Tuesday, 6 November 2012

New things...

So! It's been a pretty overwhelming few months with a lot going on, big decisions to make and opportunities to take.

I haven't updated since the World Champs as it's pretty much been full gas since!

Looking back to then am sure most of you saw or heard but there was a very epic pile up/crash in the women's race and unfortunately I had the joy of being part of it. Here's a  pretty great video that sums up the crash and  'my worlds experience'! :



Unfortunately for us (Team NZ) 3 of us came down in this spill; Linda used her experience to get straight back up and successfully made it back to the peloton and even come in a very impressive 7th.
 It amazed me how cool and calm she was in the crash situation. A good learning curve for me as I spent my time in the crash area fretting away and panic-ing up a storm!
Big ups to her and also her 3rd place in the World time trial. Super impressive.
Unfortunately Kate also came down and injured her scaphoid in the process and although I was unhurt and set for the chase, my poor wee bike was not so fine so I spent 5 minutes together waiting for her to be repaired.Chris (BikeNZ) did a top job of getting things back together but I was just a tad too long and any hope of rejoining the peloton was lost. I chased with the likes of Ellen VanDjk for a good few laps but it was over rover from the time of the crash.

Although the race itself was pretty horrendous, the whole week and experience was a fantastic time and one I have certainly learn't from. The Dutch put on a great event and the atmosphere was crazy cool! Something I will never forget. Cheers to a great team of people from BikeNZ in supporting us and making it all happen and run smoothly. Mark Matthews is a trooper!

From left; Kate, Linda, Emma and myself at the team presentation.

Unfortunately, crashing and mishaps are a big part of cycling we have to endure every once and a while; I've learn't slowly but have now accepted that they're just part of the sport and we all have our share of them or bad luck. It did very much SUCK but onward and upwards! Hopefully plenty of opportunities to come!

Finishing up with the Worlds experience, I was back to Belgium to farewell Mat, Kym and baby Harper Hayman before heading to Amsterdam for a day at the shops then finally back to the big USA for a few weeks of fun and goodbyes.
Great to catch up with Robert and Pam Lerner who have been so good to me this year!
I also managed to spend a week in SF city with good family friends Di and Steve Barclay and was lucky enough to spend the week getting amongst the America's cup world series regatta down in the SanFran harbor. So much fun and definitely a different scene to the cycling - a nice change and a great way to spend a few weeks off the bike! - had no idea sailing was so exciting ; very tactical!
Highlights of the week had to be catching the Blue Angels (air show) and hitting up the Oracle arena for none other than Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon live - next level AHHSUM. Just happened to be a private concert too so unlimited food and drinks made an even better night!

(On arrival back to the USA I had the opportunity to be part of this great crew at the Canary Foundation in the Bay Area, CA. These people are truly AWESOME - they are all sponsors of the Canary Challenge (fun ride) to raise money for cancer research.  I had the best few days with them)!

 Following a great few weeks in the sun with team mates and American friends It was back to NZ. 8 months on the road and safe to say I was dead keen to get home to kiwitown. Homesickness was certainly starting to kick in!
I've now been back a few weeks and it's been great. So nice to see the fam and catch up with friends. Funny to think that pretty much everything's 'same old' here in Auckland.
After a good 3 or so week break I've just got back on the bike and am now rearing to go for the 2013 season.!
San Fran harbor

There's a few events here in NZ I'll be heading to in preparation that should be great good fun; starting with crit Nationals in Takapuna (Auckland) this Friday night. After just over a week on the bike, fair to say it's bound to hurt. Nonetheless am stoked to be back riding on two wheels... just hope I don't get too thrashed
Over this past month I've had some pretty exciting news...I've just recently signed with new women's Pro team: DPTC Honda Pro Cycling. The team has now been announced and it's all very exciting stuff for me. See article by Bart Hazen (Daily Peloton)  http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=20333

Break time = pizza and wine

It's been a difficult time as leaving Vanderkitten-Focus has been very tough for me. It's not like any other team; we all get on extremely well and it's been the best few years for me with VK. Over these years I've come away with some best mates and have met so many great people who have been so good and supportive to me. 
This team is the best and one I won't ever forget! #VK4Life

BIG thanks to Jono Coulter, Dave Verecchia, Captain Jenn X, all the VK girls and team sponsors over these years. You are the best.

