Saturday, 7 November 2015

Season round up and upcoming plans

So, each time I write a blog the time between grows. Since arriving back to NZ last week I've had a few people mention they've missed the odd update on here and decided anyway that it's about time!

Guess time flies when you're having fun...and since June it's flown by pretty quick. Can't believe it's already November and the 2015 season and off season is already behind us! (well almost)

After a rocky start to my US season in March battling a few issues after overdoing it a bit throughout the NZ summer, I managed to bounce back around June after making some changes and getting right. Things started to turn round during a 2 week training period at altitude in Colorado, following some rest. I had great company staying with one of my favourite ex team mates, Jenn Reither in Denver and the Donohue family in Boulder (so much fun with this crew)! All up a good few weeks were spent rebuilding for the remainder of the season and enjoying the lovely Colorado.

Following Colorado, I had a series of  races to get back into the swing of things; Gatineau in Canada (a one day UCI race), Philly World cup and the Airforce Cycling classic to finish off a nice set in Washington. I was pretty happy to be back to it, feeling fit, healthy and motivated for our European block and with that managed to jump on the podium along the way! Great fun getting back into the US crit scene to finish things up; always crowds and tough racing.

Next up I was jetsetting back to Europe to the lovely Spain! Safe to say I missed it there a lot early season, not just the Euro racing but my friends and Girona family.

I had a few weeks to train and get back into the Spanish, late night, sleep in culture before the next block and oh so good to be back to siestas!

First stop was the beach to catch up with Michael after a long few months spent apart.

 Following a neat few weeks training and catching up it was off for a 3 week block racing in Czech at The Tour de Feminin a 3 day 2.2 tour, Thüringen Rhundfahrt a 7 day 2.1 tour and lastly Sparkassen World Cup, also in Germany.

To sum things up, all went pretty well for myself and the team. We hit the ground running in Czech with plenty of podiums and Lauren Stephens coming home with 2nd in the general classification. I was reasonably pleased to snag a few podiums in sprint finishes as last lead out for Kendall.
The best thing here was being back to Euro racing and (about time) having some good fighting race legs!

Following Czech we were on the road to Germany to prepare for 7 days of hurt in the very pretty, but bumpy East, Thüringen region. Lucky for good fitness at this time as there was no stuffing around, from day 1 it was on! I managed to get set up well on the opening stage by the team to have a nice crack at the finish, a technical final 1km with a few turns, a bit of road furniture, some rail tracks, oh and cobbles! I rolled in for 3rd behind Lisa Brennauer and Lotta Lepisto and wasn't too disappointed with the result. Following the time trial on day 2 we had Lauren sitting in a comfortable 2nd after her great ride there. This meant for a pretty tough week of aggressive racing trying to break down the Velocio team who were doing a stellar job of protecting their leader, Lisa in the jersey. Come the final day, all hell broke loose and Emma Johansson ended up climbing the ladder to take the overall win with Lauren holding on to the podium after some gutsy riding!

All up, a very tough but satisfying week. Safe to say some there were some tired bodies for a few days following!

Following Thüringen we had a bit of breathing space until the next one, Sparkassen world cup. I darted back to Spain to spend a few relaxing days up in the mountains of Andorra, then some chill time and easy training days in Girona. Unfortunately one rare wet day, I slid out when I set off with my front brake completely loose. Rookie error! Rain started to come down midway through the ride and boom - smack down on the slippery Spanish roads. The day could've been worse but I did happen to have zero credit on my phone and a sore bod! Lucky for me, a friendly ambulance happened to roll by. He dropped me at the local town clinic where I got patched up and was on my way on the local bus an hour or so later, feeling grateful for kind people. Not too bad but a broken bike and a bruised body made for a less than perfect lead up to the world cup!

I battled through the race and managed to find some legs somewhere throughout. In a very messy, hectic finale with a near miss mass spill on the final corner I rolled in for 13th. Disappointing, considering I made it to the finish with good legs and put myself in a crappy position. Still, could have been worse following the week prior!

After Sparkassen, my American team mates were on their way back to mighty Merica to catch up with family and take some rest following a busy block. I was back to Spain for 3 enjoyable weeks catching up with friends and training for our next and final set.

With a last minute change to our calendar we were off to Sweden with very minimal TTT (team time trial) practice to compete in the TTT world cup and road race. It was a weekend of learning competing in our first event together and trying to overcome some frustrating mechanical issues in the road race. Some days are good, some not so and this was one of the not so. Nonetheless, certainly a weekend to learn from and couldn't complain spending time in Sweden. Beautiful place, beautiful people!

