Ringing in the Olympic year

January 24, 2008

So another Olympic year has just started, and I feel a bit like I just kept rolling from the finish line of my last race straight to the start line of the new season. For one or the other reason, the off season was not as relaxing as I wanted and needed it to be. Now it will be interesting to see how I can work out of a non-perfect position.

At least my body got a bit of a break from the bike. Actually this is kind of a sad procedure every year though: You stop riding your bike and 'boooom!' All the muscles are gone! Then my legs only look like sticks with a fat layer around, and all the running and skiing I do don't seem to do anything to prevent that.. Anyway, better times are in sight, because I am on Mallorca now for the first training camp. Here with me is the European squad of our team, finally trying to escape from all the rain, snow and cold.

Big changes have happened in the past few weeks to our team. Magenta is out - Black is in! Good bye T-Mobile - Hello High Road! Of course it is sad when a story of success finds such a bad ending. I was always very proud to wear the T-Mobile jersey. Last week I had to cover every little magenta spot or stripe on my bike, which was a weird feeling. Its funny to hide something which everybody knows about! Actually I had never noticed before, that this magenta colour was really everywhere: on our clothing, bikes, cars, brains, everywhere! Now its all black (maybe not the brains).

Despite of some difficulties that have come along with T-Mobile pulling out, I am still very optimistic considering that everybody is working hard to make the best out of the new situation. Plus, an ending always means the start for something new which makes it possible to improve things or to break with outdated structures. For myself, I will try to improve my fitness first of all - here on Mallorca and then later on in California at team camp before heading to Australia and New Zealand for the first block of racing.

It's nice to feel a little improvement every day. I am working with the SRM training system for years now, and spend a lot of time evaluating my training files. Its interesting to compare the files with some of the previous years, and if you look at every file thoroughly enough you can direct your training much more effectively. Also the feeling on the bike can sometimes be deceptive, but the numbers and graphs I get to see after each ride are always telling the truth.

To get into shape requires a lot of patience. I find that hard every time again. Starting from zero, plus, it's pretty boring sitting on the bike every day just light pedaling for hours and hours. On the other hand, when my friend and team-mate Anke Wichmann tells me stories about the cyclo-cross races she is doing, I am only glad that I don't have to do that. Not only that I wouldn't really like to fall into the mud - I also can't really imagine to put myself into this bad pain of going over the limit in a bike race yet. So I think I just have to be bored for a little longer until I am ready to stand some pain in my legs again. It all makes sense.

This winter I have found out that there are many different sorts of pain. For example, I did my first marathon last October. The running world is a totally different world compare to cycling - and so is the pain. While running my legs lost all their feeling after 35 kms. I used to think that if something is numb you can't feel pain either, but that was very wrong! It was painful, but different! In any case it was an interesting experience.

I hope I get to make some more interesting experiences this year - Bejing would be a nice one, for instance. So far I was 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th at Olympic Games. If I look at this from the optimistic side I would say, two numbers are still missing in that series. When I see it from the other side, I would say, I'm just not a winner type! :-) We will see, for sure I am very excited heading into an Olympic year again. It will be hard to get qualified in a country like Germany, with so many strong riders, but I hope that I can manage to jump on that boat again, and then be a useful team member this time (and not such a disaster that I was last year at Worlds).

For now though I have to remain training patiently, and to bridge the time and keep myself in a good mood, I will be celebrating every muscle on my legs that decides to come back and every vein that dares to show through the fat layer on my calves. Soon racing under the new High Road flag starts, and I hope then there will be better reasons to celebrate again!



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