Dave and Jeannie's gorgeous bubba Tatum. So tiny!

Also a special thanks to the Lerners, Tina Pic, the Barclays, the Haymans, the Hladys, the Colwells, the Bay area crew and all the fantastic people who have hosted and looked after me over these years! So many great people.

Yeahh girls

It's a sad thing saying goodbye but I am so ready for the opportunities that lie ahead in making the jump to a pro European team. The team has been developed and will be managed by Commonwealth games Gold medalist, Rochelle Gilmore & leading lady and 2 x World Road champ Giorgia Bronzini will be a big feature of the team, along with the Olympic Gold winners for the track pursuit (London 2012); Great Britain girls; Laura Trott, Dani King & Joanna Rowsell plus a string of other great upcoming riders. It's going to be a big step for me and one I'm nervous but looking forward to taking!

Follow the team here at:
and like us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DreamTeamProCycling for updates!

OTHER exciting news...

New sponsor Rocktape New Zealand will now be supporting me and my cycling journey.http://www.rocktape.co.nz/
BIG thanks to RocktapeNZ -  I'm stoked to be on board and hopefully some good years to come together.
Follow RocktapeNZ @:

I've used Rocktape for the past two years whether it be for injuries, (serious or niggly) to taping back my shoulders to keep the posture in tact (can get terrible when you've been on a bike 4 hours)!
Anyway, now Rocktape is in NZ and it's the best stuff - so get amongst!

Rocking some Rocktape at the Tour of America's Dairylands 2012!

Another massive thanks to Core Builders Composites who have been an ongoing support through 2011-12. Such a huge help to me and pursuing my cycling - so thank you!

Last but not least a big thanks to Tony Smith and Specialized NZ who will be supporting me over the New Zealand summer of racing and events! A very exciting summer to come - Cheers Tony!
I was lucky to be part of the Specialized crew at the World triathlon champs here in Auckland last week working at the expo; they have a great team and it was a lot of fun. Big respect for triathletes - pain and more pain!
Check them out at:

Now it's just back to the training game, a bit of work to get set for 2013 and have thankfully just finished my 2012 studies at Massey University with an exam Monday morning...phew, what a relief that's over. After 4 years have decided I've 'forgotten' how to study...if that's possible ;)
Other than that, catching up and spending time with fam and friends is certainly on the cards. Coldplay concert this weekend then bring on NZ summer!

Definitely very excited to be attending for the third time, the NSW Grandprix series early December as part of the Bates Bikes team in Sydney who have been very supportive of us kiwi's - such a great crew of people and a fantastic event that I can't wait to get over for. Some nice Sydney sun won't go a miss that's for sure.

Fam dinner minus sister Livs. Very supportive parents Lou and Danzo xx

A  few more things...

Thanks Roadcycling.co.nz for the interest - it's great to have your support! Glenn Te Raaki took the time to interview me this arvo. Check it here at: http://www.roadcycling.co.nz/RaceTalk/collins-to-join-the-dream-team.html

Follow me on twitter at:
https://twitter.com/EmilyCollins_NZ for more regular updates.
I was peer pressured into joining the craze by Jaz and Kate and glad I made the move as is the best way to keep up to date on all the cycling goss and action!

All for now! Cheers,


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Euro Racing

Finally have a bit of time on the hands in between biking, travelling and uni ( or as Americans would say, ‘School’) so getting onto an update.

As the US season was coming to a quick end in August, I made a swift decision to jet on over to Europe to get the most out of the 2012 season. I definitely wasn’t ready to call it a year so am very glad I opted for this choice!

I finished my US season on a good note, winning the Fast & Furious Criterium, Pleasanton, California. Awesome day on the bikes for Vanderkitten and although was a bit sad being my last US race with VK for 2012, was thrilled at how the race panned out and my team mates efforts in getting me the Win.

Following Pleasanton I had a few weeks to train it up in the Bay area with plenty of tough days in the saddle and lots of Bay group rides to help keep the hurt up.!

