Every place we visit has something special. I love experiencing the different cultures. I love trying different restaurants. That’s the biggest advantage we’ve got as cyclists… we ride so much so we get to eat so much. During the off-season, I gained so much weight and thought it’s going to be so hard to lose it but as soon as training started, the weight disappeared.
I am still working on my Spanish but there are so many different dialects. With one person, I’ll understand 80% of what they’re saying then with the next guy I can’t identify a word. I’m better at listening. My speaking is at a very basic level. I have to pre-prepare a sentence when I go somewhere, haha. I can’t think on the spot and find it easier to listen when two people are speaking then I don’t feel intimidated. The problem with the open culture is everyone there wants to learn English, they just want to speak English to me when I want to speak Spanish.
As we start 2019, I want to take a moment to be grateful for what I get to do for a living. The bicycle has brought me so much. I was reminded of it during our training camp in Cape Town. We got to spend some time with the Qhubeka Charity. Just like me, the bike takes Qhubeka bicycle recipients places. I appreciated our time with the project. Any experience to give something back is nice. You see the impact first-hand and think you should do it more often. Supporting the charity and making a difference is a bonus of riding for the team. It’s a really good experience. It gives you perspective. We’re so far removed, living a different lifestyle that it’s easy to lose track of what others go through in life.
So before the year gets too crazy when the racing calendar takes off, this is a quick time to pause and be thankful.