Working holidays

Given the increasingly-congested UCI calendar, there may not be much of it left nowadays. But pretty clearly it’s the off-season for pro cyclists, well, the road variety of pro cyclists in any case.

Everywhere you look at the moment are videos, pics and stories of local riders hanging out with the top guys and gals, who’ve come home for a bit of R&R before 2014 starts in earnest. Richie Porte, for example, seemed to be everywhere last weekend in and around Sydney; does he have a twin brother, I wonder? (Be great for Aussie cycling if he did, of course!)

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Simon Gerrans says the off-season is his busiest time of the year.

On this very issue, I was lucky enough to catch up for a ride and chat with another Aussie who’s been rather omnipresent of late, Simon Gerrans, a few weeks ago down at Mt Buller. He said a lot of interesting things about a lot of interesting subjects. But one that really stuck in my mind was that the off season is easily his busiest time of the year. He’s still training of course, including an upcoming Orica-GreenEDGE team camp to get to know his new team-mates. But he’s also heavily involved with sponsor, media and fan commitments. Not to mention finding time to catch up with family and friends, of course, many of whom he doesn’t get to see for the bulk of the year as he’s based in Monte Carlo and travelling constantly.

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It might be the off-season, but WorldTour pros Nathan Haas, Koen de Koert and Jay McCarthy were still out riding and socialising with local riders (like Corporate Cycling Challenge ITT winner, Mark Keeffe) last weekend at Sydney Olympic Park.

Of course, riders like Gerrans and Porte have been around long enough to have a fair idea of how to best balance their responsibilities on and off the bike. But it can’t be easy trying to be all things to all people, especially on your ‘holidays’. Then again, it still beats a desk job.

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