Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NOTHING MUCH TO TALK ABOUT....

The last 2 weeks, although they have seen me in Sydney to watch a world cup and beginning my training again for a new season, have not had a lot of interesting stories arise that are worthy of blog reports....instead i have been putting in some solid and solo km's to build the base that will hopefully carry me through the remainder of my season in good form. So far so good. My legs are still hairy, after 5+ weeks of no shaving, but i feel good on the bike and am looking forward to opening myself up a little this weekend for the Scott Peoples memorial race in Sheparton. For those of you who dont remember or are new to my blog, please refresh your memories about this brilliant kid who was taken from us in not so brilliant circumstances .....
http://richardengland.blogspot.com/2006/12/tribute-to-scott-peoples.html
I still think about Scott while i ride and i similarly still have the last text message he sent me saved in my phone.....His death had a tremendous impact on my thoughts about life and cycling, all of which helps to motivate me in following my passion and i look forward to honouring his memory this weekend.

RETURNING HOME TO A WAR ZONE...
After talking in my last post about bailing out my girlfriends basement, i got a "fun" surprise when i came home from Sydney yesterday to find half of my carpet torn up and an industrial size fan drying underneath. Apparently it rained in Melbourne on Monday....apparently it rained a lot.....

Our house was not spared and my sister, Grace and Mum were all outside fighting a loosing battle as the rain came down hard and fast and started to invade the inside of our house. At the end of the day, the damage sustained was not too bad, more of an annoyance than anything else. All my bedroom furniture is in the center of the room and im sharing bed space with objects that used to be on my floor....but ill survive.

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST...
Nothing else has really happened...but i do want to pass mention that i backed the winning team for the election. My man, K Rudd, got up and has already started kicking some ass in his first 2 days in office....i watched so much election coverage this year in the lead up and i have to say to my readers...i really love the country we live in. I love going to vote. I love looking at all the people who have to go to their local primary school and fill in how they think the country should be handled. It kicks ass over the American system, where by you can vote if you want, but you can also be a bum and take no interest. Just something about looking at the faces in and around the polling booths made me feel a sense of pride to be an Australian...cant explain it really.

So only a short jot this week for you all. Keep your eyes open for me on the Melbourne roads this week before i head back to Sydney for the fortnight before Christmas....and even though it is now politically incorrect to lay it down like this....HO HO HO HO...enjoy the Christmas build up. (can you believe Santa cant say HO anymore.....what a joke.....i think all the girls that sleep around should take a long hard look at the children and think about what their actions are doing to them.....after all, most of the children are probably theirs).

One last thing that does deserve a mention...Sydney World Cup madison.... it has to be pretty rare for a guy to cheer for his girlfriends ex-boyfriend, but that is exactly what i did when i watched the race. It was by far the best, most entertaining madison i have ever seen and was won by the Dutch combo of Jens Mouris (Kate's ex) and Peter Schep (my, now, favourite endurance track athlete) with only 300m to go. They rode unbelievable. For those who were there to witness it....youre very lucky and those who werent....well....sucked in....it was a special race.

Ok...thats it....Later

Saturday, November 17, 2007

WORKIN' FOR DA MAN

WORKING MY RECOVERY DAYS AWAY....

I did my first bit of real work in years this week.....funny thing was, it was for Kate's old man. The pressure was on...If i screwed it up, who knows what the consequences could have been. Needless to say i pushed myself to accomplish the task in the minimal possible time and i think i exceeded expectation. It was actually a bit of fun, just kicking it in the basement of Rob's offices with a lot of paperwork and a few tunes playing through my computer. Not a bad way to be re-introduced into the work force...even if it was only for 2 days.



RUNNING BUCKETS (x2).....

Lots of rain in Sydney late last week....all i will say is that if our water catchments were as effective as the Bate's basement, then water restrictions, as we know them, would not even cause a problem. It was a solid 2 hrs of running water filled buckets up the stairs and a true family effort to clean it out.



This was also made an interesting week after Kate suffered from a virus or some sort of food poisoning....she spent 3 days absolutely wiped off the planet and i was quickly thrust into running vomit buckets from beside the bed to the point of empty in the toilet....It was an interesting role, that i would normally struggle with, being a sympathetic vomiter, but i played the supportive boyfriend well i thought. Held her hair back, rubbed her back....all the stuff that real men are made of.



AUSTRALIAN CYCLING...

OCEANIAS.......

A mixed week for me. I have watched some great results and times done in the, almost useless, Oceania Championships. The competition is great....until you get about 5 deep in the field....but it is important for some of the boys for worlds and Olympic selection and i have enjoyed seeing some of the success. Most noticeably, Phil Thaux continual progression in the individual pursuit....he is still on the way up and it doesn't make any difference what the competition is like, when you re fast in the IP, you re fast in the IP. Also a shout out to Cam Meyer taking the points title. There is some pressure on the young gun this summer and so far he hasn't put a foot wrong. It is going to be an interesting little battle between Cam and Renshaw for the Beijing spot and i look forward to being track side in the Sydney World Cup, to watch round 1 in 2 weeks.