Finally we were off to our last Euro destination to finish off our block before heading back Stateside. Plouay World Cup and Tour de L'Ardeche were up in France.

Plouay was a battle from the gun and being the final world cup of the season was a very fast, aggressive race eventually coming down to only the best of the best! A suffer fest from the start and not my day or the team's but a nice way to get some fire in the belly to take to the mountains of Ardeche in the South of France! I have done this race a number of times and we have a bit of a hate-love relationship. For one, it's a pretty amazing place to see; hills for days and a bit of a paradise really but when it comes to racing in those hills, well mountains, day in day out it get's old and I get grumpy! It's brutal but when you're riding ok it's not so bad. I had some good and some bad days but was pretty pleased to come away with two podiums on stages and some legs to help Lauren once again fight it out in the GC battle. Unfortunately again it was 2nd home but a great effort and kudos to an impressive ride by Tayler Wiles and team. All up I was pleased and had a few laughs through the hurt along the way! At this race, I ride by the never say die approach and whip out the claw - it's surprising how many times you can come back over terrain like this as with a mountain comes a sweet descent! We had fun.

At last it was back to the USA to prep for TTT worlds in Richmond and initially I'd also hoped the road race for New Zealand. Unfortunately I was hit with pretty gutting news while there that I would not be competing in the road race as I hadn't made the team. I was very disappointed with the non-selection as had been on the right track, had good form, some reasonable results and was highly motivated. A strong NZ team was selected, however and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger so only more motivation now for 2016!

The TTT worlds was very drama filled as I fell ill with a stomach bug the night prior battling all evening. Average timing huh! I started completely empty as after all it was the worlds and I had to do what I could for the team. I did what I was capable of  (although not much) and was pretty out of it for a few days following. Was sorry to let the team down at such an important race but something that couldn't be controlled.

We will be back stronger and more prepared next year as a lot of our team are continuing on together for next season. So, back to Tibco-SVB for me and very pleased about it! A really great group of girls; top personalities and a lot of talent. To add to that, very supportive staff and management that I'm happy to be a part of.

Thanks to all for the support in 2015...already getting fired up for next season!

Larry Rosa photo



I've had a great offie in Spain, mixing things up with a few road trips, some hikes and other activities without 2 wheels, plus plenty of fun. A good time to have a breather before heading back to NZ to enjoy regearing for next season. This off period I'm doing it a bit differently with less jetting about and constant racing to more time at home and structured training plus a bit of time in the gym. Hope it works out! May even head into next season with some guns ;)
For now, just nice to be home.

My first race back will be the elite road nats in January.


Thanks again to the support from team sponsors and New World Remuera.



Sunday, 3 May 2015

New Year

Once again I've failed miserably at keeping this blog going. A lot has changed since my last update end of the 2014 season.

This year I'm racing for US  registered Team TIBCO-SVB.


The team is based out of Northern California and is now in its 11th year running - an impressive run for a UCI women's team!

I decided to make the move back State Side for a number of reasons but a big factor was the team's appealing race program which included the Women's Tour of NZ earlier, a great selection of US races plus a number of US UCI events, Philly World Cup and then European racing from July. So a good mix to keep things exciting!

A big bonus of joining the squad is having Jo Kiesanowski on the team, a fellow kiwi who has been on the team 6 years now. A good sign and plenty to learn from this girl with her years of experience and success!

So far, it's been a pretty busy start for me with plenty of racing down under to kick things off for 2015 after recouping from a bit of  back issue early summer.

Highlights were the Bay Crits early January in Geelong, Australia and the Women's Tour down Under which were both great events to get some form coming into my first race with the team, The Women's Tour of New Zealand which we happily welcomed back to the UCI calendar after a few years absence. The level of racing in Aus over summer is always high with plenty of girls at peak fitness for the national champs and with plenty of talent coming through it seems to only get tougher. Hot dog crits and all...full gas! Thanks to SU velo racing for having me along as a guest rider; a neat group of girls and staff.

Last National Champs for a while in Christchurch, finishing a disappointing fourth. Linda Villumsen winner.
Aerial and Sport Photography Photo.

Tour Down Under Stage 2 fourth in sprint finish. Winner Mel Hoskins. Guest riding for SU Velo racing.

Kirsty Baxter Photo

Post TDU my first Austraya day celebrations ;)

Tour of NZ was up next and a big week it was; a perfect opportunity to meet some of the team plus our director Ed Beamon and get stuck into some solid bike racing. Plenty of long, hard days on good old kiwi country roads made for some exciting racing plus some fun along the way with a great crew of girls and staff.

