In a way because of the knee injury, yes. I was very fortunate because in a career spanning over ten years I never missed a race and before the injury I never felt I'd retire at this age. With the time off though it made me see things differently and there were also the doctors who were telling me to take it easy with the knee just a bit longer.
So you can be a full-time father to your new daughter?
Yes I am a full-time father and that's quite a hard job I can tell you! We've got a nine week old daughter called Georgia. She's great and Toni and myself are really enjoying being with her and there's a real feeling that this is the next chapter of my life. It was hard seeing what Toni had to go through but the result is lovely, in some ways it was even harder than riding a race.
So we might be seeing a top woman rider in the future?
I just did the Troy Bayliss Classic dirt track race yesterday and there was a full grid in the woman's class and some of those girls were going hard, it was good to see.
To be honest I don't know why there aren't more female riders, maybe it's a strength thing. Generally women tend to be smaller than men and you'd have thought that at a physical level that should be good. Maybe it's just that they're not encouraged to get on a bike early on.
I'm certainly not going to push Georgia towards racing but I am going to encourage her to ride a bike. If she really did want to go into racing though, I'd support her.
As a person who has dedicated so much of his life to racing, did you find the idea of retiring scary?
I wouldn't say scary. Once I got the news that I'd done so much damage to my knee, I've got so many screws and fixings in there and there's so much soft tissue damage, the thought naturally came up that that could be the end of my career. It was when the doctors were telling me that I might never be able to bend it past 90 degrees that the real shock came. You never think that it'll all end so quickly, I think that was the main scary aspect.
After I'd had the operations and was going through rehabilitation to get walking again there was a long period when I could get over that shock and get used to the situation. It certainly wasn't an easy decision though.
My knee's pretty OK now, I've had three operations from a top knee surgeon in Barcelona and did physio for four months with a guy who works with the Barcelona football club and now I'm able to do a fair bit. I do a triathlon now and again for fun and it seems to hold up to that. I can also run but I have to be careful to limit that. It's good within reason but I'm still working on it with Yoga and training because there's so much stuff in the joint and if I don't do that the muscles waste away very quickly. Luckily I don't limp and it's fine for everyday use without too much pain.
Actually I've had quite a number of injuries and when I travel to cold or damp places I can feel the different screws and breaks aching and I can always feel when the weather changes. Even going to Melbourne can bring it on a bit.
Has your training and diet lifestyle totally changed, are you enjoying that freedom?
In a way yes but I still get up at 5.30 and go running or swimming or training in the ocean - we live right on the beach. I actually still do a couple of hours physical exercise per day and really enjoy it. I still challenge myself to go faster or longer though, that aspect never changes.