REVOLUTION....

World class cycling in Melbourne is coming next weekend. Anyone who enjoys watching the best of the best on the track, i encourage you all to get down to Vodafone Arena next Sat night and soak in what track cycling can and should be all about. I'm looking forward to taking up my first try at being a spectator.....it may be sad, but I'm looking forward to criticising from over the fence. But if you re a cycling fan, support our best talent and get down there....



QUESTION: Why an appetite suppressant when your body fat is 3%?

It is always a shame when an Australian goes positive for anything, in any sport. But when its a cyclist, who me and my team have had to race against and loose to all year, it hurts all the more. He handled it well...chose to go down the "I'm sorry line", not the "I'm going to fight it" direction, which will probably serve him best when it comes to his punishment.....but my belief as to why he chose this line of defence will remain my opinion...I'm not going to fully slag any one....but let me say, on behalf of my team and in particular BJM (who finished 2nd to him on so many occasions this season), I'm not disappointed to be a fan of the shadow that will now follow him and his results.



That's it for me this week. I'm back to Melbourne tomorrow to re-introduce myself with my tredley and get back into some training. Will see some of my mate out on the road and hope to see all of my Melbourne readers in at Vodafone next Sat.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

THIS WEEK....BORING...BUT HERE IT IS

BECAUSE NO RIDING, DOESN'T MEAN NO TRAINING







I am being reasonably lazy, but not all together lazy. Training has started again. I am off the bike for another 2 weeks, but this doesn't mean that i all together go to sleep. I have to keep my body working, have to try and improve some of my weaknesses and this is the start of that push and that desire. It will start easy, but the intensity and volume will grow in the coming weeks and i hope that the pay offs become evident during the 2008 season. But i wont be able to tell you until then.


DRAPAC CONTINUE TO BE SCREWED

Lets assume for a second that the Tour Down Under is good for Australian cycling.....In the Tour De France we have seen Agritubel.....in the Vuelta a Espana we have seen Relax-Gam.....in the Giro de Italia we have seen Sele Italia and Panaria.....and now in Australia's only Pro Tour race we continue to see Australia's only Pro Continental team get shunned for what can only be described as BAD, UNFAIR, RIDICULOUS, CORRUPT (take your pick) politics.


Regardless of what you think about the Drapac-Porsche Team (and believe me i think they have some big issues), you have to agree that in such an event we should be encouraging and supporting Australian talent. The problem is that Michael Drapac, for better or worse, has trodden on a lot of toes since he bought his team to the scene and now the riders that he supports are having to suffer the repercussions.


They have achieved some very impressive results over the past couple of years....the most impressive of which being a 1,2 finish at our national road championship. Stage 1 of the Sun Tour was a disappointing one for them, but once the tour had concluded Darren Lapthorn had proved that had he not missed the opening day break, he would have challenged for overall honours.


I, like many, believe that Drapac-Porsche and their eternal message of education before participation is annoying and often counter productive to their athletes and the teams aspirations, but you can't help but admire some of the things they have achieved in a short time. I'm not going to spend a blog telling them what i think is wrong with the way they run things and the 'holier than now' image they portray, but i think that it sucks for their riders that they don't get to compete in their colours for our biggest race.


Id be interested to see what others think, but i think that the organisers need to take a long hard look at themselves and the ultimate damage that they may be causing to cycling in Australia. Problem is....they think they are brilliant.....


KATE LOOKS PRETTY!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END

SEASON OVER.......

The Melbourne to Warrnambool, last Sat, saw the end of my season finish on a slightly frustrating note. As most cycling fans will know, after 7hrs and 15mins i came in 4th of a group of 9 after misjudging the finish. Nothing can express the disappointment of riding for that long and screwing up the final 200m. After seeing many of my feared competitors fall away during the day i was confident of a win in the closing stages. I saved all my energy for 1 big attack, which i launched with 2km to go. Pearson and Hughes mowed me down and in the closing stages Hughes was able to gain a gap. Despite my attack i still had a sprint in my legs and in the final 300m i had to determine how much time i needed to catch and beat Cam Hughes and how far out i could sprint and not die before the finish. Unfortunately for me, i caught Cam and fell about 20m short of victory.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing and i now believe that with the legs i had closing in on the finish i should have attacked more and harder over the closing 10km. I definitely feel i had the ability to win and i would give anything to take me back to the closing hour of the race. But thats how it goes sometimes.....and now i will have to return to the race and try again.....i pledge to win it before my career is over.

SUN TOUR.....

Sunny was not all that i had expected it could have been. The race itself was aggressive and hard from start to finish but my form was not up to scratch for the opening 3 days and for that i was disappointed. On day 3 i should have been challenging for the win, but instead i was chewing on my handlebars all day and made the finishing split only to finish last of the group......
The last 2 road stages i had my chance.....good legs but some bad timing and poor tactics saw me miss my opportunities for a good result. The team however rode really well and I would have to say that Omer and Scott had arguably their best tours of the year, after riding like weapons all week. We won the teams classification for the final 2 days, 4 top 5 results on the final 3 stages and a top 10 on GC......not a bad effort really after the shock and disappointment of loosing Teddy over a cliff on day 1 (he is on the mend for those who are interested).


