After a good break off the bike the new season has started, and essentially it is the beginning of our London Olympic campaign.
The early part of the season is about getting fit again, and getting the body used to the day in day out slog that is training. After a month off the bike I forgot how hard my bike saddle is, and so did my butt! For the first 5days back riding I was so bruised and it hurt like crazy for the first 5km or so till it went numb! Craig kindly reminded me that most Kiwi's get that feeling every time they hop on a bike for their weekend jaunt! Oh the things us cyclists do!
But now the saddle seems as soft as a lazy boy and as well as being out in the Dunedin hills I've just spent a week on the track in Invercargill with the rest of the women's track squad. It was great to be back together with the girls, it really does feel like a big extended family now, and we always have plenty of laughs amongst the more serious 'business time' training sessions.
Also in this phase of the early season I've been all over the country speaking at various engagements. I took a day trip to North Otago the other week and spent the day chatting to numerous schools in Oamaru and Waimate. Feeling the excitement as I pick a volunteer to get dressed in my black NZ race suit is priceless. The beaming smile as they stand proud in Black in front of their school I know is a special feeling that the NZ black suit & silver fern brings out in any Kiwi. I also get the privilege of talking to our future leaders at the Halogen Foundation Young Leaders Days in Wellington, Palmerston North and Dunedin. It's so exciting to see so many enthusiastic and talented young kiwis embarking on their dreams.
I was also fortunate to judge NZ's best Beef at the Steak of Origin in Feilding run by NZ Beef & Lamb. Sampling 20 of the country's finest Sirloin steaks was a succulent, tender, mouth-watering experience and reinforced to me another reason why it's great to be a kiwi. How lucky we are to have access to fresh produce, clean air & home grown meat that goes straight to my quads and helps to get those pedals pumping!
So it's been a busy start to the Olympic season and I've got another few weeks in NZ before heading to America with the track girls. Leaving behind the crisp Otago mornings in exchange for the sweltering USA summer. We will have our training base over in Pennsylvania on the East coast for 3 months. From there we can train on the track and also travel to various road tours across America.
For now I'm enjoying being home surrounded by friends and family and cherishing the time spent training in our beautiful country.