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A fresh new year

So Christmas has come and gone and we are into the new year. I don't know what 2010 will bring but it always feels like the slate is getting wiped clean and everyone can start from zero again. Rankings reset, points for certain competitions back to nil, teammates changed, sponsors changed and the previous year is nearly erased from the memory. This is all good, unless you had a great 2009 in which case you are probably pretty annoyed the trend doesn't continue! So now it’s time for planning, training, ramping up, and dreaming of the coming year. This doesn't mean, however, that the fun is gone, just changed or maybe reduced a little.

The last month has been busy. Training has stepped up a little as the hours rack up and intensity increases. For me it has been a steady gradual increase in everything since starting to try and gain momentum and get rolling back on December 1, 2009. I'm still enjoying the training, but there are more days of coming home from training totally spent. I guess more training = less time at coffee shops! After running fairly solo on my training plans during the last three years in the USA, for 2010 I decided I needed someone to kick my butt a little more and help me put things into better perspective. Time to plan properly and take things more seriously.

I've started working with a sports scientist who works at the University of Colorado in Denver. His name is Inigo San Millan and he's recently been in the news by signing on as the head exercise physiologist with Team Garmin-Transitions. Luckily I snuck in just before he signed! It’s a little strange to be on someone else’s schedule for once and after so many years of being responsible for myself, handing over control to Inigo isn't an easy thing to do - especially for a control freak. I am, however, in great hands, so here we go!

Apart from all this training, the fun hasn't totally ended. I hooked up with Joel, a good friend of mine who works for the San Diego Chargers NFL team. I know nothing about football, but Joel got me some tickets and even got me onto the field. For someone not really into football, I didn't realize how big this was... sorry Joel! Seeing other guests down on the field crying and shaking at the experience kind of told me how serious this whole game is in the States. I had a fantastic day, and I guess I now have a team that I can follow - luckily the Chargers are a pretty good team!

So, it’s out with 2009 and into 2010. An exciting year with a new title sponsor. I'll miss having OUCH as a sponsor, as it was a fun year and Brent Kay was fantastic to get behind us and help out when cycling sponsors were pulling out all over the place. We couldn't have asked for a more passionate guy. Brent is now someone I have as a friend, and will hopefully see him around the races this year. And watch out, I hear he is a pretty fast track rider!!

We have a great sponsor taking over for 2010 - UnitedHealthcare insurance company. Hopefully we can make the guys proud and really help promote a healthy lifestyle for the subscribers and the employees in the company.

Next stop is a training camp at the start of February. It will be great to meet up with all the old teammates, and of course the new ones too. A lot of training and a lot of fun is on the cards for camp. One of the best things about camp is that it’s like a second Christmas. Bags and bags of new clothes, new bikes, and pretty much new everything! So hopefully my next diary will be from camp, or just afterwards, with photos of all our new stuff. Life isn't so bad sometimes!


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Follow the adventures of our Australian as he hits out from his Southern California base to the biggest races in the US.

Rory Sutherland is back on the North American circuit and better than ever with UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis . Riding alongside teammates like Chris Baldwin, Karl Menzies and Tim Johnson, Sutherland will work to bring the team to the top of the heap in the Americas.