GOOD BYE......

So the ups and downs of my professional life have been a big roller coaster over the closing month of my season. This has only been compounded by the death of my family dog this week, Sheba. Tuesday night was an emotional one, when the family buried Sheba in the back yard. After a nasty week of being ill, the vet found a large cancer and suggested that she would be more comfortable if we put her to sleep. She was an amazing member of our family. Fur everywhere, constantly tapping at the door and forcing us to get up but at the same time keeping us company and making us enjoy every bit of her 13 years.

She will long be remembered and, while not the first pet of the family, Sheba was our first dog and was integrated into our lives more than any other that came before her. She is sleeping now and i am happy that when we last saw her, the morning we dropped her at the vets, she was calm, relaxed and seemingly stress free about everything. It was nice to remember her like that and anyone that follows will have a tough act to live up to.

COUCH POTATO.....
It is now couch time for me. I have been lazy and sloppy for the first 4 days of my rest and i look forward to continuing this when i arrive at Kate's house in Sydney. Im sure her parents will object, but i will stay true to myself and be as lazy as possible.

Off for a big catchup with some old school friends tonight and looking forward to it......so....later.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TOUR OF TASSIE....

THE LEIGH HOWARD AND CAM MEYER SHOW...
The tour of Tassie was arguably one of the harder races i have done for the entire season. 11 stages shared over 6 days and while they were only short, the intensity and competition meant that everyone counted....and the legs felt every km.....


What it did provide was an insight into the future of Australian cycling....the 2 Meyer boys and Leigh Howard were the dominant parties of the race and i look forward to enjoying the promising careers of all 3 from the comfort of my couch over the coming 10 years.


I had the pleasure of riding in the same team as Leigh....and the kid has something very special about him. He is unbelievably fast, incredibly tough and mature beyond his years. It would not be every day that a person like me would be more than happy to lead out a 17 year old kid....but his ability commands respect and i would do it any day of the week.....and anyone who knows me well can testify to my opinion of the Meyer kids.....they are freaks and its scary to think of how little they know about the sport....wait until they learn....


FINALLY A WIN....

I also was able to take my first win on the road bike since my Aussie crit title in Jan 06. It was supposed to be a lead out for Leigh and no one came past me. And as they say "success, breeds success". Not 3 days later i was able to top it off with a 2nd victory to give the VIS its 5th stage, from 10, and make it into a very successful tour. It was an excellent confidence boost heading into Sun Tour, as apart from a mechanical mishap on stage 4, i barely missed a beat all tour. When i wasnt going for the win, i was taking care of Leigh and Pat and making it over climbs that 12 months ago would have killed me.

Me on the podium after my stage 10 victory....
The first win of the year....in Menzies home town and a big victory hug from his Mum after the race made it twice as nice..
Photos courtesy of Shane Goss: www.licoricegallery.com
So bring on the last 2 weeks of my season. I have renewed determination and a desire to continually improve headed into next year, which will hopefully keep my team on top of the podium for many more races....and who knows, maybe i will be able to beat Freddie?

KATE AND RICH, TOGETHER AGAIN....

Finally, after 4 days from the past 6 weeks, I have got the chance for some more quality time with the mrs. Apart from the odd occasion, we will be joined at the hip until Feb and i look forward to every minute. The arguments, the training, the TV, the movies and the snuggling....all the great things that mesh together to form the basis for our relationship.


We had a very nice ride today, and i am convinced that the HOT PINK of T-Mobile acts as a deterrent for the magpie swoop, that i expressed my fondness for last post. On a route that i did not 10 days before and was hit by no less than 3....not 1 magpie today. That is a sweet thing and may see me spend more time training at her side than we both can handle....or maybe i just steal a jersey???


So all in all, my life is pretty smooth and sweet at the moment. Bring on the Sun Tour (starting Sunday), bring on Melb-Warrnambool and then bring on the TV and 3 weeks of couch potato. I hope to see you all out lining the roads in the coming week for the Sunny and dont forget to visit my stall for some quality bargains after Sundays stage in Melb.....


Peace.

Monday, October 01, 2007

SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!

OVER PROTECTIVE MOTHERS.....
Magpies. The forgotten problem about returning home during spring. There is nothing more annoying than riding along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden being struck by something in the head. There is always that 2 seconds that it takes you to realise what the hell is going on.....have i just been hit by a car??? What the f*#$ was that????


This isnt me. But just for my overseas friends, so they can try and understand what im talking about.
I just don't get it. Short of unclipping, hopping off my bike and beginning to scale a tree, i don't understand why they consider us a threat. I just hope that while they are pursuing me down the road, that a cunning possum is laying in wait and they learn their lesson. NOT COOL!!!


AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS....

