September 12, 2008
I am into the final month of my season and this means that I am in the final throws of airports and travel for 2008. I was sitting in Detroit airport this morning and I was counting the flights that I have had this year. I couldn't come up with a number, as I was continually being distracted each time by people doing things that I thought was funny, myself included.
Like only packing one pair of pants and spilling coffee down one side! Also of note are the people that stand right up close to the baggage claim... you know the ones, standing and waiting for their bags, oblivious to the fact that if they stand about two feet (60 odd centimetres) away from the conveyor then everyone can step in, grab their bags and get the hell out of the airport! Yes, this did happen to me this morning. Also, the people looking for their gates, they see a monitor and just stop in the middle of the walkway. Or the dude that got pissed off with the other dude for not walking on the correct side of the aisle. Or the bloke with the blue tooth headset sitting next to me. I now know your e-mail address, the name of your wife, you have two kids, a dog... oh and you are seeking a raise from your present salary of 120k. I am not sure that I needed to, or should know this information and I'm pretty sure the 20 other people that were subjected to your phone call also know these facts. Just because you can't see the person on the other line does not mean they are deaf! Thanks to everyone, you made my morning an experience.
A lot of "life" has been going on outside of the cycling bubble, my Dad rode his motorbike around Australia and I assured him that when I stop racing bicycles we can do a trip of our own, or perhaps Paris-Dakar! Not sure Mum would be so keen, but I reckon we've got a couple years to get her to come 'round and think it's a great idea or, better yet, make her think it was her idea! I am yet to meet my little nephew, Oscar, so I booked a flight late in the year so I can be home for Christmas and spend time with all of the family, play golf, surf, drink a beer or two and chill out. We also lost a family friend in a skiing accident back home, always a time to add some perspective and reflection to "life."
So on the racing front things have been ticking along okay; I placed seventh at the Priority Health Grand Prix in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I enjoyed the race last year and was glad to be back again. Over the past month, I have been doing only criteriums and fighting off small but frequent bouts of bronchitis. The end of the year is quite tough, as your body starts to fight against you and a little sore throat can turn sour pretty quickly.
The team has been scattered all over the country for the last month, with split squads attending Utah, Downers, Charlotte, Elk Grove, Univest and Michigan. It has been all criteriums and plane rides for the best part of five weeks now. Back and forth across the US of A, doing what I love most, racing my bike. I still have a few races left on the calendar and I am looking forward to hitting them with the fervour of a junior having just upgraded to a 52-tooth on the front. Then, alas, it will be all over for another year.
Speaking of another year, what lies ahead is uncertainty. I was informed last week, as were all of the riders on the Jittery Joe's Team, that the continuation of the team for 2009 is unknown. We have all been allowed to seek new teams for 2009. I am in the process of sending out the resume, and in the current climate of US cycling it looks as though it will be a buyers market. I have had a solid year and improved from last season. As a loyal domestique it can be difficult to project your own talents to prospective teams, but I have had a win or two and a few podiums throughout the year, so I can only keep doing what I am doing.
The focus for the end of the year is pretty simple, race my bike until the end of the month and find a team for 2009. Most everything else will play second fiddle to these goals until they are achieved. I am confident that all of my time spent off the bike will be in attempt to make sure I am on it for 2009. I feel as though I am at a point were I am just starting to put all the pieces together and am looking to see what I am capable of in the future, over the next few years when I will be entering my prime as a rider.
I am home for three days now, until I have to pack the bike up and head to San Francisco and then on to Vegas and possibly Washington D.C in the middle. A few more opportunities.