Saturday, March 23, 2013

First day of racing with my new team TIBCO!

Alright, so much has happened since my last update!

After the race debacle in Chambery my guest team returned back to Limoux, coinciding with the arrival of some of the European contingent of Team TIBCO. I was very happy to meet my new teammates Rushlee, Jasmin and Sam, who have been flying the flag high in the tough European Spring Classics. All the girls are super nice and still so young, but so experienced! It was great to spend some time with my teammates before I was flying to the US. The girls were stopping over in Limoux between races and my earliest flight back to Dublin was on Friday. I was lucky that Chris could give me a bike to train on, so at least I could keep training. The area around Limoux is absolutely beautiful, so I went exploring a bit. Unfortunately the weather turned from jersey and shorts to thermal gloves and shoe covers within a day and I found myself nearly blown off the top of a mountain in gale force winds and snow and when I started descending, the road turned into forest track, but I didn't really care as I was nearly dying of hypothermia at that stage...... I decided to go home the flat route instead of back over the mountain.....
Beautiful old stone houses in Limoux
Anyhow, after Limoux, I had a short stopover in Dublin, where I spend time washing and repacking and getting everything organized for my stay in the US. I even managed to squeeze in a mountain bike race in polar conditions on Paddy's Day, the last round of the Biking Blitz, which took place just on top of my mtb home training ground (it was the race or indoor threshold intervals, so the choice was easy). The weather was so bad that all road races around Dublin had been cancelled, and I didn't have a road bike anyway, so I was lucky this one still went ahead. I hadn't ridden my mtb in a long time, but I had a blast and really enjoyed the race. I was killing it on the climbs and taking it easy on the descents, as I had a flight to catch at 7am the next morning. And I nearly made it only the men's podium!
Having fun on the mtb before starting my road season with Team TIBCO (photo by Action Pictures Ireland)
On Monday morning I joined the long, hungover, post-paddy's day queues to get out of Dublin airport. One queue after another and they had already closed my flight after I had made it through snailpace security, but I wasn't the only one missing the flight, so they waited around for another few peeps to make it on. Same story in London, my Kindle got me into trouble at security and I nearly missed my connecting flight. After a long and uneventful flight I arrived in LAX, where the queues were just as crazy as I started with in Dublin. Finally I made it out, waiting outside for my husbands uncle, who was waiting inside.... we found each other eventually.

My new race machine is awesome! (It's got my training wheels on)
At his home my team bike was already awaiting me in a big box. I built it up the next day, eagerly wanting to try it out. It's my first Fuji bike and my first time with Ui2. What I didn't know is that for transport some of the cables of the electric shifting had been disconnected, so I couldn't shift and was stuck in one gear only! A trip to the bike shop and some explanation of how to use this cool piece of kit and I could finally go exploring on my cool new bike! I went to recce the TT stage of the San Dimas Stage Race, just up the hill on the Glendora Mountain Road, enjoying the weather and the amazing views over Los Angeles.

Grounding in the lake in Bonelli Park - until the coast guards told me off!
On Wednesday I went to do some more intervals up the TT course, to open up my legs after the long haul flight. On Thursday, I rode around the road stage of the SDSR, a nice technical course around Bonelli Park. The weather has been absolutely beautiful here and I've been cooling off my legs in the lake of Bonelli Park. And on Thursday I relocated to our host family who are kindly hosting me and my three teammates for the SDSR, in a beautiful house right beside the road course. So I finally met three more awesome teammates, Meredith, Amanda and Jo, all super experienced and decorated riders, so I knew I was in good hands.
I could imagine a worse workplace
Today was the first stage of the SDSR, the 6.84km uphill TT (384m of climb) up Glendora Mountain Road. The sun was beaming down, and here I was now, in this beautiful place, racing for one of the best pro-teams, living the dream, standing at the start line of my first race with the team this year. Wow, just a little overwhelming and I struggled to get into the right frame of mind for the pain of the TT. Well, I tried the best I could, staying conservative at the start, and probably a little too conservative as well at the end, I think I left too much in the tank, but hey, there's always room for improvement, right? I finished 13th, 0.3secs off 11th, 1min 50 off the winning time.

Tomorrow I have a 56mile road race, looking forward to it!


6 comments :

Annie Bedford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie Bedford said...

Great update Mel - sounds like you're getting off to a good start! Delighted for you, sounds like a dream come true and you have earned it!

Lane Parker said...

Great write up, Melanie! Best wishes for a safe ride today.

Kieran Sherlock said...

The stripes look good!

Kieran Sherlock said...

The stripes look good!

Mel said...

Thanks guys! Kieran, I think I'm getting a proper champs jersey made up, there just wasn't enough time to get it done before this race :)