Speaking of getting hit by a car. What is with Aussie drivers? I'm not talking about the elderly ones, who have no idea where the left hand side of their car is (as frustrating as they are). I'm talking about the ones who think that it is a game to see how close they can come to me, hard in the left gutter, and scare the living shit out of me. I just don't get what they achieve. They obviously don't realise how a little mistake in judgement could ruin the lives of so many. I have lost too many friends this year from bike accidents and i think its about time that some motorists took a long hard look at themselves.


I have been fortunate enough to travel the world as a cyclist and nowhere in it are drivers more dangerous and disrespectful of cyclists. In Italy, they have 5 times the population, roads 1/2 the size and 10 times as much traffic and probably about 10% of the problem. Pull your heads in Australia....take care of everyone on the roads, even if it costs you 10seconds.....because one day your son or daughter is going to ask to go riding and i hope that you don't have to know the pain and the stress of pricks behind the wheel of a 1 tonne weapon.


WHERE CAN I GET A PAIR OF THOSE JEANS?

After much conversation and planning with my coach, we are going to base my entire season next year around the CSC Invitational criterium. Why? Because if i win it, apparently i have a chance of taking stages and the green jersey at the Tour De France. I'm referring to Rock Racing's managers comment that any rider on his team could win a stage of the tour and challenge for the green jersey. I assume that this also means the 5 or 6 of them that pulled out of the US Pro Crit in the first 20 laps?????


They have signed Fast Freddie....and i have little doubt that he will run rings around me in any sprint finish the two of us approach together next year....but i hate to be the bearer of bad news, i honestly doubt that Freddie could win a stage of the tour, let alone the green jersey.


They are a good bunch of guys, but i think that the manager has been working within an enclosed space during the manufacturing of their hemp products. But way to get attention and a story on cyclingnews.


FINALLY....

Sorry that my English is so bad that my mum needs to leave comments each week criticising it. In all honesty, i think she is the only one who reads it...so its not such a big deal.


Good luck to my US team mates about to start the US track nationals and ill speak to you next week after the tour of Tassie....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

AHHHHH HOME....

BEFORE HOME, CAME VEGAS.....
Vegas was a hoot. Only 4 days there, but in that time Kate and I were able to see a show, blow some money, ride horses through and around Red Canyon and spend hours by the pool and in bed ;).
They always say that photos tell 1000 words, so i will let some of the good ones i took do the talking....


Isn't she the cutest?




Until she lost all of my money!




But i forgave her....






Only to find out she wanted to be a cowboy....



So here i am rounding 2nd with one of the Blue Men...i think she was jealous.






FRESH FACES AROUND THE HOUSE....
Upon my return home i was able to finally meet the person who for the past 6 months has resided in my bedroom. My parents and sister brought in a girl (Gracie) who needed a place to stay and she has been living with us since April. Fortunately she has been moved from my room to the spare bedroom since my return, but it has been fun to meet a new person and learn about her, considering its like she is a new sister of mine.


Pip and the newbie (Grace) cooking dinner. Its a nice change of pace...




It has also been more than nice to sleep in the familiar surroundings of my bedroom once again. Oh how i have missed my home.




PIP'S QUITTING SMOKING....
This week my sister will attempt to quit smoking....again. I say again because she has tried and failed before, but i have a good feeling about this time. I want to make it a team effort and have made her aware that i will not take any excuses or make any exceptions this time. I am even going to buy her first pack of patches, in an attempt to make her accountable to someone else...as now i will have invested money in her attempt.

CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE BEIJING FUND....
Going on sale this week are a large quantity of cycling clothing that i have accumulated over the course of the last 4 years of my professional career. Some old and some new, its a mix of stuff and prices. It will all go on the table on the last day of the Herald Sun Tour, but if you want an opportunity to beat the crowd and the madness then send me an email and i will send you a copy of the listings. Photos will be available upon request and then you can let me know if you want to buy anything. All the proceeds go to the Get Richard to Beijing Fund (aimed at helping me afford to go and watch Kate at the Olympics), so get in quick before it goes....email address is richardjengland@gmail.com....

Catch you all on the flip side...

PS. IT'S NOW OFFICIAL
It has just been reported on cyclingnews, so i guess i can tell it to. I am officially a rider for the Bissell Pro Cycling Team next year. A continuation of the team from this year, Bissell has taken over as the title sponsor and i look forward to continuing my work with the 8 of my current team mates returning and the 4 + new additions we have for next year. Check it all out at http://www.bissellprocycling.com/.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BROKEN BITS

US SEASON FINISHES WITH BROKEN BONES.....BUT IT STILL FINISHES
1 month of preparation for my last race....180km of northern Michigan....3km in there was a small crash, 3 went down, suddenly it turned into a massive crash as a bunch of morons decided to run straight into the back of it. The fall out was Scotty (in his 9th crash of the season) with some broken ribs, Teddy came down, and i face planted on some guys top tube and came out of it with a suspected broken nose and thumb. I kept racing, not knowing exactly what the etiquette is for a broken nose. Scott charged his way to third, Garrett won the race and despite a massive headache for the entire 4.5hrs came in 7th. It was a great race to finish the year with. Despite the obvious frustration the course was a fantastic one and i was sorry that it had taken me 3 years to finally do it.
The final podium.....nice novelty cheque






WHATS LEFT TO DO?.....BUT DANCE

video
Garrett is taking dance lessons from the boss' sister....he looks like he is a future So You Think You Can Dance star.

video
Zirbel and Teddy follow suit.....
SOME SHOTS FROM OUR LAST WEEK UP NORTH....
It was kind of a team break up camp. We got to spend the week relaxing in Bob's sweet beach pad. It was freezing cold and raining for the majority of the week, i had to crack out the winter gear again, but there were some special moments.
Zirbel and Morgan share a moment fit for lovers....





