September 12, 2007 — Two weeks ago, after a visit to the hospital in Hamburg that the team contracts to oversee our health, the doctors and I decided it was best to end my season. After struggling to find great form and ideal health after a long bout of pneumonia and dozens of tests to eliminate any other possible health concerns, the consensus among the doctors was that I just needed a good rest to let my immune system fully recover before I tackled another season. There wasn’t much racing left for me this season and the team feels next season is far more important than risking my long term health.
On the bike I have experienced a frustrating year, but thankfully life at home has been positive and has kept me from being depressed about not being able to compete, and do my job properly. Currently we are waiting for the imminent arrival or our second child.
I am riding my bike for fun a couple of times a week on the trails and on the road with friends. But just pedaling around in this relaxed fashion already has me thinking about next season. T-Mobile will change significantly with several new riders on the roster, notably my good friend George Hincapie. We enjoyed some great times at races together with US Postal and Discovery, and as we can motivate each other on the bike, I am happy to be racing with him again.
In Girona there is a growing community of cyclists with children. In the morning I train with other professionals in Girona and then spend the afternoons or evenings in the parks with them and their families while the kids run, run and run. The community has certainly grown and matured in the last five years and we have also become more entrenched here to the point where this is now ‘home’.
There are also a dozen or so new cycling residents coming to town as Slipstream will base virtually the entire team here to provide a permanent training camp environment for their riders to work and live in.
For the winter we will be based here in Spain, a change which I am looking forward to. For the next month I will rest as much as possible to build up my reserves before preparing for next season and before our next little fella is born.