Simon Yates blog: Light-hearted Australia training camp has justified my decision to join Orica-GreenEdge
In the first instalment of his blog, Simon Yates talks life at Orica-GreenEdge and starring in a new video.
By Simon Yates
Last Updated: 21/02/14 6:06pm
I've turned professional since then - alongside my twin brother Adam - with the Australian team Orica-GreenEdge and throughout this season I'm going to be blogging about what it's like to be a first-year pro cyclist.
I'm fully expecting there to be a lot of highs and lows along the way and hopefully this column will give you an insight into this life in the saddle that I've chosen.
Adam and I are just ploughing on with training back home in Manchester at the moment. The weather hasn't been great - most of our rides have been absolutely freezing and we haven't had a dry day yet - but we keep getting out and haven't had to resort to the rollers yet.
We sometimes head to Cragg Vale actually, which the Tour de France goes over this year, so I'm hoping I might get the opportunity to impress my new team bosses with some local knowledge some time soon.
It's all a far cry from our training camp in Australia last month. Adam and I travelled out there for three weeks just before Christmas to get some miles under our belts in the sun. It was a great trip. It's the second time I've been out there so I knew what to expect from the climate.
We actually spent the first couple of days on a winery ride, which is not something you'll find every professional bike rider admitting to. We cycled out through vineyards during the days and then one night we had a wine-tasting session, which I'm not sure the nutritionists were too pleased about!
After that, we spent a few days in Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport, which was a really impressive complex, and then headed out to the hills for a week of hard miles.
Thankfully, riding with seasoned pros wasn't too much of a shock to the system. It didn't seem any harder than we have been used to before, but then again a lot of the more senior guys were only just getting back into training, so everyone was trying to get their legs back and looking to clock up steady miles rather than do hard efforts or anything like that.
The other riders and the staff seem like really nice people. They're all up for a laugh and, on first impressions, it seems that there's a really good atmosphere around the team.
We were expecting to have to go through some kind of initiation ceremony, but we had a lucky escape and managed to avoid one. There was lots of talk about it but it never really materialised. I'm still a bit wary, though, because we've got another training camp coming up, so there's plenty of time to get humiliated yet.
That's the thing about Orica-GreenEdge - it's a really good-humoured team, as some of you might have seen from their YouTube videos.
Adam and I got roped into the latest one, 12 Days of Christmas (below), which was posted online just as we were coming home.
The team wanted to do a video for Christmas, so the famous old song seemed like a good fit and myself and Adam ended up having a really big role as the "two British twins".
In total we had to film 11 little clips, but it didn't take too long. We came up with a few ideas and then just filmed them all one after the other. It was all great fun and it was actually a really good way to get to know everyone in the team and break the ice.
To be honest, though, when it came to banter, the Ashes was a pretty constant theme as well. Adam and I got hammered! And we don't even like cricket that much! All the Aussies were loving it and we were just sitting ducks. Typical that England did that badly just when we were having our first camp with the team. Hopefully we'll get our own back next time.
All that said, it's not as if there are guys in the team with big egos or anything like that. I couldn't say "him and him are the real characters" - everyone is just really relaxed and jovial, which is one of the reasons we wanted to sign for them in the first place. The camp really justified our decision.
As for the racing, my season is going to start at the Challenge Mallorca in February, which is a collection of four one-day races. I'm heading out for a training camp prior to it and then it's down to business.
Time to race
From there onwards the races come thick and fast, although I don't want to say too much at this stage which ones I'm down to do because I know all too well that things can change really quickly in this sport.
One thing for sure is that I will be racing the hillier races, given the results I got last year at races like the Tour de l'Avenir and the Tour of Britain.
I'm pleased with my condition going into the season. We put in a lot of hours and a lot of miles in Australia and that has placed us in a really strong position.
Hopefully it will be a really successful season and I'll look forward to sharing my experiences with you.
Visit Simon's website: www.simon-yates.com