We started things off with 3rd place in the TTT behind the US and Australian national teams which wasn't terrible considering out first hit out together but also set us back considerably coming into the remaining stages. Following this we had all sorts from crashes, bike swaps, punctures the works but came away pretty positive  looking toward the season ahead after animating the final stage. I came away with 4th on Stage 2 and a 3rd in Stage 5, unfortunately no wins but was happy to be right amongst the chaos having a crack, feeling good and to be part of some solid team racing. To add to this Jo and Lauren also came away with stage podiums throughout the tour so not too bad a week for the team.

Jo Ho, Jo K, Kendall, myself and Lauren having a laugh at team presentation

Pre race media with race organiser Jorge Sandoval

Stage one TTT

Final stage 3rd place. Winner Lauren Hall

After a little more time at home following the tour it was off to mighty Murica. 'America' or as my friend Lucy would say...'Murcia'. !

I had only a few days to settle back into the Bay Area (South of San Francisco and an area I'm pretty familiar with after my two seasons here 2011-12) then it was off to team camp; two weeks in So Cal spent meeting the team and sponsors, receiving new gear and equipment plus a bit of training! We went from San Luis Obisbo to right on the beach in Carpenteria near Santa Barbara. Not a bad spot to ride bikes and enjoy good company.

Posers! Larry Rosa Photo

Larry Rosa Photo
Larry Rosa Photo
Recovery day working some different muscles!

Larry Rosa Photo


Following a busy camp it was back to the Bay where I've been staying with the Lerner family who also had me stay a few years back. Great people who have been very welcoming and generous to me in my time over here.

With little time to settle we were off again on another roadie back South for the Redlands Classic, South of LA and the first stage race of 2015 on the National race calendar.

A great event but all up a pretty disappointing week for me and the team as a whole with a mixture of bad luck and not feeling super! Unfortunate to lose our GC climbing talent Kristobel to injury at the half way point and then on the final stage have our German Kathrin Hammes crash out...poor thing was hoping for a visit from the tooth fairy that night but is thankfully allgood now and back racing.
 Lucky for us we got to stay with the lovely Cid Breyer who has been hosting riders for twenty years now at Redlands. Spoilt girls we were with home cooked meals every night and the odd baked treat!

Personally, I've  had issues at this time of year in the past in quite a few areas in the States but especially California with a bad reaction to the pollen, so allergies! Not something I've ever had in NZ so isn't something I'm familiar with dealing with. To sum it up you feel constantly like you are coming down with a cold, all sinusy and lots of sneezing and to add to just a general fatigued feeling. Safe to say since arriving in the US I have been battling with this a little and not feeling 100% but hoping as we venture to different areas and with the change in season things will start to improve. Keep calm and carry on...!

From the week I was able to whip up some energy for the downtown criterium, a fun wee circuit surrounding the Redlands streets. With some nice support from the girls they looked after me throughout the stage and had me in a good spot coming into the final stages. Surprisingly I actually felt pretty strong and was looking forward to getting the opportunity to sprint for the win. Unfortunately I made a tactical error in the final few turns and the 3 girls ahead including the last of the UHC train got a gap to leave me too far back to contest the win and had to settle for dirty fourth. A missed opportunity with good legs is always the most frustrating but fair play to UHC and their organisation. Time to put number 4 behind me as it's becoming a rather frequent place as our director Ed Beamon continues to remind me!


Post race froyo with Cid

Joe Martin, a UCI 2.2 stage race was next on tap. This time a plane trip down South to Arkansas! All in all much the same feeling as Redlands for me but really great to have team mate Lauren Stephens take the leaders jersey from day one and to do our best to support her to hold this through to the finish. This girl is on fire at the moment and it's great to see her hard work paying off!

A bonus was catching up with old mate Jono Coulter who is now directing BMW Happy Tooth in its first year running as a professional US women's team. Very cool!

For now, I'm up at the beautiful Lake Tahoe with my team mate Sara Headley, kicking back getting used to the altitude, just enjoying riding my bike and checking out the Tour of California courses which begins next week on the 8th. This is very exciting for the women's peloton having a 3 day UCI 2.1 stage race where we will have two challenging stages up at Tahoe and conclude with a criterium in Sacramento as the mens tour begins.

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Following TOC there's a bit of time for a training period before getting stuck into a solid East Coast block of racing which we will conclude with a TTT camp and then I will be back Euro bound to enjoy the remainder of the season. Definitely looking forward to heading back over as although I love the scene here and still have plenty to look forward to, there's a lot of people and places I miss. Hopefully good times ahead!


Follow the team for updates at:

Thanks again to New World Remuera, Team TIBCO-SVB, Greg Henderson and Maurice Verkerk for your continued support through 2015. Much appreciated.