Mid August I was on a plane and headed for Amsterdam...and what a trip! I arrived at Schipol after a pretty cruisy flight – that was all fine but then there was catching the train with bike box, bag and other ‘crap’. Definitely tested out my ‘guns’ (*muscles)  getting on each train. After a bit of a journey and one book later I made it to Maastricht where I was met by friendly Aussies Mat Hayman, Kym Shirley and their gorgeous wee toddler Harper, good friends of my Aussie director, Jono.

I’ve had a great time staying with these guys. They’ve been such a big help and super welcoming + Harper is pretty top entertainment on a day to day basis. Also, loving the Aussie (also Kiwi) summer Barbecues – no shrimp on the Barbie yet though...

I had just over a week to get over the old jet lag and get into gear for my first big Euro Tour for 2012, The Lotto Decca UCI 2.2 in Belgium where I would be guest riding for Dutch cycling team Boretti-Ulysses; 3 days of fun...

We arrived the night before the Tour to our accommodation; guess you would call it a hostel but kind of reminded me of camp with the bunk beds, communal bathrooms and the food! Here I got to meet part of the team; Director, Frits Dickhout, handy man Edwin, Swedish gals; Sara Olssen and Johanna Nillson, Irish/Brit Lauren Creamer and Brit Tamina Oliver + very helpful partner Steve. Joining us later would be Miss Penny Rowson and Hannah Walker - both English girls. (A Dutch team with no Dutch riders)! I was very glad to arrive to good company and friendly team mates. No one was too impressed with night one pre race dinner however...a lovely Belgian dish of sausages, gravy and Spinach mash (green slop)! 

Day 1 was a bit of a surprise – 158 starters! I knew what to expect as I’ve seen it and done it before in 2010 when I spent part of the season racing for Dutch team, SwaboLadies. It’s full gas from the gun and doesn’t stop! No dilly dallying around with these girls that’s for sure!

The race was flat as a pancake and the winds were up there so I knew it’d be quick.
As soon as we set off it all started coming back to me – the elbows were out everywhere, the fight for that wheel and the dash to get into position was on – CHAOS to say the least!
I had to take a wee breather and get myself together after the first few km. From then I switched that ‘worry’ trigger and 'what the heck am I doing here'! off in my head and got right on in there with them.

I was feeling great, on fire even, so got into aggressive mode and started flying some attacks and following moves. A few may have been silly or pointless but I was in the position where there was nothing to lose so why not go for it...After multiple tries I got myself into a break of 5 or 6 riders. We only stayed away for just under a lap of the race. Luckily I still felt pretty strong and managed to hold it together. After over 100km the sprint to the finish was just pure craziness! Girls tapping butts and elbowing all over the show – I got out of it and gassed into the wind up the left – bit too much energy expended but was happy to finish SAFE in 13th.

From day one it only got better and after another flat day into big winds, on a fairly technical course I came in 6th. Big name Kirsten Wild won her second consecutive stage and held the GC lead. I moved into 2nd in the young rider classification and with one day to go knew I’d have to step up my game.

The final day was definitely last but not least. A tough course set to ride twice up the paved side of the MUUR (a famous Belgian climb) and twice up the cobbled side + 5 x up a nasty cobbled drive including the finish...PAIN CAVE!

I wasn’t as alert today and didn't make the very early race break that went clear with around ten riders. I missed it but wasn’t too worried as Kirsten and the other main GC contenders were still back in the peleton. After several times up the Muur the field had really shred and the gap to the break was thinning down. I was definitely suffering but really dug deep to hang in there with the leading chase.

On the final lap we at last caught the break after AA-Drink nailed it on the front to get Kirsten back up there.
Once we caught them, attacks were flying from all directions and without team mates there it made it a bit tough to pick the right one. I went with multiple moves to go for the stage win but in the end missed the winning move of Ellen Van Dyk (Specialized Lululemon), Liesbeth DeVocht (Rabobank) and Lisa B (Specialized Lululemon). Although disappointed to miss this, my main goal was to snatch the young riders classification. I ended up winning the bunch kick up the final cobbles to take 4th on the stage and the young riders class + moved into 5th in the overall general classification. Was stoked to say the least! Big ups to Ellen Van Dyk and team Specialized Lululemon for taking the win. Very impressive team work.

Post Lotto Decca it was back to Belgium – a shift to Mat and Kym’s sweet new pad, some down time and training around Limburg. I also got some great news that I’d been given the nod to race the World champs road race - so definitely made my week! 

