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It's the beginning of the season...not the end!

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Higgins runs through the team pursuit plan with Winder and Alves-Hyde.

Higgins runs through the team pursuit plan with Winder and Alves-Hyde. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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Coryn Rivera on an off season spin in Santa Monica.

Coryn Rivera on an off season spin in Santa Monica. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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2010 US omnium champion Sarah Hammer with Cari Higgins and Hanan Alves-Hyde.

2010 US omnium champion Sarah Hammer with Cari Higgins and Hanan Alves-Hyde. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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Cari Higgins is the 2010 US points race champion.

Cari Higgins is the 2010 US points race champion. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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Cari Higgins, Ruth Winder and Hanan Alves-Hyde are the 2010 US team pursuit champions.

Cari Higgins, Ruth Winder and Hanan Alves-Hyde are the 2010 US team pursuit champions. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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17-year-old Ruth Winder sporting DZ Bliss T.

17-year-old Ruth Winder sporting DZ Bliss T. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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The team is ready to start the team pursuit race for gold.

The team is ready to start the team pursuit race for gold. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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National champions outside team sponsor Larkspur Hotel Group's Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California.

National champions outside team sponsor Larkspur Hotel Group's Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)
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A Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12 fan.

A Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12 fan. (Image credit: Nicola Cranmer)

It is an interesting and exciting time of year to be a track racer! At first, it is a bit confusing when your close cycling friends are wrapping up their seasons, going on coffee rides, drinking beer at 'cross races and getting back to "normal" life. This is the time of year when I am ramping up the training and thinking about a winter of international racing.

I wrapped up another successful US Elite Track Nationals earlier this month. It is a huge bonus to have my coach, Neal Henderson of Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, at the track helping me out. It really lets me concentrate on my next event and nothing else. With his help and lots of long training days, I added four more stars-and-stripes jerseys to my collection for a total of 11 (fun stuff!).

With my Peanut Butter and Co. TWENTY12 teammates, we won the women's team pursuit where it was fun to see Ruth, a junior, pull on an elite jersey and Hanan, her first jersey, too! After adding another jersey in the points race, the fun continued on Sunday. With my world champion teammate, Jennie Reed, we won the first ever US women's elite Madison title. This is extra special after winning the first US women's elite omnium championship in 2010, and fun to ride the Madison with someone that can really throw an exchange (I hate a limp, soggy exchange...you know who you are!).

And if that isn't cool enough, I had the team sprint final to ride after the Madison with my good friend, Liz Reap-Carlson. I was so excited to hold up my end and stick to my sprinter roots by winning after such a long week. This is team sprint title number four and number three with Liz...see you next October, Liz!

With Nationals in the rear view mirror, I am back in LA at the ADT Velodrome at the first US National Team camp of the season. It is nice to get the team pursuit team together for a week of hard training leading up to UCI World Cup competition. And the racing...get your passport ready for Australia, Colombia, China, England and the Netherlands! The UCI schedule will keep the team busy...and we are sure to find other international events to fill the time.

All of this is possible only with the support of my team and sponsors. A big thanks to team manager/founder, Nicola for all her hard work, Mark Tyson for all the hours driving the motor in Colorado Springs, Tiemeyer for your desire to build the best frames in the world, Zipp for my new Super 9 and D2 Shoes for my happy feet.

So when you are home for the holidays with your families, remember that there are trackies sitting in airports around the world trying to get home from a camp or off to the next World Cup...and loving it! We are track racers - go fast and turn left!

Thanks for reading,
Cari Higgins