August 2, 2008
Hey everyone, well I know it has been a while so time to catch you all up to speed. I have just left Colorado and I am currently en route to New Jersey via the way of Continental Airlines. I've just been given a cheeseburger as my in flight meal – I passed on it, Ah America!
So here we go, most of you know by some way or another that I'm heading to the Olympics to compete in the Road Race for New Zealand and, if you didn't, now you do. So as preparation for the Games I've spent the last few weeks hanging out in Boulder, Colorado. It's a great little town sitting at an altitude of about 1600m and fully loaded with long climbs and many other variations of terrain. The perfect training grounds for any occasion.
Most days I spent up in the mountains always above 2000m. I've never spent this much time at altitude so I'm hoping the benefits will be great once I'm down at sea level again. A little birdie told me that there is a curse that has been put on the Boulder Valley by and old Indian Chief named 'Niwot.' According to him, the curse of the Boulder Valley was its breathtaking landscape: "People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty." Well it still looks pretty good to me Chief. But he is half-right, I'm pretty keen to go back and stay there more!
A few days after arriving there, I lined up in a mass-start mountain climb. It was up Mt Evans, the highest paved road in the USA. 4300m and let me tell you breathing isn't the easiest up there. I've been up pretty high before over in China and Mongolia, but never this high! I did it for the training and for the chance to ride that high. Fabio and Ian also lined up. Ian is our team Altitude Bunny so he was keen to get the win. When the attacks began there was no way I could go with them as the old heart rate was off the scale, but I pretty much rode my own tempo all day and kept yo-yoing in and out of the front group.
At one point, I had decided to have a gel and a mouthful of water, but forgetting to breathe for about 20 seconds wasn't the best plan and quickly became a tad light headed! (Lesson learnt at 3600m) Anyway, it was an awesome ride and highly recommended for anyone out that way, bloody great view and even a bunch of mountain goats on insanely steep slopes! Of course, I forgot my camera. I ended up fourth on the finish and Ian took second. The climb took 1hour and 53 minute and my average heart rate was 170bpm. Bit of an effort indeed!
After a couple days to recover from that ride, it was back into the mountains clocking up some serious miles. Ben and the boyz showed me some awesome rides and a great lake up in the mountains. One day Justin (England) decided it would be a good idea to freshen up the legs with the icy cold waters – I thought "when in Rome." I managed to keep my pins under the water for a whole minute – yes that was all. Needless to say, it was cold after all! I'll have to admit once we jumped back on the bikes the legs felt really good, but that doesn't mean I'll start with the ice baths any time soon. ;)
It was a great time indeed, great for the head in new surroundings and great hanging out with old and new friends. The form seems to be at an all-time high and ready to take on Beijing.
I've got a couple of days in New Jersey now to unload some gear, pick up some bits and tie up a few loose ends. Look out Paolo Bettini, here come the Kiwis. Maybe a Haka is on the cards? Poor Italians will pack up and go home I think? But we'll possibly need some back up? Three skinny cyclists wouldn't be very intimidating stomping their cleats in front of the peloton!
So stay tuned for tales from the Olympic village...
(Thanks to Ben, Isabelle, Justin, Jess, Sully, Fabs, Heath, Chris and Johnny for some great rides and good laughs.)
Air Travel stats
- Time spent in a plane so far this year - 96 hours (4 days 2 hours)
- Most Interesting Meal - Gotta be the Cheese Burger
- Most time spent on a runway - 1.5 hours
- Most time spent in transit - 13 hours
- Most Interesting person I sat next to - Elrod from Alabama.
- Best one liner by a passenger - "So you one of them thar bicyclist types of drivers?" Elrod from Alabama.