October 26, 2006: Signing on during the off-season

Its funny, the first time I finally get to write a diary entry for Cyclingnews I can actually only tell about my vacation. Not that my vacation was not interesting enough, but for sure it had nothing to do with cycling...

Oh actually this is not quite right, because our hiking trip to the Alps got interrupted by a little team meeting in Switzerland. For three days the whole T-Mobile Women's Team for 2007 got together in Lugano. We stayed at a very beautiful and fancy hotel called Villa Sassa - where the rooms where as huge as dancing halls and everything was quite luxurious. The nicest thing probably was the wellness area - too bad we couldn't enjoy all those things because most of the time we were stuck in our bus and the bus was stuck in the terrible traffic in Lugano.

Normally traffic jams are not very useful to anybody, but not this time, because we got to reach one of the main goals of this team meeting - to get to know each other a little bit. You don't need army camps like CSC, just sit the whole team into a bus and send it out in rush hour and you will see how different people behave in an unpleasant situation. I'm sure all my new team mates know me now as a very silent person, with a pale face, and always sitting on a single chair in the first row.

But being car sick is not the only thing I got out of these days. There has been many more nice things I will take with me into the winter break like knowing that I get to work with motivated and positive thinking people, the self confidence I found when I was able to finish the wire-cable parcours at the adventure park (which was only possible for me by getting supported by team mates), the anticipation to get excellent new bike equipment and clothing and last, but not least, I'm also looking forward to seeing and signing the new team posters and autograph cards we did a photo shoot up in the mountains for. (In case I look good on the pictures, the credit is entirely Kate (Bates'). She spent an hour on straightening my hair!)

So this team meeting was actually both the ending of a successful year for the T-Mobile Team and the start of the new season 2007 already.

I'm glad there are some months in between now though, before the first races. I will leave my bike to get some well deserved rest in the dark garage for a while and will use running shoes, skies and soccer balls instead. For sure, I have to work on my running skills after I got dropped by Oenone Wood and Linda Melanie Villumsen (even hang over!) when we did a little run one morning in Lugano. I have to say though that it was not only me who got dropped, it was five of us starting and first it went pretty okay - running down to the lake. In the flat part Kate was the first one who stopped and was pretending to do this on purpose to do some stretching. Anke Wichmann and I continued, but Ankes head looked like a tomato already and we were both more than happy when we got to the turning point. The way back was a steep climb and I felt that I was moving like a potato sack. Anke had a staring look in her eyes. My heart rate was 176 and we both watched the young ones talking and running away from us. I think we both felt kind of old.

Anyways, I will train hard to be better next year. To feel like a heavy potato sack is not funny!


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