New Zealand, March 15, 2006
Hello again to everyone; the 2006 race season has officially started for me with some frequent flyer miles and a trip to NZ for the Oceania Champs. Sweet az...as they say down here, but why am I doing the Oceania Champ's you might ask? Well a Canuck normally isn't allowed to do the Oceania Champ's, but seeing as Rotorua is the site of the World's later this year, the organisers decided to let a few internationals come down to check it out. It's also really nice as I get in a first little race effort of the year before I head over to Australia in a couple of weeks to do a little race called the Commonwealth Games.
The "offy" or winter went pretty smoothly this year; had a good little travel break after World's last year and actually got to be a tourist in Europe for a couple of weeks with Keri. After that I came back to America for Interbike and then messed around for a couple of cyclocross weekends; going to do a few more of those this year. I then avoided any real training and getting too fat by running and swimming in preparation for Xterra World's; I figured it was a pretty good excuse to go to Hawaii. It made sense as my whole family was over there watching my sister compete - I did manage to beat my sister by the way. I also managed to survive a few pummellings on the boogie board and surfboard and made it back to home base Albuquerque to start training "for reals" in November.
After that things rolled along through the winter months with a trip with Keri up to home base Victoria to scout wedding locations (Oct. 7th, 2006 is our date), and see a Canucks game, followed by a mid-winter mental break trip to Mexico in January with the Pink family. Oh yeah, and another trip to Phoenix to check out wedding stuff for Keri and a Canucks game for me; the Canucks are undefeated when I watch and I figure they are going to go all the way this year. I managed to stay healthy all winter I am a bit worried as the good weather has followed me everywhere and I have only had to train in the rain for half an hour. I am wondering if I might be getting a bit soft.
Travel started a bit early this year with this little Oceania Champs/Commonwealth Games trip and I am travelling with fellow Courtenayan Kiara and National Team Coach Mike the White. I had to leave my wonderful and loving fiancee at home just about one day before we had to move into a new house. I really didn't want it to happen like that but she's working hard and seems to be managing the transition. It is going to be great because we have more room for the cats Ibis and Dodo, Keri's dog Casey, and the new Wiemeraener puppy we are getting in April. I am also psyched because we have a two car garage now and a guest room; my teammate Toulouse will now get his own bed when he visits instead a a deflating air mattress in the living room behind the couch. However we are pretty hurting for furniture; we definitely have a few big gaping empty spaces that will take some time to fill.
Anyway, down in Rotorua we got a great little house and are getting everything dialled in so it feels like home when we come back for World's. I know where everything important is like Zippy's....the best coffee shop; sweet az...as they say. To clear up a little confusion we had, it is 'sweet as'...not 'sweet ass', which could get you in trouble in certain situations.
The World's course has quite a few steep up bits, which I tried to ask them to take out of the World's course, and is pretty straightforward except for the last few minutes in the forest. I was hoping for a few more flat, technical cornering sections but I will have to make do. Most of the competition for the Commonwealth Games was here so the race was a good test for me early on. The Aussies attacked hard with Jongo taking a flyer first lap, which I heard he likes to do, and then Sid countered with an impressive effort and had a 45 sec lead halfway through the race.
Local hero Kashi and I were pacing ourselves a little more and Sid started to feel his effort on the fourth of six laps up the grinder of a climb. I had a bit of a gap on Kashi so I gave it full gas on the fifth lap after passing Sid and was able to open up a bit of a buffer for the last descent. I felt quite sharp which was nice for the first race and it will be interesting in a couple of weeks when the Brits and Seamus are thrown in the mix as well. Sounds like it is a much flatter and faster course in Melbourne.
Although there is not too much to figure out on the World's course, our plan is to hang out here for another week or so and take advantage of the great mountain biking in Rotorua before heading over to check in at the Games. MTB is on the 23rd, and the RR which I get to do as well, is on the 26th. Then I get a sweet 40hrs of travel to Curacao for the first World Cup of the season. At least I will getting close to my Elite Frequent Flyer status early on.
Over and out.