Next big Tour to check off was the Tour de L’Ardeche. Another UCI tour but this time South of France. We kicked off things with a pretty epic 12 hour drive in the Boretti team car. The car trip began early so involved little chat and a lot of ‘beauty sleep’ for us girls; myself, Sara and Johanna! The Swedish 'beats' were yet to come out!

We arrived to a beautiful Ardeche sunset where I met new team mate and total character Marjetka Conradi and her bif who was a great help all week, Mark. We then rolled out for a quick spin into the sunset before settling in for the week at our highly rated holiday camp ground – definitely an up grade from Lotto Decca!!

From left: Johanna, Penny, Marjetka, me and Sara

Just a quick recap on how the tour went down...
Ardeche began with a quick wee 2.4km prologue and this was only just the beginning of a whole lot of pain and suffering! Following the prologue the tour consisted of 6 stages over 5 days including one double day with a quick but technical ITT.

The first few days wern’t fantastic for me, I had some bad luck with missing a very early break (around 5km in)! on stage one that was pretty much the ‘winning move’ of the whole tour! So all GC hopes were put away following that but gave me a good incentive to really go for the stages.
Good lesson learnt !! Be alert and race ready from the word go!!

Stage 3  I got caught behind a bugger of a crash just coming into the first big 15km climb of the day – so spent a lot of time chasing, including down the crazy fun 20km decent!

Each day got better from here. Coming into stage 4’s crazy 128km day I was a bit apprehensive. The profile was off the charts crazy! All UP/DOWN – no kidding! I really didn’t no how I’d get on and after the last few days my moral was a little low.


The stage began at the base, (yes right at the base) of a lovely 10km climb – JOY!
I’m usually one to take a while to get into a race so wasn’t surprised to feel crappy in the first few km. To have every rider around you scrambling for a wheel to get into position and UPhill was a real challenge and kind of got the better of me mentally. I took a deep few breaths though and chilled out a bit and after a few km got myself into a good rhythm. This really seemed to work out and I ended up feeling great up the climb and working my way back up to the second group just behind the leading group of prestigious climbers including the likes of Emma Pooley and Ashleigh Moolman.

From climb one it was do or die. On this stage you not only had to climb ok but you needed to be able to descend. Following each epic climb came an almost as epic descent. FUN but had to be mentally alert 24/7!

After  a lot of hard work and some great chasing with the Lotto Belisol girls we at long last caught the leaders. At this point we’d climbed over 45km and I was absolutely smashed. Nonetheless I was thrilled to have caught them and knew If  I could hang in there til the finish I’d have a good shot at the stage. So I got some gels in, refuelled and got the head functioning again! I managed to hold on and coming into the last flat 10k (only flat of the stage)! I felt strong. Attacks were going to try and take the stage and I went with a few moves – was a bit challenging again having no team mates to help cover but I felt confident I could go with a few and still be ok if it came to a sprint.
Coming into the final few km I found Joelle Numainville's (top Canadian sprinter & all round classy rider) wheel and tried to hold it through the chaos. I got a bit caught up coming into the final km and ended up going pretty early. Was very pleased to hold it to finish 3rd in the stage though and take my first European UCI podium placing on a stage.

The following stages were just as brutal and it was all about the elite climbers. Stage 5 I decided my best bet would be to get up the road before the first big climb of the day as I knew the prestige group of climbers and GC goers would be putting the hurt on hard! Unfortunately, the break went at around 10km and I waited a little too long to get with it. I ended up going and spending a lot of effort to get up to it, catching it right at the base of a climb – not so fun!! I hit a wall hard and found myself in no mans land in the middle of the break and the peleton with another rider for over 20km. Once I knew we couldn’t catch them we decided our best bet was to push hard to get over the big 15km climb – this worked out perfectly as the small leading group caught us right at the top and most of the field had been dropped. Now all I had to do was hang in there and hope that we caught the break.

We ended up catching most of the breakaway as it fell apart but several leaders stayed away and Carla Ryan of AADrink took the stage as she went away solo . Fantastic effort on her behalf as was a tough stage and killer finish up a nasty kicker of a climb!

I managed to finish top 20 so wasn’t too bad an effort – by the finish was absolutely done though! Was very proud of all the Boretti girls making it through to the finish in good time also - great effort.

