Even though I have already been in California for three days, I don’t quite feel that I have fully arrived yet. The nine hour time difference between the Western United States and Switzerland is indeed tough to get used to. The only advantage at the moment is that I don’t have trouble waking up in the morning since I can’t sleep anyways! So I had no trouble being ready for the 7am call for the medical tests!
Starting my 14th seasons as a professional I have been around the block a few times but never before have I had to undergo tests quite as extensive as the ones I had at the Napa Valley Hospital. I had to increase my running intensity several levels on a treadmill. Not only was I not used to it, but it was also really hard. The level of difficulty though made me even happier with my results. The evaluation showed that I was still able to post the best values. The cardio specialist Dr. Wong said that with my values, I could continue at the highest levels of cycling for the next ten years. I am not thinking so far ahead at the moment. First, we enjoyed a three hour ride in the California sun with my team mates, followed by a then well-deserved massage. In the evening we had our first team meeting where the philosophy and goals for the 2009 season were presented. I have to say that my first impressions of my new team are very positive. We comfortably rounded off a long and busy day with a relaxing Italian dinner.
All in all, I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks here in Santa Rosa. I am convinced that this is the ideal place for us to form an athletic and interpersonal base here which will hold us in good stead throughout the season. And if the rest of the season goes as well as this first day has started, then I will be very pleased because I feel that with my top-notch medical examination, I have my first victory of the season in the bag!
Photo courtesy of BMC Racing Team