The Spring classics and the new Ardenne Women’s WorldTour events are already a distant memory.
After Fleche, I had to listen to how my body was feeling, and although disappointed, I left my team earlier than planned and didn’t race the first edition of the women’s Liege Bastogne Liege. It has felt like a really long Spring season, with lots of mental and physical energy left on the road when racing and training. In the Ardennes, my body was telling me: “Hey Elena, I don’t have power anymore and I am not enjoying suffering on the bike that much”.
Once at home, I didn’t do anything special – I didn’t go on holiday or to a beautiful spa – I just did what all professional cyclists love to do when we need to recover. I stayed at home, enjoyed family life, my dog, some nice vespa rides around sunny Verona with my boyfriend, late Italian breakfasts and reunions with friends. Riding my bike was not part of my recovery plan, I am not the kind of girl who likes to go running or cycling when I have the opportunity to take a week off.
Since I became a professional cyclist in 2011, May has always been a key point in the season for me. I love to spend most of the month in Livigno, not only because of the scientific benefits that altitude can bring, but especially because it’s quite a paradise for cyclists, with nice roads, beautiful climbs, and a lovely city centre that offers cafes and shops. I have travelled back again this year to refresh and find back some good feelings on my bike.
My standard day here consists of waking up, preparing a substantial breakfast and enjoying a good Italian espresso. I then go training along the valley or up and down the climbs, get back in for a late lunch before turning on the TV and following the last kms of Giro d’Italia. Sometimes I meet some friends in the city centre for a coffee or, when my boyfriend and my parents come to visit me, I try to find some energy after training to join them for a walk or for some shopping. I do believe that altitude training is beneficial, but most of all I do believe in a healthy mind and being in a place that makes you think: “Wow, I am so lucky, I’m doing the coolest job in the world”.
I really think that also this year, Livigno will be my key for a satisfying and happy second chapter of 2017. Password: Refresh!