December 10, 2008
What will 2009 bring?
What a very interesting off season it has been! The world economy tanking, a whole bunch of teams stopping and a whopping load of riders, mechanics, soigneur, managers, sports directors out of a job. Including little old me!
I have been doing everything possible and have been pursuing all avenues to keep racing my bike in 2009. Hopefully, I will have some good news in the near future. It is looking grim out there, and when you think of guys of the calibre of Scott Davis, Ben Day, Hilton Clarke and Trent Wilson to name but a few, who are still on the market, it shows how incredibly volatile this sport can be. One minute on top of the world, working hard, planning ahead, the next minute you are put in a position where you have to make some tough decisions. Professional sport, like any job that you put your whole life into, can be, well, in a word, brutal.
Firstly, I have to give a big thank you to BMC Bicycles Australia for helping me out with a bike on my arrival back to OZ, and even getting me out to do a four-hour solo MTB race, even though it hurt (a lot) and doing an MTB race in road shoes and Speedplay pedals is less than ideal, especially when your technical skills are that of, well, a roadie. Also thanks to a long time supporter of mine, Panther Cycles, for helping to get everything sorted out mechanically on my road bike. Thanks!
So, the weather has been awesome since I got back to Australia. No rain, and I have managed to head out a few times on my infamous Hampton loop, out west of the Blue Mountains. Funnily enough the hills have not become flat, and the wind still blows, constantly, and not nearly enough from the correct direction i.e. from behind me!!!!!!!! There really is nothing like slogging it out at 19kph, slightly uphill into a block headwind for two hours, only for the wind to die down on the return leg of the loop! It is certainly a juxtaposition from the bunch rides and training with the same person everyday for the last 12 months in San Diego, to heading out on your "pat malone" in the Blue Mountains!
I am keen to keep the legs turning and my next race, and last race for Jittery Joe's is going to be the Cronulla International Criterium. For this year, the race will serve as the Australian Championship and it is sure to be on like donkey kong. Australian championship, volatile market, a bunch of guys still looking for a job, domestic guys looking to make a mark against some of the Euro pros, add into the mix the event being televised nationally and well... it's gonna hurt! Nothing like a bit of suffering in December to get you going for the season ahead!
Hopefully in my next entry I will have more of an idea as to what my 2009 will look like.