After my first weekend of racing the road for the year all i can say is, "man this place is cold". I am staying in a small town called Merced and we raced near by in Fresno this week just passed. We have already seen rain and snow and sleet and hail and sun and wind......not sure that leaves much to come......more sun i hope though.
The racing itsself was more of a warm up for me. I have not done any road racing for a fairly long period, i think since Tour of Southland, so i was using this weekend just to get my bike position sorted and get a feel for racing in the US again. I started on a bad foot with the management, when i arrived and pretty quickly realised that the bike they had organised me was a size too big. Its all sorted now, but its never good to get here and just say.....yeah its nice....but nah its too big. Especially when they have gone to the effort of organising me one with a special pain job for the crits....but of course its in the larger size. Ill have to post a picture of the bikes on my next entry....havnt got any on me at the moment....but the Ridley's are sweet.
So the race.....the time trial was supposed to be a hill climb which was changed last minute becasue of snow for a flat one. So with no time trial bikes yet we had very little chance. I just rode the 27km nearly as slow as possible, sat on some guy for a while...it was a fun start....i was nearly 10 mins down by the finish....not bad.
The road race was on a flat 25km course....8 laps....200km for my first road race in 4 months, talk about building into it. I actually felt half decent for the majority of it, but when it started to sleet with 1 lap to go i pulled the pin in the feed zone to avoid a case of mind hypothermia. A bit soft i guess...but im just warming into it. Its hard when you come from 40 degrees in Aus to 40 degrees in the US (only one is celcius and the other is farenheit).
The crit was a bit more to my liking but after getting shoved out of position with 3 laps to go i spent too long fighting the mind and ended up sitting up around the final bend. But still my legs felt good and its amazing what the national title does for your respect in the bunch. The signs i believe are good for the next few weeks.....Redlands is my major focus in terms of racing well.
So my new team mates are a great bunch of guys. Of the 5 new guys in the line up 3 i had never met. But these boys are power houses. The 2 King brothers and Zirbel are big units and add strength and size to our lead out train. Looking at the list we have this year and feeling my form and tactics have improved since last year im really looking forward to making a big impact on the US scene this year. While we are still slightly behind some of the other teams in terms of equiptment, due to the last minute signing of Priority Health as our key sponsor we still have some cool stuff we are cruising around in.
This is a picture of our nice looking team van. Its a pretty sweet looking paint job and the trailer and the car compliment it nicely.
Kicking back in our house in Merced with some of the boys. Frank Overton (coach), Glen Mitchell and me. Its pretty cramped but it works for the budget.
The only nice day we've had so far, its still long sleaves and leg warmers though......sunny but freezing. Hows all our matching kit? What a unit we look like....hahahaha
Have a look how white i look....a lot of bleach has gone into this outfit (thanks for the knicks sweetie). I cant believe how filthy my facial hair looks. Why didnt anyone tell me i looked that bad?
So i still miss home big time at the moment. A little bummed that i am missing out on watch the Comm Games in general, but more that i wont be able to watch Kate defend her title. Feel like im missing the pinacle of what i have watched her prepare for. I was wondering around the supermarket last night like a lost sole.....its a bit depressing when you do a shop and the groceries have to stay in their plastic bags and fit into a suitcase. Oh well, things should improve when we base ourselves out in Michigan in 2 weeks time. Im looking forward to catching up with Bob soon, he just won a big sailing race this weekend.
Oh at the end of each blog i will now include a MENZIE'S WATCH....its just a little dedication to a mate who isnt on my team anymore but i still think he should be included.............
Menzies after finishing 4th in the TT on Friday and dropped himself in the road race with a lap to go and then snapped his chain near the end of the crit..... Funny stuff......keep up the good work Karl.......plus he looks fat in the health net knicks.....