I am blogging on the train enroute to Bath for my last strength and conditioning training session, my feet are still defrosting in my uggs from training. I’m counting down the days till team training camp in California- can’t wait! Coming back and training in these arctic conditions after a month in the southern hemisphere sun has been a shock to the system to say the least. With my grandma circulation I am really not cut out for winter, today I wore 4 pairs of socks, compression socks, over socks, wind proof overshoes and wetsuit boot overshoes on top of the lot; 3 minutes into my ride and my feet were ice blocks. I am in a constant battle over the heating thermostat with my Dad too! Going back to uni for a week was also a shock to the system ; over the Christmas holidays the kitchen table was left laden with dirty dishes, someone opened the lid off a 4 week old pan of mulled wine and flies flew out! I was over smuggling my bikes into my room, storing them in my shower and getting through a pack of baby wipes a day to get the crap off! I had a run in with housekeeping after being caught storing my bikes in halls as opposed to the compulsory bike sheds, I was accused of violating the rules as they posed a great fire hazard apparently if one of my flat mates were to get drunk and ride them up and down the corridor!
The original plan was to fly over to the States for the launch and presentation of my 2012 team; Optum pro cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies in Minnesota last Friday. However there was a slight hiccup with our visa’s leaving 3 of us passportless. So I was stranded here, a bit stuck in limbo having moved out of uni the day before, packed my bags for the US and then dumped the contents of my uni room on my bedroom floor. I didn't know whether I was coming or going! Luckily the Visa and passport situation has been resolved and I am flying over the pond on Monday. The visa interview at the London embassy was an interesting experience, after excessive fingerprinting, forms and being referred to as an ‘alien’ I had envisaged being grilled by a panel of judges to decipher whether I possessed any traits of terrorism. After all the hype it was almost comical; they quizzed me on why I was a cyclist and whether I was going to be doing any cereal commercials like Chris Hoy!
Training is going to plan, won’t bore you with the details! I did some lactate testing last week and it showed some nice improvements over the last 6 weeks in NZ. I’m really excited for the 2012 season in the States, and the prospect of being part of the new Optum pro cycling team (check out http://www.optumprocycling.com and http://www.facebook.com/kbsprocycling?ref=ts and also http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/colavita-riders-find-reprieve-in-optum-kelly-benefit-strategies). There are so many great riders on board with heaps of experience too, so I expect to learn a lot this year! I am going to be based in North Carolina in a cool, quirky town perched away in the mountains called Asheville. I’ll be away for 8 months in total with a few weeks back in the UK in June for nationals. I am very fortunate to have been awarded the financial backing from the Dave Rayner fund this year. A few people are concerned that I am going to come back with an American twang, rest assured I vow to refrain from saying ‘way to go’ or ‘great jaab!’ I can’t wait to get back into the cycling bubble again, it’s a nice existence! I will have some uni assignments to do along the way too, and have to make up for missed lectures with skype tutorials!
Anyway, watch this space! An exciting 8 months ahead!