Glen does a quick dash back to the warm shower, after a dip in the freezing Lake Michigan





WHEN THE SEASONS DONE, WHERE ELSE BUT VEGAS?

Kate and i have hit the strip. First time for me and although its a quick, 3 day, in and out it is a nice little fly by on the way home and a great way to waste some of the money i have worked hard for all year. Having said that, the Hard Rock Hotel is worth every cent. While not directly on the strip, we have a sweet room with a great view. The pool scene is insane and the hotel comes fully equipped with a Starbucks in the lobby, which for Kate in her jet lagged state is sweet.








Check it out. We are not high rollers, but it doesn't hurt to pretend every now and then.

Keep a look out for our holiday snaps next week. Until then....peace.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

KICKING IT LOCALLY

THE SEASON IS WINDING DOWN IN THE US....
Proof of this was the free spirited party that took place after our local Grand Rapids criterium. It was an opportunity for many of the guys to let down their hair and enjoy themselves for a night. For those who are interested, Menzies won the race, so it wasn't a local victory but I managed to bring home 3rd in what was a great first year event. Here are some of the photo's from our evening....enjoy!



Scotty knows how to throw them back....








So i took advantage of him later on...



Our fearless director, teaches the boys how they chug beer down in New Zealand...





The night hurt some more than others...

MVA'S...BRITTANY'S COMEBACK WAS A BUST....
Brittany's performance left a lot to be desired. She slut'ed it up as best as possible with the costume but that was where the efforts finished. She lip synced (badly), she danced like a wobbly middle aged women and showed no energy at all. To be honest it was hard to watch. One reaction from the crowd explained what most people thought of it perfectly (right).



WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT....

HOT!
Menzies is just so friggin' hard to beat....
NOT!

Lazy ass ball boys at the US Open....they all chuck the balls in stead of the classy ball rolling of the Aussie Open.





Scotty crashing in the GR crit....AGAIN.....thats 8 for the year and he definately has time to make it to double figures. Stay away from this guy on the track.


PEOPLE IN MY LIFE......
INTRODUCTION TO SCOTT ZWIZANSKI...

video
7/13 DAYS TO GO....
7 days until i see Kate again. 13 days until i sleep in my own bed for the first time in 6 months.

Later everyone

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

US PRO WEEK

ENGLAND DIRECTS PRIORITY TO 9 OUT OF 10 DNF'S....


So i finally got to take the reigns as director of the Priority Health Cycling Team. I love being a bike rider, but i also think that one day i would love to do this as a profession. Despite the fact we only had 1 finisher (BJM in 15th), the overall consensus was that people were happy with my job. I did a reasonable job of predicting how the race would unfold and as such the boys rode a well prepared structure. I was proud of both there days, with an awesome comeback from Tom Zirbel in the ITT. It was an exiting weekend for me and i hope that the sponsors i got to take care of in the car weren't too terrified by the way i drove.

Some actions shots from the weekends work......

BJM, CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR....

After 7 months of blood sweat and tears, Ben Jaques-Maynes (left) has gone down in the NRC battle in the last race on the calendar. Whilst it was to a worthy foe, in Rory Sutherland, there was a thick air of disappointment despite having won the race. At the end of a long season, it was unfortunate that it came down to a conflict of interests within the team. Not the best way to run out a season, but an unfortunate situation for everyone involved.

BEING A MECHANIC AIN'T NO BREEZE....

Shout out to this weeks hero Ben Oliver, who drove 13hrs after sleeping for a measly 3hrs, to get me back to Michigan safe and sound after the Atlanta 10k. It was an amazing effort, that was achieved with enormous quantities of caffeine and determination. Im not going to lie to you though, he has been working extremely hard....(see below)


This is Ben, during a post ride work out. Chin ups and dead lifts and the results have been amazing. He insists that all his progress has been completely natural, but i think its time that USADA started testing the mechanics....just dont put caffeine on the band list or it will cost us all.


SERENA WILLIAMS MAKES A QUICK GET AWAY....

Lots of tennis has been watched over the past week with the US Open. I was surprised to see, however, her choice of vehicle to get away from the waiting press, who were upset by her loss.




WHAT'S HOT AND WHAT'S NOT

HOT.....
Getting to DS for my team and friends at the US Pro road race. It was an awesome experience that i wont forget.
Cycling obsessed people and how they express it with household implements.(below)









NOT....

