I have learnt over the past few weeks that the pathway to success is infact, one step forward and two steps back. Although I can now say its character building and that I am a better person and cyclist from these experiences, I’m not going to put icing over the cake and say the journey is easy.Image

  

I arrived in Vancouver, BC to race BC super week as an individual. Here’s a brief report on how I found the intense racing to say the least:

 

The nerves were skyrocketing as I lined up at the start line of the first criterium as part of the Tour De Delta. Lets just say I was introduced to the Pro women’s racing the brutal way. I was suddenly a small fish in a big pond and I was going to have to race the hardest I had ever raced in my life if I wanted to survive.  Positioning and cornering became the key to survival because once you were at the back of the peloton, no amount of watts would get you up to the front and it was only a matter of time before you got shelled out the back.

 

Every race I was seeing improvements in my performances and I had some good bunch finishes which I was happy with given the strength of the field. Although there were moments when I questioned my abilities, I never once gave up without a fight. The biggest night of racing was the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix; thousands of spectators lined the streets of a 1.2km cobbled criterium circuit. Spectators had their cameras out and were asking to take photos with me warming up before the race start. I have never experienced such an awesome support crowd on the sidelines, cheering like crazy while we raced around the circuit. It made me feel privileged to be racing with such a classy field of talented athletes and their teams.

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After BC Super week, Leah, Laura (My Colavita Teammates) and myself road tripped to Bend, Oregon in the USA where we would spend the next week racing in one of the hardest stage races there is on offer called The Cascade Classic Tour. I was lucky enough to be taken on as a guest rider for Colavita/Fine Cooking Women’s Pro Team. This stage race was full of brutally tough stages. The hardest was a 120km road race including a 30km climb and a 15km climb to a hilltop finish. My race plan became race smartly and hang in there for as long as I could, especially on the hills. Over the days I was seeing improvements in my performances and I was feeling stronger. It was an inspiring experience racing on a pro team and being able to see what its like being a professional cyclist.

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 Near the end of the week of racing, I was suffering from an Abscess in my wisdom teeth causing a lot of pain and sleepless nights. No amount of pain relief was helping and when it came to the final stage, I knew the infection was taking its toll when I didn’t even have the strength to push myself, I knew I had to do the feared and pull out from the race. This wasn’t an easy decision but I had to do what was best for my health.

 

A few days later back in Colorado Springs I went into surgery and had my wisdom teeth removed. This was a risk as it was less than a week before I started racing in the Tour de la releve Internationale de Rimouski in Canada. But it was a risk I was wiling to take if it was going to stop the excruciating pain I was in.  And sure enough despite being told I would be only able to eat liquids for a week, I was able to eat a proper meal that evening and was back into training the next day. The receptionists at the dentist thought I was crazy arriving for my surgery after a 3 hour early morning training ride with no food or drink in my stomach and then turning up the following day after the surgery in my lyrca halfway through a ride.

 

After focusing on recovery for a few days it was time to head back to Canada to join the rest of the Giordana Pinarello team for six days of action packed stage racing.

 

I found out the day that I was leaving that I had been selected to represent New Zealand at the Junior Road World Championships in Florence, Italy. This news brought a whole new level of excitement and emotions; I don’t think I have ever had so many happy tears at 4.30am in the morning! It was a perfect way to start of the next week of racing!

 

The racing kicked off with a separate UCI Junior road race and then was followed by the tour de la releve de internationle de Rimouski. Being part of team Giordana/Pinarello was an experience that I’ll never forget. I would like to thank all the sponsors and our team manager, Andrew for making it all possible! I was happy to finally find some race form and take away seven medals to end a highly successful week for Team Giordana/Pinarello!

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My Results:

 UCI road race: 6th

Team Time Trial Prologue: 2nd

Stage One: 2nd

Stage two: 2nd

Stage three: 6th

Stage four: 2nd

Stage five: 2nd

Over all General Classification: 2nd

Sprint Points: 2nd

KOM jersey: 3rd

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ImageAfter the Tour, it was back to Colorado Springs for my last block of Altitude training before heading back home to New Zealand to prepare for Junior Worlds. I climbed the famous mountain ”Pikes Peak”. A 5-hour return trip which has an elevation of 14,200ft. It was a 35km steep climb right up to the top. The other tourists thought I was crazy and wanted pictures with me at the summit!

 

 

A few days later and I was not so lucky enough to get up close and personal with Americas wildlife. Coming down a fast decent a Raccoon came running out from the side of the road and straight into my front wheel, causing me to flip right over my handlebars and go sliding on my face along the road. After a day in the hospital and a trip in the ambulance, I was lucky enough to escape with only a deep cut above my eyebrow needing gluing, concussion and a whole lot of road rash! The sympathy vote ends as soon as the word Raccoon is mentioned, at least I can laugh about it now too!  

 

Despite the highs and lows, my trip to America/Canada has been one I’ll never forget. I come away from this trip with a whole new set of life skills and some great racing experiences to further my cycling career.  A HUGE thank you goes to Jeff and Jo Kiesanowski for all their help, guidance and hospitality. With out you both, this trip would have not been possible, I really appreciate it.  Also another big thank you to everyone who I have met along the way making my experience enjoyable and all giving me all the opportunities that I have had. But for now its time to fly back to NZ and spend a few weeks training hard for the Junior Road World Championships in September in Florence, Italy! I can’t wait to race for that rainbow jersey.

 

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