Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Team Presentation

Team presentation, a time for the sponsors to see everyone together. For us to finally show off our new kit, bikes, cars, etc. The calm before the storm! The presentation day although long, is one of them days you cannot help but enjoy. This day was no different and I for one really had a good day, even if it meant at the end of it all, all I wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep!

So, this blog is just going to be pictures from our presentation. Because you know sometimes I am lazy but sometimes pictures tell a much better story!

So, here it is, the much anticipated picture from our team photo day. This picture for me, is one of the most important. That is because it is the one that I will have stuck with me for the rest of the year. This picture will appear on the website, on team cards and on all press release things. So although I am not very interested the most of the time in doing my make up and making sure my hair is exactly right for this day I really was!

Presentation day has two main objectives, one to show the world the new kit and two a chance for the sponsors to see what they are supporting. Once the typical introduction of staff and riders is complete generally the next step in a presentation is for the riders to mingle and chat with those who have come. Believe the room was packed and there was a lot of people to talk to! For me this is no problem, I found myself within my element and for sure without a doubt this was the best bit of the day! Time is irrelevant at these kind of functions and you just make the most of the opportunity you have to talk to these people, showing an appreciation to them for the support they are showing the team.

For the year of 2012 I will be riding a Koga bike. Both in the road races and within all TT's. The road bike I have recently received and have really felt at home on it straight away. It is such a positive bike. It handles very well and especially so at the high speeds. I feel happy on it and know for sure when I put it into the corner it is going to react the way I would expect it to. The TT I have also been very lucky to try. Words do not describe the feeling of riding on that bike, words would just not do it justice. It is an amazing bike, super fast, super stiff and just an absolute joy to ride. How many people say that about their TT bikes!! I really look forward to riding it, I just love it so much!

The team bus, what can I say! Not many women's team are blessed with the luxury of having a bus like this at their disposal, so I see myself very fortunate to have such a thing! It certainly is something very useful to have in terms of changing and just having that one place before a race where you can hide out. It is by no means to the scale of that of what a men's team would have, but it is practical and it is going to do a bloody good job, that I am sure of. The colour scheme is that of everything we have this year. Everything matches which is really cool. The colours really grow on you.

Last but by no means least, I give to you Dolmans-Boels Cycling Team 2012. Here's to a successful year for everybody, individually but most importantly as a team!

Cycle Fit

So here I am on my rest day in Spain, again thinking writing a blog is probably the best thing to do!

So, instead of wittering on about the first few days of training camp, that can wait until next week or so, I will write about something also very important for me, and should be for every other cyclist, CycleFit.

A few days before returning to Belgium I found myself on my way to London to visit the guys at CycleFit. This was not my first time, but after last year with the custom foot beds I really saw the benefit and could not understand how people ride with one size fits all. It's important to find a shoe that really fits well but I feel people really miss a trick when it comes to the sole. This is where your foot has direct contact, this is where the power is going to be transferred from leg to pedal. The better the feeling and the better the contact, means a better transfer of power.

So, my shoe choice for the coming year is Bont Vaypor. It is a very comfortable shoe and one of the best on the current market. It is a very stiff shoe but that is something that I like. With the added stiffness of my custom foot beds I feel for the year 2012 I have the perfect combination. As well as making sure you have a perfect shoe and sole combination the cleat set up is also very important. This takes time, and for me this took a lot of time! You can never be in a rush when trying to sort things like cleat position and bike position. It is something that takes time and cannot be rushed. It should not be rushed because a poor position with your cleat or set up or your bike can result in injuries, which is something as athletes we try to avoid like the plague!

I have a lot to thank Phil and Jules for, it took time but you know what we might finally be there. Saddle change and a few changes here and there and the bike now feels great. Cycle Fit are amazing people, it's a great service and I would recommend to anyone, but also the banter you have when there is great!

I am very happy to be able to say that they will be supporting me for the coming year and I am very excited about that. I am currently on training camp and the changes we made to the bike feel very positive. I am on my new team bike and the first time I rode it, it was amazing because of these adjustments.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In typical Emma style it's been a fair while since I updated my blog! But, in my defence things have been busy!

January training camp came and went! Some good miles were put in and the banter did not disappoint. 10 days training and 1000Km were covered, including the famous Emma "easy" rides! As Macsha put it, "It's always an easy ride with Emma!" I just got excited when I was riding my time trial bike, it's amazing, it just makes you go fast! The thing is I didn't realise just how fast we were going until I downloaded my data in the evening! Put it this way, I now go easy! The weather was perfect, it just makes getting out on your bike that much better, riding in the sun! All was good apart from a little bit of sickness. Not great but perfect time to get sick in my opinion. If your going to get sick January is a good time, still a long time until the first race, so a lot of training still lay ahead, if I looked after myself. Which I did, I learnt that from last year. After a few easy days when I got home I was back on it again and putting in some solid training.

