adjustment we’ll be dealing with. Usually we get in a few days ahead of the race. After 27 hours of travel and an 8-hour time change we’ll have one day before we start racing. It’ll be crucial to hydrate as much as possible while flying. We’ll be in the Middle East for about 3 weeks. After the Tour of Qatar we stay and Race Tour of Oman. Oman will be more hilly which is a race that riders like Contador and Froome do well at where Qatar is more for the Classics riders like Boonen and Cancellara. A lot of the guys who want to be flying at the classics use these races as preparation. I’m not sure of exact schedule yet I but these races will get the legs going for the upcoming season.