The 2011 season... has officially started!
Waking up this morning it felt like just another day... one difference, however; it was my first race of 2011. A new team, new clothes and for me, a new race! Amazingly I was feeling relatively calm and relaxed, ready for action and to do my job for the team.
Race numbers? Check;
Following the race convoy to the start...? Errr... not check!
It's amazing how you can get lost when in a race convoy! The sound of the race radio kicks in;
"The teams that have just turned left on the roundabout, please turn round you are going the wrong way."
I look at my sports director and ask; "Who's going the wrong way?" To my surprise the answer was, "Us!" Following the car in front should be simple but it's not so easy if the car in front manages to go wrong. It did make me laugh though.
That was about as entertaining as the journey got, however. Traffic in Qatar is well, worse than the M25 - who would have thought there was a road worse than the M25?
Well, since being in Qatar I had seen no camels or snacks, but today that all changed as the race started at a camel race track.
Racing camels... you should see it - absolutely hilarious. To be honest they are nothing special standing still, but racing them certainly is special. How the guy riding one of them doesn't end up being sick at the end is anyone's guess.
Up, down, up, down, like a jack in the box. For anyone who has ever tried horse racing, I think this is harder! But for us it was just a funny prelude to the real business - focusing on the first stage.
Not much happened in the race today. I did my job, everyone was happy. Massage, food and then bed. Even so it's a long day. So, today I will introduce one of my teammates, Sarah Düster.
Sarah has been known over the last few seasons as the girl who has no fear when it comes to corners and descending. She was also Kirsten Wild's lead out, so not a bad rider to have in the team.
So, what have I learnt from Sarah? A whole bunch of German (nothing that will ever be much use, except maybe occasionally), although there has been a lot of positive stuff too, but that's boring, no? I have also learnt that her personality is just as big as she is - well, she's tall, but tall personality sounds wrong!
She's a great laugh and the one-liners she comes out with are amazing. "I need air everywhere," she told me at the end of the stage; the jersey could not have been any further open... quite an eyeful!
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After spending two years with the Moving Ladies Team, 21-year-old Emma Trott steps up in 2011 having signed with the powerhouse Nederland Bloeit team, led by UCI number-one ranked rider Marianne Vos.
Trott put in a solid 2010 season, highlighted by a time trial victory in the Czech Republic's Gracia-Orlova stage race, where she bested future teammates Vos and Annemie Van Vleuten. Her season was soon interrupted, however, as she was one of five British national team riders hit by a car while training in Belgium.
Join the promising British rider as she takes on her first race with Nederland Bloeit: the Ladies Tour of Qatar.