We decided to bail on the post race meal provided and opt for some delish French Pizza - SO good  & well deserved!!

The final day was just a ‘hang on for dear life’ stage for me. The profile was again very challenging with multiple very steep kicks. The legs and body were not too happy to be back on the bike !!! I managed to hang in the chase group behind the Emma Pooley group of ten riders and finish top 20 on the stage and general classification - so on a fairly good note.  To finish this tour alone was a fantastic achievement for all riders who did – Pain was definitely NOT temporary throughout as it just kept coming ;) I taught the Boretti girls the old HTFU (Harden the F**k Up) quote which I hoped helped at some points during the tour, as it usually tends to push me on a little further! 

My respect for the Tour de France riders has always been high but that respect increased a lot more after racing this tour - France sure does have some nasty climbs  and back to back constant battles up them is tough ! Much appreciated scenery POST race though that's for sure :)

We finished up the tour with a swim in the lake, a team dinner and a bit of fun – The Boretti’s were a good crew and I had a great few weeks of racing with them – so THANKS & danjewel Frits, girls, Mark, Steve and Edwin. It’s always nice racing in a relaxed, easy going environment. Great racing and a lot of fun along the way!

We made sure Frits and right hand man Mark, knew how much we appreciated their help by  setting this  up  before the last stage - it stayed on through the convoy to the end!

Now it’s been back to Belgie for some much needed R&R, some cruisy recovery rides, plenty of coffee hanging out with the Haymans, a bit of time checking out the worlds course and browsing Maastricht city.

I've just arrived last night to Valkenburg where I’ll be staying with the NZ team for the week leading up to Worlds. 
It's my Birthday today and I woke up to a nice bunch of facebook messages & emails from friends back home and Stateside - has made my day so THANKS - and what better way to spend a Bday in Europe, livin' the dream ( 'my' dream as my friend Amy would correct)! Post worlds I'll have to celebrate properly in true Euro style!

 The women's race is on this Saturday the 22nd at 2.30pm (NL) and should be live streamed for anyone keen to cheer for the kiwis! (yet to find the link...) Looking forward to it.! (Check www.limburg2012.nl for other info on the event).

Ciao for now or tot ziens! 


ALSO - big cheers to Jono Coulter, Vanderkitten-Focus, Lou&Dan and the Haymans + Core Builders Composite and VK team sponsors; Vanderkitten Athletics, FOCUS Bikes, Kask, Vittoria Cycling Shoes, Smith Optics, Chamois Buttr', Nuun, Kenda, JLVelo, Defeet, Rocktape &TRP. Your support is much appreciated!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

3 months of fun.

So...has been a very busy, tiring but fun 3 months of racing across America. When I last updated I'd just finished up the Sea Otter Classic in Northern California and it seems like so long ago now!

My fellow 'foreign' team mates and I have now been traveling from race to race since early May...not gonna lie, definitely over living out of the old suitcase ! Just a quick recap on what's been happening...

We started our big excursion with a flight in to St Louis, Missouri where team mate Maura Kinsella was born and raised...it was definitely an eye opener as to why miss MK is such a 'gangster' ;-)
Here we raced the Tour de Grove crit series; 3 days with a National Crit Calendar event on the Saturday. We had some good results and Captain Jenn X Reither finished it up superbly taking the big WIN on the final day after a very gustsy late race get-away. Go gurl

 * Jenn and I @ Tulsa...pool party? She pushed me ! So she came too...

From Missouri we flew into Connecticut where we stayed in Norwalk with our East Coast teamie KB - Kathleen Billington and her hubby Mr Greg Wolf (aka. Wormy). Here we spent a week or so training it up on some pretty sweet ground before heading off to Gatineau, Canada for a UCI road race. This was my first time crossing the border and was quite the experience. We got queried a fair bit and almost - but not quite had the car raided...too many foreign people present!

Canada was a pretty cool time, even though we only had a few days there. The biggest highlight of the trip was most definitely all you can eat Sushi...this will never be forgotten by those who were lucky enough to be there. 72 rolls later and we were all carbo loaded for the race the next day...just great.'

