So....it was quite a welcome that i received to my first race in the US season. After a 6 hour drive from Banner Elk to Richmond Virginia, we woke up on Sat morning to a fairly heavy snow storm, sub 0 degree temperatures and no promise of any improvement throughout the day.
After a 90 min delay to the start, waiting for the NBC helicopter, we finally got going.....i have to say that even when we got riding it didnt warm up at all. Finally after about an hour of racing the snow and rain disappeared and we were just left to ride in the freezing cold. But then....on cue, as we started into Richmond for the finishing circuits the snow came down again.
Much to everyones delight, Richmond itself was dry with blue skies...still 2 degrees, but dry. It was all irrelevant for me as i raced like a rookie....i spent most day down the back, didnt eat or drink barely anything and eventually with 4 circuits to go i popped. It was disappointing for me and the team, because i actually felt i had really good legs....much to my surprise. After some bad luck on the circuits with punctures we ended up with 3 of 7 crossing the line in the 3rd group on the road. Not great, but personally it was satisfying to feel my legs and fitness were where they needed to be and it was just my tactics and nutrition that needed addressing.
The team car on the morning of the race. keep in mind the snow was cleared off it about 30mins before this photo was taken.
This was before the race. You could be forgiven for thinking he was looking forward to racing...in actual fact he had never seen snow fall, so he was like a little kid again.
Ben O. Our mechanic tries to fight the cold anyway he can while training in Banner Elk.
Introduction to the new equipment. It is a sweet ride. SRAM group set is something new, but not hard to adapt to.
So now we are on the road to Georgia. 1 week out and im back in Banner Elk, were the snow has also come down over the weekend. Omer and i hit the road today....it was blue skies but a frosty 1 degree (or 34 for you yanks). There is no better feeling than having the motivation and being excited about racing again, that heading out in these freezing temps is not a problem. Georgia is coming and i am going to be as ready as i can be....im looking for big things and so are the team.
Away from the bike....my girlfriend is still a world champ and i still get chills when i think about it. I even dreamt last night that someone was bagging her out at a race and i beat them up...only thing was, it was a middle aged woman....but hey, im a protective kind of person, so dont bag out my baby girl.
Setting up my TT bike in the morning for Georgia, should be fun, so ill catch you all later. Hopefully after ive torn some Pro Tour legs off.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Can you believe that this girl is a world champion????
Well its true!
If my maths is correct, there are only 17 people who can say that they are the partner of a current world track champion and i am one of them. Kate is a world champion and as such has also taken the top step as my hero. Although she has trained harder than ever in the lead up, than to any other worlds, she has also overcome adversity this year with her shoulder problems and the sickness that caught her the night before the individual pusuit. She could have written it off for another year and packed it up but she didnt......and the result was probably the best race she has ever riden.
This race was no fluke.....Kate has worked hard this summer on ironing out some of her weaknesses in the points race in her attempt to claim the illusive world title that she has chased for many years. Together we have analysed countless videos of her opponents and also critiqued her own performances.....which she often finds very hard to do......to come up with comprehensive plans on how she could win. Then......on Sunday at about 5pm, Kate implemented everything she had learnt about herself and her opponents perfectly to win the race in emphatic style.....it still gives me goose bumps and my eyes well up when i think about it. She was awesome. And now 18 months out from Beijing Olympics, Kate has renewed ambition and a new confidence that will see her succeed beyond her wildest dreams.
I was there to watch it all....and i would not trade that for the world. It is a beautiful place and i was able to do some very good training leading into my US season.....for which i have now arrived.....Bar dropping myself in the pouring rain on a solo 5hr training ride i had an amazing time with all the Aussie athletes and have to thank them for being so accomodating and friendly in a week where i should have been considered an outsider. I did some great training days with a few of them including Rabobank's Graham Brown(e)....is it with an 'e', i dont know without checking.....who came out to support the team as i had done.
some of the beautiful views and roads i was able to enjoy while training in Mallorca. (Mark Jamison, Me, Graham Brown & Pete Dawson). Im the only non world champion there....but they still spoke to me, i thought that was nice.
What can you say about this....hows the serenity?
I cant end this post without saying what a pleasure it was to again witness Anna Meares SMASH her own world record again. She is a joy to watch and be around at world titles. Never have i met an athlete who handles herself with such grace and ease despite the enormous pressure that she has as olympic champion. I have now witnessed 2 of the 3 world records....and it is always a performance that lifts your spirits and makes you want to work harder. Also Cameron Meyer.....4th at only 19 behind some massive names in the sport and ahead of some equally as big ones. He is an amazing talent and showed that a spot in Beijing is not beyond him. I look forward to watching his career develop over the next decade....i have no doubt he will be one of Australia's most decorated athletes.....
Anna Meares riding faster than anyone in history....zooooooom
Now i have arrived in the USA. Im ready to compete this coming weekend and looking forward to putting the stress and problems of my track season behind me. I feel fit and am looking forward to taking my place along side some of my new team mates as well as the old and catching up with some friendly faces once again.
So thats it....me in a nut shell at the moment.....I cant believe it.....
KATHERINE BATES = my hero xoxo