Kimberly Baldwin Diary: My final countdown

At the end of the 2005 racing season, when the future of the T-Mobile women's team was still up in the air, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to race at least one more year. So when the sponsorship came through and our team moved it's headquarters to Germany, it was like a dream come true. But all season long, I knew this would be my final season of racing. I love racing in Europe and, honestly, I would love to live in Europe. But I've reached a point in my life where I feel I need to accomplish new goals in a new realm and attain success in a different field. And with my husband racing on a top domestic squad, I get too lonely with us living on separate continents. I love to ride my bike. That will never change. And knowing all year that this would be my last racing season really gave me a chance to look at the bigger picture and appreciate all that the cycling life has offered me.

One of the greatest things I will take from cycling is the friends that I've made throughout the world. I've met so many people through this sport - most very cool but some not. All my best friends in the world, including my husband, all came to me through sports. University cross-country, triathlon, duathlon and cycling all provided me with the gift of life-long friendships. This past August, at the French World Cup, I came down to breakfast and sitting there at the next table was a great friend that I hadn't seen in over two years. Anke Erlank, a great South African cyclist and triathlete, was my teammate on both and Saturn. We'd travelled and raced together all over the States, Bermuda, Australia, and Europe. The past few years our paths had crossed randomly and when we did meet up, we'd start chatting like we'd never been apart, which is exactly what we did there in Plouay. We got to see each other again briefly at the World Championships and although I have no idea when I may see Anke again, I know that I will.

Click here to read the full feature.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1