Monday, March 2, 2009

Hillbilly Kentucky

My first weekend of collegiate racing was certainly not what I was expecting, or wanting for that matter. We traveled down to Murray, Kentucky on Friday afternoon. Having never experienced a tornado before I was amazed at how strong they must be as I was looking out my window seeing tree after tree on the ground. I was told that in my next few months in the Midwest I was sure to see one. I have only ever seen them in the movies and didn’t ever think I would be living in area prone to them. We later discovered that the area had previously had an ice storm and then was hit by a tornado. Only in America.
My first race was a 100km relatively flat road race. To say it was miserable would be an understatement, it didn’t rise above 1C (33F) and was either raining, icing or snowing! It was certainly a lot colder then the other side of your pillow. Without going into too much detail Frank managed to make it into the 8-man winning break and finished 7th while Chev and Owen led me out for the bunch sprint, pretty sure my legs were frozen though and only managed 4th in the kick. I must apologize to Chev for calling him Stroot in the last few k’s which gives you an indication of the state of mind I was in. Saturday night we found ourselves in quite the hillbilly restaurant. As always Chev entertained the table and made it clear that he wasn’t here to “f*ck monkeys”!
With some more snow overnight it didn’t really put me in the mood to race bikes on Sunday. When we arrived and checked out the criterium course it didn’t make our motivation levels any higher. This crit course can only be explained by saying that it was a piece of art...800m long with 15 corners to a lap. I later worked out that over the duration of the race we would have cornered over 500 times.

Before the race Paddy told us we would all crash, and I knew he wasn’t joking. Myself and Paddy got off to a good start but it only took 3 laps before I witnessed Paddy’s1st of 3 crashes for the race. Two laps later, while I was still managing to hold the front group I came down on the same corner. The corner was wet, off camber, had a pot hole, was 180° and had a join between two sections of pavement! After that I couldn’t really get going again. Owen had the best race out of us and finished 6th. Chev, who was the only one NOT to crash finished 9th, the rest of us came in in the top 20. It was a truly remarkable crit and hope I never have to ride something like it again. Apparently it was entertaining to watch though so I’m happy some people enjoyed it. On the start line

Sunday, February 22, 2009

So it begins...and continues

So you know its cold

My US racing campaign was launched today and although not much, if anything, went to plan today I’m still happy to get a run on the board. So today was a race called Froze Toes, the name says it all, it was -8 Celsius when I woke up. Without going into to much detail, mainly because I don’t have much to say we rode horribly as a team and gave ourselves no opportunity to win. No one is too worried though as we know it is only the first race. It gave me an opportunity to assess my form after a few weeks of no racing and I know I have got some good form at the moment, ready for the collegiate season to start next week.

The last couple of days, leading up to my first race I have been thinking that the last 4 or 5 years of training I have been doing on my bike are really coming down to the season I’m about to start in the US. When I first started racing I guess I had the same dream as every other boy growing up, to become a pro athlete. This is just one stepping stone on my way to hopefully realizing that dream. Without putting to much expectation upon myself I hope that the effort I have put it will pay off this season.
Myself and our giant teammate Justin

OK that’s deep enough for now, in other news although not as much as last semester, we have still been frequenting the main street of St. Chaz on some nights during the week. New team mate and suite mate Addison, more commonly referred to as weapon or weap weap for his unusually large head, has been having a bad influence on me and encouraging me to drink at every opportunity, never have to ask him twice to go to main st. He doesn’t stop moving.

Owen and Weapon

I should also mention another new teammate, Franics (Frank.) He could possibly be one of the most unusual guys I know. I don’t think there has been a meal at the cafeteria with him where there hasn’t been an argument. Last night it was why he doesn’t believe in txt messaging, as usual he was defeated. Being from texas may explain it though. But ‘we love ya frank.”

Will also thank my second family, the Pullnows. The Australian contingent was invited around for dinner not long ago and once again was spoilt with an outstanding meal. It was not long before Valentine’s day also so for a couple of us we actually received our first ever valentines presents thanks to Mrs Pullnow and Kate (KKron.) Justin also showed us his shotgun he owns so we had a bit of fun with that, see pics.

Now that I’m racing I’ll try and keep updated on how it is all going.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Seeing Clearly Now

Hi all, to say I haven’t done much since my last blog would be quite the understatement. Back on the 25th January I once again departed Sydney airport, this time knowing that instead of being away for only 4 months I wouldn’t be back until December. It’s going to be a long year away from home. I did make the most of my time back in Australia knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing most of the people for a while. Two hassle free flights later which I hear, according to seasoned traveler Crades, is hard to come by when traveling with bikes I arrived back in St. Louis. Looking out the plane window on the tarmac the snow was falling, much to the dismay of the always well organised and prepared Chev, who’s footwear was better suited to the 50C (90F) warmer day that we left Sydney on. Thongs may not have been the best idea. I miraculously managed to escape any sign of jet-leg which was an added bonus, some have said I somehow found a space-time intergalactic continuum hole on my way over.

I chose quite the time to return to the tropic climate of the mid-west. Apparently I didn’t miss one snowfall while back in Australia so whoever controls what happens up there decided he’d save it up until I returned. With three days of snow it made riding outside impossible but I wasn’t complaining. Its not everyday I get the opportunity to go sledding, run around like little boys on frozen ponds, have numerous snow fights (I must admit that my record is now up around 0-4 and one of these losses may or may not have involved belts and blood. Take of it what you may,) and of course, make snow angels. It actually dumped so much snow that class was cancelled on Wednesday, it made for an All-American “Snow-Day.”


Chev, Crades, Me

School is just the same as last semester so I’m not going to bore you with that. It appears Lindenwood survived J-Term without us Aussies around stirring things up (maybe only just but they got through) but rest assured, we are back to our usual best.

Bunch Ride

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