Losing the NRC in the final race on the calendar.
Middle aged men wearing ankle socks....its a big no no, especially when your not directly involved in a sporting activity....and even then i have to question it. (below).
Until next week....ill try and include some video inserts....later

Thursday, August 30, 2007

CHANGING THE PACE

So....after much thought i have decided that doing this blog and reading it is boring as sh!t. So in an attempt to improve my motivation for doing the blog and hopefully people's enthusiasm for reading it, im going to make some drastic changes. It will now be a public display of the things i think but rarely put down on paper. Hopefully it will be entertaining. Im sure it will get me in trouble occasionally, but ill keep pushing through....i hope you enjoy......

THIS WEEKS HEADLINES.....

RICHARD ENGLAND STUNG BY BEE, WHILE TRAINING.....

This is believe to be a picture of the offender on his last legs after leaving his stinger in Richard's chest.






The swelling was instant, but the doctor has informed Richard, that with ice and exercise, he should return to normal within a week or so.



SLIPSTREAM, WORKING WITH MILLIONS.....

Im not referring to millions of dollars, im talking about millions of riders. It is official, that Team Slipstream from the USA have hired every professional bike rider in the world at present. At last count the were at 2, 345,652.
With no decision on next years team kit, here was the recent team photo from Russelville, Arkansas.





AUSTRALIAN OPPOSITION LEADER GETS LAP DANCE.......

Kevin Rudd's approval has gone up to a record 56% after admitting he had a lap dance at a strip club, while visiting New York on official business. In a desperate ploy, John Howard is rumoured to be releasing a statement about the time he got to 2nd base with G. Bush in the oval office. Two thumbs up K. Rudd.


In a related story, Hilary is rumoured to have leveled the score with Bill.

ANDREY KASHECHKIN TO START LEGAL ACTION AGAINST UCI.....

This moron has set out to start legal proceedings, claiming that testing him out of competition is an invasion of his privacy. When asked "Andrey, are you high? He answered " I have no idea what the other persons blood had in it, but now you mention it, i have been feeling a little woozy. Maybe i should not have done the transfusion myself. Whoops."


PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK....


Toilet rolls behind you when you are sitting on the toilet. It is so annoying to have to twist backwards to get to the paper. Must be worse for women, who have to do it every time.


Later....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

US PRO...UNDER WATER

My apologies for the recent lack of blog entries. Unfortunately one of my great friends lost his father some 2 weeks ago and for some reason cycling didn't seem significant. It has been a hard time for him and his family and i want to express my sympathy to them all. The world is a colder place with his passing and may he rest in peace.

It is an unfortunate fact, but life does go on for the rest of us and my life saw me in the windy.....and wet, wet, wet.....city of Chicago. It was a miserable weekend of racing.....in terms of the weather. I didnt fair overly well, with little motivation for pushing my limits and being involved in one of the 60 odd crashes that took place over the 100km race. That is nearly 1 crash per lap. We had 7 of our 9 riders crash during the main event and some of them on more than 1 occasion. Unfortunately for the team one of those crashes included Emile and Teddy on the last corner, which cost them both a top 10 position. Somehow i managed to finish, but race like a Pansie......so that was the story of my weekend.

The only reason i welcomed the rain, was to cover the tears when Kate had to fly out on Sunday. It was the beginning of what will be a month of phone calls and no physical contact, which will be the longest we have gone for nearly the entirety of our relationship. We spent a great week together in Michigan and then the following week in Milwaukee...the 2 places that feel most like home to me in this foreign country.

Out riding with one of my American families in Milwaukee.....Simon and Tif can be seen in the back ground on their cruisers.






The picturesque lake Michigan from the Milwaukee side. Its quite a view and on the right day, there is a lot of eye candy...hence me and Karl riding there each year



But now comes the countdown....i am officially 1 month from leaving for home. With 3 big races remaining i am planning on going out on a high. Training will continue to pick up and the motivation is now beginning to regrow as the crits are behind me and i will again be focusing on the longer road.

I can now announce that I am officially on board for next year and we have some very exciting additions to our list. I cant break the news of who until it becomes official, but needless to say, i am very excited about our prospects for the 08 season and where my abilities will squeeze into the talent.

So thats it.....see all my home buddies soon as the countdown continues......

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

CRASHING SUCKS!

So i finally had my first crash for my US based road season. The worst thing about going a long time between crashes, is that you forget how much it hurts and how inconvenient it is. It was one of those silly crashes, no serious damage, but a large portion of skin from my left leg and butt cheek. I was actually talking into my radio when it happened....the bunch slowed down all of a sudden....but i didnt....ended up with my bars through someone else's back wheel and being dragged along the road for a while until he came to a stop. I was not too badly hurt, but so shocked that it had happened that i gave no response to his question "are you alright?". I just sat on the ground in disbelief.

It was a pity, more for the fact that with the crash went my good form that i had showed over the first 4 days of the tour. 2 top 5 positions, had Karl not cheated on stage 3, and i was climbing better than any time i can remember. But as is always the case with me, when my body comes into contact with the ground, my back decides to take a vacation and my power output drops about 40%. So that was the end of my good results for the tour. Fortunately for the team, Teddy stepped up and came in with 2 top 10 performances over the closing 3 days.....of which, all 7 were pretty much dominated by Menzies. He and his 'boys' had a week to remember with 4 out of 7 stages and a 5th, that wasnt allowed to stand. It was an impressive display...particularly from Karl, who is making up on lost time, in a big way.


