After arriving back from Orlova, rest was the last thing I had time for, time for a bit of serious organization of equipment and vehicles. I had almost one full working week to sort out enough wheels, race bikes, TT bikes and the truck for almost a month on the road. We gave ourselves a bit of time to organise a few new modifications for the truck, one’s we have been thinking about for a while, but never had the time or energy to pull off. Klas decided not to head back to the cold wet country of Sweden, but he decided to stay in the beautiful Netherlands for the week to help us out a bit.
We had a bit of work to do on a pile of new wheels that arrived, plenty of tyres to glue and a few bikes to build up for a few races coming up. It will be a busy month for all the staff, and especially busy for me, as I am the lucky one that gets to go to all the races. This weekend the truck leaves for the green pastures of Switzerland, loaded to the gunnels with equipment for almost four weeks away from home base. But first we have a race to run in the neighbourhood, part of the Dutch Top Competition, Omloop van Borsele Borsele. Here we have a full team racing, plus all the bikes, wheels etc, racing from the car for a change. Directly after this race has finished (unless we are on the podium), we race to Switzerland (only 750km) to catch up with the rest of the team and the truck. On Sunday we have the 5th World Cup of the season, in the beautiful town of Bern. The World Cup racing is starting to get serious, with half of them raced, some of the teams are starting to get nervous. For us, we are not really concentrating on the WC series, but we race them just in case, it always looks good for the sponsors. We have a few national teams racing this one as well, with the Kiwi’s racing in their full glory, it will be nice to see the black shirts back in the peloton, hopefully we won’t see them too far off the back of the peloton. A new course for this year, a little bit longer and harder climbs, so it should be interesting.
From Switzerland we head into the south of France to prepare for the biggest stage race of the season. The Tour de l’Aude is really the ‘Tour de France’ for Women, not to be confused with the Route de France, which is commonly thought of as the ‘Tour’. The l’Aude is a ten day stage race, featuring some of the more demanding climbs and stages in any of the racing we do for the year. It’s the longest in distance, got the highest climbs, and the most DNF’s of any stage race, it’s more a race of survival, and you better be prepared for this one. We are the current defenders of the title, winning the race for the last two years, winning the Team TT stages, and having most of the team in the top ten for the entire race. This is ‘Ambers’ race, one the whole team races just for her, but we also take it as it comes, first in front gets the team riding for them, Amber being the climber, seems always to be in front. Hope we get a little bit of competition this year, cause it was embarrassing last year with 1 through to 6 places held almost for the entire first week (I didn’t race this one last year, I was still recovering from my hand injury gained in Gracia). All of the biggest trade teams will be racing like hell for this one, as it is the most prestige win you can gain as a rider. We also have the Kiwi’s racing as well, and it’s almost their training grounds on a few of the stages, so they should have no excuses this time around. With a reasonably experienced team this year, they should be able to hang in a lot longer than last year. At least most of them would know the level of training need for this race, and should be a lot more prepared.
I then have a few days off, getting ready for a bit more travel, this time to Montreal in Canada for a few races. Round six of the World Cup series. And then we have a three day stage race in the same surroundings, with the same teams. At this stage we will be taking a small team of four, Amber making her own way from the States (she leaves for there after the l’Aude). At this stage, I have been brought in as team leader, Director and Mechanic, so should be a busy week as well.
Righto, time to try and pack my bag and get some sleep. I will try to find some internet in the next few weeks, but good old France is a bit difficult in the areas we are racing in, but I will find a way.