The race ended up being really tough but a great day for Vanderkitten. Greg Wolf was taking on the roll of team director while Jono was busy in California. It was a new experience as he was very set on each rider's committment at different points in the race. My job was to be aggressive throughout the first half of the race and try and get something going. All up, everyone did what was asked and it ended up working out well for us. Coming into the final 3km after 120km of racing we had 3 riders in a split of 15 - a very chaotic finish with multiple crashes...I was in perfect position and was being well protected by team mates Jazzy and Kate but ended up crashing on the final corner. - The worst feeling ever is knowing how close you were and what might have been !! Frustrating to say the least but was happy to have Jaz and Kate both in the top ten. Part of the cycling game I guess!!

Post Gatineau we were back to Norwalk...for some training but mainly just healing up for me after banging up my hip.

Next big event on the cards was Philadelphia's, Liberty Classic, also a big UCI ranked event.
This race is definitely a favourite of mine, mainly due to the exciting crowds that come out to get in the action. The course is around 25km and we were set to do 4 laps. Each lap we go up 'the Manyunk wall' and whoa what a b***h of a wee climb! It may be short but it sure does make you hurt...
The wall is lined up with fun; party goers, lots of beer drinkers and general fans...this makes it even more of a blur !
The hardest part of the race is probably the fight for position each lap coming up to the wall. It was crazy! but lots of fun all in all. I managed to get through and was in a pretty great position coming into the final km sitting on Ina Teutenberg's (cycling legend) wheel fairly comfortably. The sprint was just total chaos though and unforuntaly got caught up in the Tibco lead out train on the inside. Managed to finish in 11th so wasn't too bad but was pretty bummed!

* Phily support crew
*Phily site seeing...Rocky (The gun show)

Post Phily we faced the glorious drive in our new team van 'Sharon' aka Shaz or Shazza...from Phily to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sharon became part of the team in Phily and yes she is babein'.

20 or so hours later and an overnight stop off at the Kinsella household we made it...

Tulsa was a blast. We stayed with super cool host 'sister' Hill Taylor and had a tonne of Double shot coffee (the best coffee I've had in Amurica),
 Tulsa Tough is a 3 day crit series. I ended up coming in 4th overall and was 1st young rider so wasn't a bad effort. Good fun and good people. Tulsa is def up there on the top places of the year list.

* Tulsa Tough - final day (CRY BABY hill)...literally! Photo by Tony Khalaf

 * Super cool VK supporters on CBH, Tulsa

Following Tulsa we were straight off to Minnesota for the National calendar event; Nature Valley grandprix - a 5 day stage race. We had a pretty good week minus a crazy storm - a stage being cancelled and a few crashes...! I came away with a podium finish in the 130k Menomonie road race. It was a pretty brutal race and some great riders were present so was stoked to get a good result.
We ended the Tour with a sweet night out in downtown Minneapolis...cyclists can get rowdy!?

* Roger Sitterly - NVGP Menomonie Road race Podium

 * With Captain Jenn X and Aussie's Loren Lozza Rowney and Bec Werner post race. (Roger Sitterly)

Post NVGP I was pretty smoked but after a few days off and a cruisy drive over to Wisconsin we were ready for our next big one; the Tour of America's Dairylands...11 days of racing - 9 one hour criteriums and two 100km road races.
We had a good squad of riders present so all up went pretty well. With some great team work and support I came away with 2nd overall in the general classification and 2nd in the final National Crit Calendar series. After 11 days of solid racing was pretty mentally cracked! Definitely learnt a lot along the way though...was great to be able to race against top American sprinter Laura Van Gilder. What a tank! Very cool to be able to learn from her and pick up some tips for future ref..;-)
All up, we had a great few weeks staying with the Larson's who were awesome hosts to the Vanderkittens. Good times.

* Team photo by Roger Sitterly. Kate, KB, me, Jazzy, Bridie and Starla
* Dairylands dinner - with Miss Liza Rachetto. Great night but unfortunately took a dip in the lake and lost my favourite sunnies...total bummer

Finally, post Wisconsin most of the team headed back to Cali. Jaz and I decided to use our spare 10 days to go somewhere new. We opted for Boulder, Colorado as it's at high altitude and very mountainous...so thought it could be good prep for our next big stage race Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon, also at altitude.
We stayed with top dogs Jon Husk and Jamie Emerson just out of downtown Boulder. The first few days were definitely a struggle with the altitude - really was like breathing through a straw! The second day we went out riding with the lads up one of the big climbs was puffin' the whole way and Jon was kind enough to label me the tomato. Great ride...

