7 April 2007

Let the racing comence.

Finally got a little time to sit down and write a little bit. Been a case of been too busy and way too lazy to write. Arrived in the Netherlands almost two weeks ago, with getting over jetlag (about 15mins) and enjoying the sun and the MTB trails, the first week was taken up pretty quickly. Half the team was down in Italy racing a couple of early season races, a few more of them were at the Dutch National training camp in Tuscany. So I really had nothing to do except organise my living quarters, ride my bike and relax. I could get my hands on any bikes for a few days, so there was no work at all for the week. It was great to have a few days off, time to recover after my three weeks holiday, a little bit of flying, and having to unpack a few bags, and sort my shit out for a few days before the onslaught starts

Spring is in the air when you ride through fields of daffodils.

The riding was good, it’s always such a nice way to get over travel legs, jet lag, and work lag (which is most difficult). The last week in NZ was pretty busy, filling for the two other mechanics who, were both away racing. It was kind of nice, been so busy with work, finishing off all the difficult jobs we had been putting aside for a few weeks, without all the tomfoolery that goes on in the last week. Being busy meant that I had no time to get excited, that would come with the first races, as I knew I had a fair bit of work to sort out when it finally started. I ended up bringing my 29” Singlespeed MTB, this will be the second SS I have here (one is never enough), but this one has more than one purpose. With the MTB tire 29 X 1.95, it is an awesome bike for the MTB terrain around here, tight, fast, flat singletrack. With sand and loose soil on most of trails, it can roll over everything with ease. A small change of tires to 700 X 32CX, and a little bit bigger gearing, turns it into a wicked single Cyclocross. This is almost the only style of bike you need here for most of the off-road riding around where I live, and would probably be in this state more than others. Another change of tires to a 700 X 23C and bigger gearing and I got a cool roadie. With a small modification, I can also turn it into a street or off road fixie as well. This I was most looking forward to, as I miss having my fixie here, as it’s such a relaxing way to ride in such a flat country. To make things even better, I found even more forest trails on the way to work, this can now add another half an hour easy to the commute, that’s assuming I make it to work at all.

The rear of the truck, Mirjam again looking great on the bike.

We have had a change of sponsors this year, as you already know, a name change, a uniform change, and a few staff and rider changes. These will all be exposed in the weeks to come, as there is too much to show you in one week. I will endeavor to interview, each and every rider (much to their dislike at the idea), but that way you might get to know who I am talking about in some of the race reports. We have a few changes to the bikes and equipment as well, but this is mostly cosmetic changes in the case of the road bikes, a new colour is all that’s different, from what I can tell at this stage. A wicked new carbon TimeTrail bike, is in testing stages for a few of the girls, and it is coming up trumps, with those that have ridden it. And to top it off it looks really spanky, some awesome shapes and aero features, but you are going to have to wait to see these ones.

The new look graphics, and team logo/name.

Racing has already started for me, with the first race last week, the Dolmans Classic. A first time for this race, organized by one of our sponsors. Race report on this next week, along with a full, who won and raced what so far this year. We are also racing the Tour of Flanders tomorrow (sun), this being the biggest one day classic that the Women race. The cool thing is we race the last 140 km of the same course that the men race. With all the hundreds of thousands of spectators that the men attract, as they race about a half hour behind us, chasing the end of the field in. Check it out here, and you can also check out the cobbled climbs that make this race so famous here at Cycling News. We start the race about 15km before the first climb listed here, the cool thing is we miss out the 100 or so km of flat stuff the men are racing before this. Righto, I better get out of bed, I got a truck to pack, and a small drive to the hotel in Belgium.

And this is the art shot of the week, what a sight.

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