Training in a deserted world: Diary of a quarantined cyclist

Jacopo Guarnieri is a WorldTour rider for Groupama-FDJ and columnist. Based in a town 100 kilometres south of the Italian city of Milan, he is documenting his experience since quarantine began on March 8.

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March 20
After a couple of days disconnected from the whole cycling world, I started training again. Without a real target: we still don’t know when we will return to racing, so it’s better to keep the body moving rather than completely stop.

I went out on Sunday lunchtime, a time when I normally encounter a few cars and some hobby cyclists. But this time, it was different, a vast emptiness. Every town I rode through, the streets were totally deserted.

In the middle of nowhere, a military ambulance drove by. Have I seen too many movies? It seemed to be I was in an apocalypse film as the last man on earth. The protagonist who wakes up in the morning and no longer finds anyone!

Milan-Sanremo 2017. A scene we won’t be seeing this weekend

Although these new rhythms of life are not so far from those of the average pro, at least in certain periods of the year (go training, do a little shopping if you need and rest), I am starting to get bored. Today, I opened my own small bakery inside my house. Then I cut my hair.

There are still many days till the end of all this, but how many? How many times can I cut my hair? How many more baguettes can I perfect in the oven? Plus, I have two bathrooms but only one kitchen to clean.

It could be a good time to start reading “that beautiful but demanding book, available only in English” that I never started. And who knows how many Flemish lessons I could find online?

No Poggio for old (and young) men

It’s difficult to keep focused on training. Knowing when the season will start again, or at least is supposed to start again, will help: having a date in mind that keep you working hard. But as for now – well, we don’t have one, like everyone else – sportsman or not – so a lack of motivation is normal.

I’m telling myself to take it easy, like it’s the early off-season. Last year was stop and go for me because of injuries and health problems. I don’t wanna say I’m used to it, but I got on with training just fine.  

I talked with some of my colleagues and they’re doing fine, just like me. A pause like this is something we have all been through during our careers, for one reason or another. We know how to deal with it. This time the reasons are something different and exceptional, but the reaction we need to have is the same. And I have no doubt we will face this as we should and be ready when it’s time to pin a number on again.

Jacopo’s past entries
March 13: The waiting game – reflections on the UAE Tour and life under quarantine

Read more Rouleur articles by Groupama-FDJ pro cyclist Jacopo Guarnieri’s here


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