Lining up for the start of a stage....i always seem tense....not sure why




It was hot work in Altoona.....here i have the jersey unzipped....for cooling purposes, but mainly just for the ladies!

Needless to say, even non-cycling fans will have seen the controversy that surrounded the Tour De France this year. It was such a disappointment that, for once, when it actually became a really good battle for the win, that it could all come toppling down again and make our profession look like a joke. If there is anything that i can hold my head high about, its that the large majority seem to believe that Cadel Evans is the only clean GC rider in the bunch. He put in a stella performance and i was proud to watch a fellow country man display all the guts and determination that Australian's are known for. As for the rest....i just hang my head in shame. But it is a continuous cycle....those who are clean and know of others who dope are just as guilty in the end and are going to watch the sport disintegrate around them if this "code of silence" in the pro peleton is not broken.

Any way...forget them....i am a clean bike rider, who does it for the right reasons and as sad as it is to watch my sport dragged through the mud....me and my team mates can only do the best we know how. I have decided that i will now look for my cycling idols in the female ranks. After my short stint with the female T-Mobile squad in July and seeing there haematocrit levels in the high 30's....i think that these are the only people who i can truly believe in. Down come the posters of Vino and others....and up go the pictures of Judith Arndt and Ina Tutenburg.....long live cycling and all that is good and pure about it.
So crit season is upon us. It is all that the next month comprises and i am doing my best to get my back right and my speed up. I will once again join forces with Emile and together we will try and chase an illusive win in one of the big money races that face us. Hopefully my next post includes some good news and my wallet includes 'mo money'. Cause in the words of 50cent....."get rich, or die tryin'"
Speak to you all soon....sorry about how American the last paragraph sounds...i promise im still Aussie....mate!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

KEEPING THE TRADITION ALIVE

I am back at Superweek for the 4th consecutive year and who should join me here but my faithful sidekick, Karl Menzies. Karl and i have been coming here and racing since our first outing in 2004 with MG and after going 1,2 on GC in 2005, it is a place that we always like to revisit for the memories and for the traditions.

Some of the traditions that im talking about are:
The late nights: Each night after racing a crit, Karl and i are seldom asleep before 1am
Early mornings: We are up bright and early to watch the live coverage of each tour stage over a long and drawn out breakfast.
Ride along the lake: Our 30km loop that takes place every morning after the tour, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of lake Michigan
Eggs on toast: Lunch....every day
Host family: Since 2004 we have come back to the same host family and same smiling faces that have taken such good care of us over the previous years

This aside, we are here to race and this year...unlike last, when i was too bad a bike rider to get out of my own way....we did just that. Except the day we were both disqualified from the race. Funnily enough, after a big debate with the commissaires and organisers after the race, i think we had more support than the weasel of a judge who DSQed us.

My Italian trip finally wrapped up and i have never had such a great time. I shared my birthday with the T-Mobile women's squad during their Tour of Italy and everyone of them were really good company. From pranks from the mechanic, to getting to be DS and mechanic in the car during the TT's, i worked my way around the country and had a ball doing it. As sad as it was to again leave Kate, I was headed back to familiar faces and knew that it was only a 3 week hiatus till we would be together again.

So all in all....my life is great. I am cycling with some new determination and form after a 4 week break from racing and ready to hit Tour de Toona, all be it with no GC men, with a real ambition of big results.

Good luck to my team mate BJM, who is about to have a daughter (Zoe, i believe) with his wife, Goldi. I hope that all goes well and they are all happy and healthy. Also a big shout out to Tom Zirbel. I have been the whole year without seeing my team mate, who has had some blood clotting problems and i truly have missed having him around this year....particularly now that we will face a Team Time Trial on stage 1 of Toona without our 2 best TT riders. But i hope that he is able to recover in time to salvage something from his season.

Ciao...i picked that one up in Italy

Saturday, June 30, 2007

GOT TO REBUILD, WHY NOT IN ITALIA?

So for those of you, who sit at home and read this on your big computer screens and still think "wow, what an awesome life these guys get to live", picture me now, in a beautiful Italian cafe, sitting here with wireless internet and enjoying a latte with my beautiful girlfriend.....is that rubbing it in enough????

Kate and Alex's sweet Italian pad. Her bedroom is bigger than my parents!!!






My stuffed sheep, Palmy, keeping me company on the road during the Nature Valley GP. Kicking back, laughing to Ricky Gervais stand up...if you see it buy it.

So that is where my life has now brought me. With a month off racing i figured that i would come over to Europe and support my better half through some of her racing. Jet lag aside, this is a beautiful place to ride your bike. The roads, while rediculously skinny, are sceanic and amazing for training. Kate has herself a great little apartment in Castrono, just around the corner from the AIS Cycling HQ, so i find myself with no shortage of Aussie accents and riding partners for the perfect training camp.

