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.


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