The last three months I have not only been escaping the cold, and snow in Dunedin but more importantly have been getting in valuable miles on the American roads. The full NZ women’s track squad has been based over in America. While here we called Kutztown, Pennsylvania home. The training is fantastic as you can ride 100km in pretty much any direction and won’t see a set of traffic lights. All we have to watch out for are the Armish horse and carts – but we are normally going much faster than them, although at the end of a long day they are good for draughting behind to tow you home!
Mixed in with the training we have been racing a few stage road races. For us ‘trackies’ these are a nice challenge with the longer distances and mountains a foreign sight on the velodrome. My favourite road tour of all is the Cascade Classic, held in Bend, Oregon. For six days we race through the most amazing scenery which includes climbing through the pine tree forests that wind up the mountains and then pop us out in the middle of a lava field. We then descend down the other side passing snow on the side of the road all while the sun is beaming down at a balmy 32deg. While the main purpose of the tours was for training the team enjoyed several podium finishes throughout the season.
I often get asked what kind of cycling I do and while I am a “trackie” by trade we definitely spend our fair share of time clocking up the miles out on the roads. It’s always a fun time of the season where you get to race without the full on precise pressure that comes with pursuiting. In road racing there are always options, for you as an individual and for the team. The race unfolds out on the road and you have to take the opportunities as they present themselves. It’s a real buzz to race against the “roadies” and a fantastic way to build the engine, which right now is what us “trackies” are all about.
For now I have two more weeks left in California getting in some final sunny road miles, before my visa runs out and I head on home to Dunedin.