* Jamie, Jon and I @ 10,000 ft ...no worries.

The altitude did get easier after a few days of settling in which was good. Other than some good riding we did a bit of cheeky shopping...- let's call it browsing, and catching up with friends. Was a good, chilled ten days and was pretty nice to not have to think about racing for a bit....we all need a breather at some point!

* Catching up with little Charlie, Brian and Carolyn Dallas downtown.

The boys took us out downtown on our last night to a bar called 'The Downer' - very appealing?!
Was good fun; a few drinks, good company and even semii learn't how to play darts.

Now, feeling refreshed and ready to go. We're currently in Boisee, Idaho for the NRC twilight criterium this evening...very cool as it's equal prize payout for men and women - so very encouraging! Tomorrow we will hit the road to Bend, Oregon to start the 6 day Cascade Cycling classic. Hopefully some good ones to come...!

Monday, 30 April 2012


So, has been a while since last update!

First few races up in the US were pretty disappointing, just kept getting sick and sick again... Has been a pretty frustrating few months but after speaking with a great doctor from back home got some answers straight away and the past month I've been feeling much like my old self. Turns out the virus I had back in  mid december was a gastro virus that tends to 'linger' for months and buggers up your immune system. So explains why I'd been sick so many times since then. Good to get some answers for sure, and after some recommendations on how to deal with it am feeling pretty much  back to 100 :-)

I was pretty nervous coming into Sea Otter (a four day stage race in California) due to my previous races in Socal and also really wanting to do well. Last year at this race I broke my wrist on the final stage/final km to knock me out of 3rd GC. Bummer!

Over the four days Vanderkitten had some good results and I ended up getting up on the podium on day 1 (a tough hairpin criterium) behind NOW and Novatis' Alison Powers and Specialized Lululemon's Loren Rowney.

In the circuit race I came in 5th, pretty bummed as we really wanted to win this one. Alison Powers proved too strong for all riders, winning all four stages!!
All up, I was just stoked to be B.I.A and feeling fit and healthy - am now hungry for more ;-)
The team rode well together which was cool, we still have a lot to learn about each other (bike wise) and what we can do but we're getting there.

Next up on the schedule we have Catshill Classic ( - a criterium with a very tough wee climb each lap), that will be on Saturday the 5th followed by Dana Point Criterium in Socal on the 6th (if we have the energy to roady 6 hours after Catshill to get there)!! Think we will though, as it's in Orange County - e.g. The O.C! yehuu. May have to stop by Laguna and check out L.C's pad...

Then our big 'Amurican' trip begins on the 10th of May when we will fly out to Missouri to kick off things at the Tour de Grove, an NCC (National Crit calendar) event. From there the list goes on....we'll hit New York, Canada, Philadelphia, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado,Idaho, Oregon and then roll back to Cali late July. Going to be a big 3 months of race and travel. Can't wait!

Other than all this cycling biz, we've still been managing to have some fun along the way.
In the area I'm staying in there's a bunch of pretty alright Australians as well as Kate Chill from NZ so there's always people to hang with.
Last week we had an ANZAC day bbq at Bec's and even got a bita 'shrimp on the barbie mate'. Crikey dick... Bec (an Auccie) made a pretty hard to beat Pavlova so give her credit for that. But she did try to claim that pav's are Australian. What a joke!

Post Sea Otter we also managed to have a bit of fun in downtown Monterey with the Vanderkitten's and other teams that were racing at a local pub. Even got into some pretty serious karaoke...Queen, Abba and a bit of miss Miley.

On Wednesday, the team of Aussies, and a bunch of Amuricans all cruised in for the Stahl ride (a decent endurance ride that changes routes every week). All of us were only planning on heading out for 3 - 4hours max. Little did we know we'd be gone 6!
We ended up being led all the way out to the coast near San Francisco on what they call the 'Planet of the Apes' ride as we head over a 3mile dirt mountain. Was pretty epic! Several punctures later and a few bails here and there (not naming names)...;-) we got to Half moon bay where we had a wee break, refuelled on coke, coffee and snacks before heading home over Tenetis creek mountain...no worries climbing 40minutes after 4 hours of riding. Phew, it was definitely a tough day but a lot of fun!

