First of all I want to apologise for waiting so long to write my "home, sweet home" blog.
In America I had so much free time, just riding my bike in the mornings, then chilling through the day and then racing or training the evening again. Well, now it's back to the real world of working, cycling and doing a balancing act with the rest, and sometimes feeling like a clown.
First of all I like to begin by saying "WOW"! What an experience America was.
I must be honest, after my first week of racing I thought, I might as well fly home now. I felt so down and a bit discouraged. I knew I had some of the speed to keep up with the women but it just wasn't there. I soon realized that feeling sorry for myself and being negative, is the worst thing ever. I always try to see the positive in things and I always try to be positive-this was one hard battle.
T-Town is all about the fans. The crowds come to support Friday night racing as if was rugby in South Africa (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit) but nonetheless, it's huge over there. They have season tickets, sitting tickets, fancy table tickets, standing tickets etc. It's really all about entertaining the crowd. That being said, the racing is short and fast with loads of excitement. Something that I'm not used to back home. We race more the longer distances here at home and that don't always require a lot speed the entire race.
After my first week of racing one of the girls suggested I join the Elite motor pacing session on the track. The coach would be on the motor bike and you would tell him what you want to improve on, and then he takes you behind the motor bike to improve on your speed or weakness. After 2 of these sessions I already started feeling faster and felt I had my "kick" back.
In the 3rd week I started getting podiums and just got closer to that win. I was really beginning to feel fast and strong. The 3rd week's Friday racing was a big one. It had UCI points in the Keirin and Scratch race. I made it through the heats in the Keirin and I came 7th in the final. The scratch race is more my thing, or that is something that I'm good at. We had the proper UCI distance, so this time it was longer than the other racing - yes, finally! During the race I had more a aggressive approach to the race which was the first time for me racing there. I attacked a couple of the times but nothing seemed to stick. In the end it came down to a bunch sprint and I managed to take 3rd place. I was quite happy with my result and with that some valuable UCI points.
As the weeks passed by I just felt I got faster and I was learning so much. The last race of the season was another big race to score UCI points. With the big sprinters absent on this occasion I managed to qualify first in my keirin heat, and then later got beaten in the final by a spoke width. For "not a sprinter" I was very happy with my 2nd place. There was also a UCI points race on the program. Going into the race I didn't feel so good. Halfway through I was actually about to come off the track. The thought crossed my mind, but I learned some time ago that quitting is never the right choice. I started to feel alright again and managed to claw my way up to a 4th place in the end.
The main objective going over to race in t-town was to measure myself against the women there. I had to see how I compare to some of the international riders. I know that wasn't world cup level, but I think for my first trip overseas, I learned a lot and didn't get too blown away.
I am very happy to be home and seeing Theuns and my family again. This being my first trip overseas, I was a bit home sick at times :
If there is one thing that I miss form being in America, it's the way I trained and raced. It was the life of a cyclist. Unfortunately it is back to real world of working and cycling.
Maybe soon I'll get to ride my bike full time....
I just want to say thanks to everyone who supported me throughout this trip. It was really a great experience and I learned a lot.
Some more news to follow...
Ciao for now :