I thought I would start a blog to keep you all updated wherever you are in the world, on my first big international cycling trip to America.  And what it took to get here.

Being only 17 years old, this was a big ask. Turning a dream into reality is no easy task, and I was only going to find out how much work and dedication was required once I had done it.  My dream of racing in America as a second year u19 started months ago and that initial dream grew quickly as I began to brainstorm ways I could make it come true.  And as I got closer to this dream, no matter how much others or myself doubted it wasn’t financially possible, the harder I worked to make it possible.

One idea to raise funds was with my friend Cassie we decided to ride non-stop for 20hours or in my case, for as long as I Physically could and get sponsored per hour. That quickly turned into reality and before we knew it, it was the middle of the night and we were riding in the middle of nowhere with only a visibility of 3meters ahead and complete darkness behind us in the cold autumn night. This would have to be the most mentally challenging and the most physically draining thing I have ever had to do.  I managed to ride all through the night until dawn before hitting the wall in Sumner. Cassie kept soldiering on and managed to complete 24 hours! I would like to thank all the generous people who helped Cassie and myself to fund our trips to the USA. We really appreciated it!

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Hydration at the ready for our massive ride ahead

So in the weeks leading up to my big adventure I had to balance hard work and even harder training. I worked two jobs. When I wasn’t at the supermarket in Christchurch scanning groceries, I was 45minutes drive from the city at Dads lifestyle block where he has his own airfield and an aircraft hanger where his business, Campbell Aero Classics specialize in building aircrafts and selling his original war bird leather flying helmets. After I had done my early morning training I traded in my Lycra for a pair of baggy overalls where I was scrubbing the paint off aeroplanes with thinners, wearing a mask to help with the heavy fumes. I vigorously sanded down wings and small aeroplane parts for hours on end covering myself in dust. I filled 1000’s of rivet holes all over the planes with a grit-like paste that somehow managed to even get in my mouth.  Some days I became an avionics technician in the office and assembled the avionics systems in the helmets. After weeks of working my way up, I began helping Dad do some spray painting on the Aircrafts. This was new and exciting but I quickly worked out that the paint doesn’t wash off my hands very easily!

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                         All layered up spray painting in the winter air
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                                                  Action Shot
 I got into a routine and soon saw the bank account growing which was relieving. I realised that there is more cost to an overseas trip than just the flights! There is insurance, visas, accommodation, race entry fees, food, internal flights and the list goes on! I managed to pay for all the initial trip costs myself and have saved enough money to live off while I am away. All in about two months of working.

So here I am, writing this in Dallas international airport, Texas.  Waiting for my domestic flight to into Colorado Springs, which has been delayed 3 times and is now 3 hours late due to Tornado’s and lightning storms! I will spend the next 2 weeks living with Kiwi Olympian and very successful cyclist, Joanne Kiesanowski training and doing local racing. I then plan to fly to Vancouver, Canada and race in the BC Superweek consisting of many one-day races and tours in and around Vancouver. I will then travel back to Bend, Oregon for the Cascade Cycling Classic Tour. As for the rest of my trip, I have yet to confirm where I will go and what races I will be doing.

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My first experience in a 2 hour long customs line

This experience has already taught me the value of hard earned money and shown me that there are a lot of people out there who are supporting me while I endeavour to follow my dreams. I would like to thank all my family for all their love and guidance especially my mum and dad who have both supported me from the start. My Coach Hamish Ferguson who has shown me that anything is possible. And Andrew and his team at The Hub cycles for all their help and always having my bike race ready.

But for now its time to leave winter behind and explore Colorado Springs and experience training at Altitude (6,008ft), which I know is not going to be easy.

Keep an eye out for my future blogs as I follow my dreams in America.

Maddi Campbell

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