I promised I would write an update midway through my #Merican trip but time has just seemed to fly away from me. We are now in our final week here in the great U.S. of A. and I'm actually a little sad that we go home in less than a week. Since my last update we have been to Nittany Lions cross, Charm City cross, Midnight ride and Gloucester GP. We have driven "meatball" all over the east coast caught up with lots of friends, visited the paramedic van and won a few races. Which I should probably expand on a little from now in.
So visiting the paramedics: They were very lovely helpful people although Rebecca Blatt, a rider for Van Dessel was actually more helpful. On day 2 of Nittany 'cross, I had decided that winning was no fun so took myself out by hitting the planks (that's barriers to my #Merican friends) full gas and doing a Joey.
If you have never seen the Joey video then stop right now and watch 'is Joey ok' on YouTube, laugh hysterically then return.
Unfortunately my Joey wasn't good enough to clear the second plank and I ended up smacking my face on the stem. As I already had a gap I cracked on only to realise my mouth was a little numb and there were spots of blood forming on my top tube. At this point I felt I had just cause to pull up and get it seen to. So I got a steri-strip on it cleaned up the blood then reprimanded myself for A) hitting said plank and B) for being weak; what's a bit of blood right?! As a disclaimer I am going to say these planks were higher than the standard 40cm and I will forever stick to this hence forth removing all blame from myself.
Thankfully after the race we were off to the Gerlaks house in Baltimore our lovely host house for the week where I knew I would get some sympathy. Not that Stef hadn't provided any, he's just happier when someone else does, ha ha.
Every morning Kris, the owner of Twenty20 bike shop and race organiser, took us out to show us some routes which was great, apart from the 9am start times and the first hour of every ride where he demolished us. Whilst in Baltimore, Harry, my travelling mascot acquired himself a Baltimore Ravens American football outfit including helmet from the build a bear workshop. It has to be the cutest thing I have ever seen. However, Jerry, the registered owner of meatball (the Volvo) was not impressed as meatball is a Patriot fan complete with car sticker to prove it. Our final night in Baltimore the Ravens played the Patriots, luckily for meatball her team lost and no crazy fans attacked her in revenge. At this point I should also note meatball has a 'I believe in planned parenting' car sticker too, so she isn't just a football thug.
So from there we headed on up towards Boston to stay with a Scottish family near the midnight ride. Yes I did say English staying with Scottish, but I think in a foreign country we stick together. Plus, having taken the whisky shortcut in the Scottish Haughcross this summer I was allowed a free pass. John and Helen (our hosts) were lovely and it was great staying so close to the race. I did a cross clinic over two days with the youngest rider being 11 and the oldest being of retirement age. It was great fun and we even made some of them crash; gotta learn your limits...
As I was pretty puffed out I decided not to race and concentrate on being fit and healthy for the Gloucester weekend. As the racing was tough it turns out it was a good decision. Finally, Sunday we got some mud after the super fast race the previous day, it was great to get my favourite conditions for the first time in #Merica this year.
Mike and Wez came down for the weekend and so did a lot of my Kona teammates including Barry Wicks, Eric Tonkin and the legend that is Wendy Sims. Not only has Wendy multiple national titles to her name she is also the only other person from North America other than Katie Compton to have ever been world number one. Wendy stayed with us for a few winters in Belgium and she has to be one of the funniest people you could meet. As we hadn't seen her since her slight break in racing to breed. I think I probably talked her to death over the entire weekend, opps sorry!
Other highlights from my trip till this point include my shiny new Giro helmets in national champs colours (they know how to keep a girl happy), a day trip to Boston and a wireless keypad currently inspiring me to type away frantically. For my lack of exciting tales I apologise as we are no longer in Vermontshire so it's just life as normal. Vermont is where all the action happens.
This weekend is the Providence cross weekend and our final races before we fly home. Sad face. Once again I've had a great time and don't really want to leave but World Cups start soon so it is necessary.