This past weekend Jazzy, Kate, Maura, Jenn X and Court - all Vanderkitten girls hit up the Bicycle trip in Santa Cruz for a team car wash to fundraise a little for the team and our upcoming travel. Lucky for us it was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine so we had plenty of customers but woah what hard work!! Our arms were dead by the end of the day. We finished up on a good note with Sushi downtown. Thanks Jenn and Court, top dogs for organising a good day.

Lastly, we had Aussie team mate's Bridie (whom we call miss 'Birdie Shivorn' as she loves to speak like a Southener) Birthday bash last night at KCM's. Good food, good people and fun chats. I've now been made the team baker after a few successful dishes. Don't think it'll last long...

Post Catshill this weekend we are all off to the city (San Fran) to see the Jezabels (an Aussie band). Looking forward to that and stoked we are now all 21 in the USA! (was Kate's 21st Birthday a few weeks back). Fun times ahead ...!

Monday, 12 March 2012


Just a quick wee update on how team camp went and what's new.

A few days after arrival was straight to it to meet the gang. We started off with a very frosty ride over highway 9 (about 30minutes). It wasn't too good a sign when we began FREEZING climbing up. Safe to say, the descent was hell! So cold was close to tears/pretty sure the rain pouring down our faces could've been a mixture of both! Fun times chattering with Ruth, Jazz, Court and Kathleen.
Thankfully we were saved by toppie team manager Jono Coulter. Legend he was took us the rest of the way to get warm and fed. !

Throughout the week we were very lucky to stay with Courtney VAN (makes her sound fast/Euro) Dimpel (VK), her family and neighbours Don and Nancy in Aptos, on their farm. (8 horses)! They were great and made us feel right at home.

All up was a great week of meeting, team bonding and getting excited for the upcoming season + lots of photo taking thanks to Jason PEZZA Perry aka Ledg. and Chris See, especially at the VK team launch in Los Altos where the team/VK sponsors were announced. Thanks to Bruce from Cyclingnews for being there to interview the team!

Big ups to team mate Maura Kinsella for providing the group with 24/7 'cray cray' entertainment. Yeah gurl...And of course Miss Jenn X 'captain' Reither, KCM, Jono and Dave  for their top organisation of the VK's. Reow. (check Maura's blog here for a lol http://maurakinsella.wordpress.com/ - serious entertainment)

Thanks also to Courtney Dimpel for making sure Ruth and I weren't eaten by the roaming Mountain Lions throughout the week.!
 We get off pretty light in NZ.

Only bummer about camp was still wasn't a hundred after NZ tour's chest cold so had to take it fairly easy on the bike - pretty hard when your team mates are out riding longer - at least I had the joy of getting a bit of study done to kill time.

This week Kate (Chilly Chilcott of NZ) and I have been back in the Bay area at the Vanacht's settling in and cruising round/training! on our very cool Focus bikes. Feeling heaps better and enjoying some nice Bay group rides + some Ameerican coffee. (not a patch on NZ)! but drinkable... Apart from riding us 'kiwis' have been hanging out with Jono and the other VK girls in the area, Jazzy Hurikino from Aussie (enjoys the company of dingo's) and Kathleen (KB) Billington from the east coast. (likes an m&m or three and calls Tuesday Toos-dee ) plus catching up with the crew from last year and meeting new people along the way.

A trip to the city is still on the to do list: fortunately for me, Kate is also a keen shopper and enjoys a good spend up on 'essential'  items. We're still both patiently waiting to visit Urban Outfitters - a trip to San Fran is definitely on the cards after Redlands!

This Wednesday we head to SoCal to kick off the US season with San Dimas stage race on Friday. Following this we'll hit the big Redlands Classic stage race (a national calendar event) which will be brutal! The fields for both events are pretty classy with pro teams, Lululemon, Exergy and TIBCO + more all present. The big guns will be out there making it tough for sure...hopefully VK can stick it to them !!

Big THANKS to Core Builders Composites (NZ)

and Vankerkitten Focus Sponsors:

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  • DeFeet
  • Focus Bikes USA
  • Vanderkitten
  • Vittoria Shoes