In her second blog Lauretta Hanson writes about escaping Europe and returning to familiarity.
It’s the comfort of home, recognizable faces, everyday roads, and a regular routine. It’s something that I dearly miss when I am bounced continuously from race to race, country to country, and hotel to hotel. However, for the past few weeks, I have been relishing in the familiarity of my former base in Asheville, North Carolina, and it has breathed new life back into this tired body.
I spent six years living and racing in the USA before joining Trek-Segafredo this season, and when I arrived in Asheville three weeks ago, it felt like going home. I unpacked my suitcase, knowing that I wouldn’t have to cram my clothes back into it for an entire month! And with the first five days scheduled for rest, I was genuinely able to kick back and relax.
A little scheduled time off and boom! I was ready – even excited – to start training again.
My first week involved lots of time in coffee shops, dinners and catching up with friends, and basking in the general sense of freedom that comes with not having to plan my day around my bike. Like any job, riding every day can become tedious and overbearing. A little scheduled time off and boom! I was ready – even excited – to start training again.
I lived in Asheville for two years, and as I rolled out of the driveway, I didn’t need to consult Google maps or chart a route on my Garmin. The ride options were endless. The roads familiar. I knew the ones to roll, the ones to avoid, and after being away, I even appreciated those I once found dreary and monotonous. In the last weeks, I’ve ridden almost all of my favorites — enjoying the views, descents and even the climbs! The familiarity has rejuvenated me – each ride has been a reminder why I love what I do.
It has been four weeks since I last raced, and it will be another week before I pin a number again at the Tour of California. It’s a long time without racing, but I don’t mind. To be honest, I think I needed it. In my last post, I wrote about the importance of recovery; this is necessary not only for physical fatigue but, as in my case, also mental fatigue. The spring races were fun but very challenging, and by the end, I was running on fumes – physically and mentally.
In returning to Asheville, my training has been steadily building, getting harder and harder as I work towards the next goal, the Tour of California. I again feel the tired exhilaration that comes after putting in the hard miles – that runner’s high. For me, the familiarity of Asheville has been just what I needed. My spark has been reignited, my motivation is back, and I am ready to tackle whatever the season will throw at me next.
While I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone, sometimes you simply need to step back in.
Lauretta Hanson grew up in a small town in regional Victoria, Australia and started racing bikes at the age of eight. She now lives in Spain and races for one of the biggest women cycling teams in the world. This is her first year racing in Europe and she is learning to laugh, cry, and suffer a whole roller coaster of emotions, hoping one day this will feel like the norm.