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Michael Woods to Start 2016 Tour Down Under 2016 on Jan. 16

by John Symon

January 06, 2016 (Adelaide, Australia) – The first race of the UCI WorldTour calendar is the Santos Tour Down Under from January 19-24; unofficially two Canadians will be part of the peloton there. Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo) and Mike Woods (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) are the two Canucks. The new Cannondale recruit, Woods, is now riding for Hesjedal’s former team.

Woods on Libby Hill  ©  Peter Kraiker

Canadian riders typically have to deal with culture shock when in European-based teams, but Woods is also dealing with extreme temperature shock. Today, Environment Canada is issuing weather warnings about wind chills of -30°C in his hometown of Ottawa, but on Dec. 30, Woods Tweeted a photo of his Garmin bike computer registering a temperature of +51.6°C. The text of his Tweet read: “That’s not Fahrenheit.”

Michael Woods training in desert heat - 51C  ©  courtesy of Michael Woods

We emailed Woods who responded: “I never actually rode in that (51.6°C) heat, I just stopped for a coffee, and left my bike computer on in the sun. When I finished my flat white, and went to grab the bike, that is the temp the Garmin was reading…” He continued to say that temperatures have been from 37-46°C while he is riding and getting “heat-adapted.”

“The key to riding in this type of heat is wearing lots of sunscreen, hydrating a ton, and scaling back your efforts/expectation. It is actually pretty similar to training at altitude. You just have to listen to your body, and not put any pressure on yourself to put out the same numbers as back home…”

Mike Woods  ©  Peter Kraiker

We asked about the main challenges, apart from the heat. Woods responded to say: “From a GC perspective there are going to be two very important days; stage 3 and 5. Both feature some short, but very tough climbs. The other factor that I think could play a big role in any stage is the wind. Because we are so close to the ocean, it can get very windy here. There are also areas that are very open, and if the wind is blowing in the right direction crosswinds could lead to a splitting up of the field.”

“So far they have been fantastic,” Woods replied when asked about his new team. “I have had great communication with the team, and excellent support. During our team camp I got a lot of great feedback from our DS’ concerning how to prepare for this race. I have already had some great guidance from our team nutritionist that I think is going to play a big role in my performance this year. Finally, the gear we are wearing (Castelli clothes, Mavic shoes, and Poc helmets and glasses) is awesome, and the bike I have been training on (Cannondale Supersix Evo) is wicked.”

Michael Woods gives us a sneak peek at his new Cannondale-Garmin team gear  ©  courtesy of Michael Woods

We also asked what he misses the most about his hometown:

“If I wasn’t a cyclist, I would love winter. When I was working, and between running and cycling, I did a lot of downhill and cross country (XC) skiing, I also played hockey with a group of cyclists on Friday mornings. This is something that I really enjoyed, but due to the risk of injury and the constraints of training, I have had to really step back from these activities. This year, for the 4 days that I was home in December, I did not see a patch of snow, which was very weird, but I really did enjoy it, as I was able to get a solid long ride in on Dec 24th, and even a mountain bike ride in the day I flew to Australia (on the 26th). So, it is hard to say if I really missed anything this year, however I do, in general, miss a good solid hike/XC ski in the snow around Christmas time, otherwise, it just does not feel like the holidays.”

Pedal wishes both Canadians good luck in the Tour Down Under!

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