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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Time to start racing!!

I have now been in America for just under a month and am loving every minute of it. After leaving California, Emma (team mate), Rachel (Manager) and I flew across to Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is where I will be based for the next 7 months and I could not have come to a better place.
Down the road from where I am living, going to be awesome in summer!
At first I was a little worried when Emma described the town as “full of hippies,” although this is very true it is also full of mountains and amazing super markets. We are living in a cute little house about 2km’s outside of the main Asheville town and about 10 minutes (riding) away from
endless climbing. The first day we got here Rachel took us on an ‘easy’ ride, when returning home I had a look at my computer.. 1000 metres of climbing in an hour and a half!! A little different to Dallas last year, where all the locals couldn’t stop talking about their ‘massive’ hill (this consisted of a 3-4% climb lasting around 300 metres), I would go for 5 hours on what was considered
a ‘hilly loop’ and would return having done about 400 metres of climbing.. This is going to be a good year!

Last week I went on a ride with Rachel so she could show me a good loop to go riding on. A week later and I am still buzzing about how awesome it was! Once we had got out of the town part we hit a 30-40 minute windy and steep climb, once reaching the top (and taking some photos of the
view) we got to a road called Blue Ridge Parkway. This road carries on for 500 miles between Virginia and North Carolina and is wide, smooth, and super hilly (ranging in elevation from 600 to 6000 feet). It is often closed off to motor vehicles it certain parts, which it was on this ride, so Rachel and I got the entire road to cruise on, for about 90kms. It also contains a few tunnels which are good to mix it up a bit, except for the part where you cannot see anything for a split second.. adds some excitement to the ride. During the descent we came across some icicles hanging on the side of the road (so had to stop for some photos.. obviously). Once I arrived home I took a look at the computer, this time I had done 2,200 metres, personal best!! Did I mention I love this place? Here’s a link to the Blue Ridge Parkway website, if you ever want to travel to America to do some riding.. come here! http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/
The view from Blue Ridge Parkway, the road follows around all of the mountains.... heaven.
When you look left you get the views over Asheville, when you look right you get icicles.
I have also been doing a lot of indoor training on my sweet new Kinetic trainer.. Usually when I am given efforts to do at home on the wind trainer I get a little depressed and leave training to the last minute, but this new trainer is awesome. It literally feels as though you are riding on a smooth road with no jolting at all, it also came with a super large trainer mat, which we use for gym stuff.. Its about the size of two people. I love the feeling of doing sprints on the trainer and knowing that I am not going to be taking off into the wall on the other side of the room (my one back at home, theres about a 50/50 chance of this happening).
Getting in some trainer efforts on the Kurt Kinetic trainer; http://www.kurtkinetic.com/
One of the many hills I get to ride on every day, if you look closely you can see it zig-zagging down.

I have had the house to myself for the past couple of days while Emma and Rachel headed back to California for the Merco Cycling Classic. This is the first race of the season and we have started off awesomely! The line up for this race is super strong and our girls managed to come away with 4 in the top 10 for the time trial and a 2nd and 3rd in the criterium just yesterday (the winner, Ina Teutenberg is one of the world’s best, and Joelle was less than a wheel away from getting her)! The final stage is today and then they are back in Asheville tomorrow. Then on Friday, the three of us head to Florida to race the Delray beach criterium which is part of the NRC series (National Race Calendar), then we fly back to Asheville, have two days here and then back to California for San Dimas stage race, then to Redlands for another stage race, then Disney Land for my Birthday!! Can’t wait.
Emma and my home made gym..
And just as I finish writting this blog it starts snowing outside! This weather is so unpredictable. One day its 20 degrees the next its negative 5.. Love it!

Will keep everyone updated on how it’s all going.
Thanks for reading,