So, apart from riding my bike what else have I been up to. First and foremost I attended the Cycling Time Trials Dinner. Always a good night out and especially for a good chance to attend and show my appreciation for the support that they will be giving me this year. I am very happy to be accepting the funding and hope to do them proud with some good results this year. The dinner however again did not disappoint. The food as always was amazing, the whole prize giving thing took a long time but that's nothing out of the ordinary and I suppose that is why you go! But, for me the best thing about the whole evening was the Graeme Obree interview. It was very inspiring and so totally true. It all just made sense, he spoke the truth, it left me inspired. After speaking to him on a one to one after it left me feeling very positive about what I was doing and why I was doing it. Despite what a lot of people think about the man, he is not as strange as people make out, just a very sound man. He knows what he wants and is going to get there his way, which I suppose is why I like him. Maybe in a way I see myself, doing battle on my way, my way or no way!

So, that's what I have been up to. All the normal things as well, riding, resting, sleeping! But, just enjoying life! So until next time, remember, live life to the maximum, never regret anything!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Team Photo's

Team photos is suppose to be easy right……..Hair, makeup, smile = job done! All sounds pretty straight forward, the hardest challenge myself and Lieselot had that day was actually making it to Limburg in one piece!

Throughout this season we will be sharing the driving. We live about 30Km apart, in English terms 20miles! Basically its stupid to take 2 cars, so considering she drove last time it meant for this road trip it was my turn! Easy, I meet her at Gent, put her bag and bike into my car and we leave for Limburg. How wrong could I have been!

This day happened to be quite a fierce storm, not just hitting Belgium but also back home in Britain too. Lieselot has a Citroen C1, the rear of which or boot area happens to be made mostly of glass. In the time it had taken me to get out of my car, and for Lieselot to lift the boot and remove her bike there was this almighty BOOM!

My first reaction, and I have no idea why, was to shield my face! Turned out, however, to be the right decision. Glass was flying everywhere, mostly towards me as that happened to be the direction of the wind. So, now, instead of packing my car, we both in some serious shock! And it didn’t take long before we worked out what had caused, what can only be described as a sudden sand storm of glass! With the intensity of the wind Lieselot’s boot just shattered and completely smashed to pieces. I knew the wind was strong but that strong. In the shock of the car incident I completely forgot about my wheels that I had removed from my car in order to put her bike in. I was now watching them roll across the road as the wind was causing havoc! So there I was running across a fairly main road after my wheels! Good start to the day and we still had the 2 hour drive to Limburg!

The thing is despite having such a bad start the rest of the day actually went off relatively easy. Team photos were due to take three hours, well that was the time slot we had, but with these things you should always expect to be there a little longer. These things take time! My attitude to team pictures is; this photo is going to be the photo you have to have for a whole season so better make it a good one! I mean 14 girls, everyone has to have their make-up done, and it’s just going to take time! As I write this I have not yet seen what the pictures look like, so fingers crossed I have a good photo for the next 12 months…..

So, that’s another blog done, the next will come after the training camp in Pego! Who knows what can happen there but for sure there is going to be a few tales to tell!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Team

Ending the old starting the new, how do you celebrate bringing in a New Year! One answer and only one answer, London Town, without a doubt! The New Year, regardless of what Australia think, is not the New Year until Big Ben strikes! What better way than spending the start of the year in your home city with thousands of other people. It's the only time of year where, kind of, everyone becomes friends and celebrates together.

So it's official 2012 is finally here and now I can finally say I am a Dolmans-Boels Cycling Team rider, and boy I am so happy to be able to say that! I am so happy to be part of a team that is going places and cannot wait to get this season under way!

I've decided this year I am going to be writing a blog to keep you all updated on what I'm up to! I did, however, decided I was going to do this every other year too but this year is the year, well at least it feels like it right now anyway!

With the girls that I will be spending the year with I am 100% sure there will be some funny stories and tales to be told. So stay posted because from what I learnt from the girls so far some of the stories are going to be totally unmissable!

So, what's next, well no rest for the wicked is what's next! I leave for Belgium in the morning (2nd January), as team photos are calling for the next day. Sure to be a barrel of laughs! Then it's straight back to Spain and another episode of Lost in Pego, so part 2 is quickly upon us. But, training in Spain is amazing, it's without a doubt one of the best places to go for a bike rider and I for one cannot wait to get back out there!

So, I'm off, packing, cleaning, a short ride is the order of the day today! So Happy New Year to you all, hope it's a successful one in whatever walk of life you are from!

Bring on on 2012!