The only thing bad about wireless internet....reading about everyone in my much beloved sport getting involved in a drug scandle. Come on DeLuca....did you honestly think you were fooling anyone??? It is a damn shame that people cant just be honest with themselves and just ride clean. I think that all cyclist should have to earn what i earn and then see if they can justify the expense....anymore than that and it becomes too easy for them.....Its a sad sad time for cycling and while we thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel after last year, im not convinced that it is there. Im just happy to be associated with a team of clean and dedicated athletes who do the sport for the right reasons...why? beacuse they love to ride their bikes and challenge their bodies to continually improve. And when they stop improving, like mine did for a time last year....they dont go to the pharmacy....they get depressed and just keep trying to work harder and push through....because cycling is like life.....sometimes it sucks, but you just have to work through it. I think my new cycling hero is Aaron Olsen....he and a few others will know the exact details of why.....but he stands on higher ground for me than many others, particularly in the protour....I just cross my fingers for the friends of mine who worked hard for the talents that they posess and have gone into the protour, that they can overcome the trend and prove to the people that cycling can be clean....

So thats what my life is all about at the moment....im a happy camper with where im at....just hope that the world approves around me.

Later all

Saturday, June 16, 2007

ALL ROADS LEAD TO MICHIGAN

Somehow my life always seems to bring me back to the humble abode of the Hughes house. Its hot out here and Omer and i have been enjoying some easier days on the bike, getting ready for an all out assault on Nature Valley. Last time i was out there i won a stage and this year i am going with equally as high if not greater expectations.

So i guess some of you will be wondering what has happened to me in the last few races....most of the time you would have seen me in the DNF list....fortunately it has not been as bad as it may have looked. CSC was a good race for me, i was working for Emile and after dragging him around for the last 20 laps, dropped him off in a nice posie with 2 laps to go and then i was out...DNF no. 1.

Lancaster.....broken chain on lap 6.....in terrible conditions.....but i felt good so it was disappointing...DNF no. 2.

Reading.....i was a disgrace....i rode so soft the 2nd time up the hill and was absolutely pissed at myself for being such a little girl....so that race did go as badly as some of you may have been thinking.....DNF no. 3.

Philly....I finally cracked it....i finished my first Philly against all odds, considering 4hrs sleep the night before, vomiting up my breakfast and not being able to eat any solid foods during the race. I survived on nearly 20 gels and although i had nothing left to give in the front bunch at the finish, i still managed to make it, which was a huge monkey off my back. After jumping the median curb to avoid the crash in the last 400m i came in 26secs down in 50th....not great, but considering the day i was very happy.

So thats it....nothing much else to report.....except that Kate raced like an animal in Canada and Philly. She is an engine at the moment and its exciting when she gets that glimmer in her eye, she is hard to stop.

See you all soon

Thursday, May 31, 2007

AND LIKE THAT...."poof".....SHE'S GONE

Back to the sad and terrible realisation of what this life brings me....loneliness. Kate left today and after 6 weeks of being sewn together at the hip we are again apart. Just me and my little black sheep, Palmy, to keep me company. Its sad how little there is to m life when 1 thing is subtracted.

But chin up.....keep on riding.....been doing lead out duties the past week and enjoying some more team success. Emile has been sprinting on form....all be it, behind the unbeatable Hilton Clarke and BJM just notched up another victory for us on the west coast. I'd say things are rolling.

Big 4 races on there way and i cant wait...bring on the big ones cause im just dying to go fast...think i might get some speed lines in my hair cut tomorrow just to emphasise the point.... I think it could be my wildest one yet.

Later every1

Friday, May 25, 2007

BIG CITY LIGHTS

I finally made it. 4 years spent in the USA and i finally made it to New York City. I couldn't let the fact that i am staying within a couple of hours and have some, well needed and earned, rest from racing slip through my fingers....So Kate and i got up at the crack of dawn on Wednesday and we made the 1.15hr drive to Trenton, then the 1hr train ride to NEW YORK CITY......yay!!!
And instead of ruining everyones day and dribbling on about funny...but boring stories about our day, i thought i would let some pictures do the talking......
From the heights of the Empire State Building.....this is where our day began.....the weather was perfect.




Kate and i....living it up in time sqare....


On the way into Central Park....our one mistake for the day was that we walked the entire length to find the cafe from Seinfeld....it is a long, long park and by the time we got to the other end, we couldn't even be bothered finding the cafe







mine and Kate's NYC taxi experience....it was all i could have ever dreamed....non stop horns.....ahh, you have to love a big American city


The sun shouldn't be able to break through here....it should be blocked by 2, 110 floor buildings....but unfortunately we live in a terrible world....it brought back some memories of staying up all night on September 11 when it happened....i remember it very clearly




A beautiful sunset down in the south end of Manhattan...Battery Park to be exact....from here we watched the sun set over the Statue of Liberty. Then it was time for home....we tried hard not to get mugged in Trenton on the way back to the car and then we were set.
What will last more than the memories....the pain and stiffness that we both woke up with this morning....lots of walking, but what can you do. It was definately worth it.
Later everyone.