16 Apr Pre-Season Travel Base Miles
I know I had promised more blogs and I will admit to dropping the ball for a long time. Once the season starts, it gets hectic and what I think is my weakness, writing, slips through the cracks. I’m sitting in the team van on our drive to Energiewacht Tour and finally finding the time to fulfill my promise and work on my weakness. I don’t want to provide race reports. I don’t think that is my job. I just want to give you a peek into life of chasing a dream and living out of my suitcase.
For my first blog of the year I’d like to give you some insight on how amazing, yet grueling some of my travel is like.
Race: Tour of San Luis
Where: San Luis, Argentina
When: January 4th
Travel Time: 33hrs
I’ve been to Argentina back in 2012 for Pan-Am Championships for the road race and though it was in a different location (Mar del Plata) I do remember the traveling being long. Short winter training at home in CA after finishing college, ring in the New Year with my family, pack the bags for the next 6 weeks, and head to the airport. 33 hours later, after having to rebook my first flight of the year after it was cancelled due to a plane mechanical, almost not being able to check in my bike and bag because it was just a hair under an hour before departure, hustling in the Miami airport to catch my next flight to Buenos Aires, and spending the evening in Buenos Aires I had finally arrived in San Luis. It only took more than a full day.
Racing was a success. I won the field sprint, finishing 2nd on the pre-stage race Grand Prix in the rain. I won the first stage of the stage race in a blazing fast downhill sprint finish and an amazing lead-out from my girls, also putting me in the leaders jersey. Then after the entire team(and most of the peloton, including some race officials) battled the usual South American stomach and toilet issues, we delivered Katie at the base of the mountain stage for her to win the stage and take the race leader’s jersey and we ultimately won the overall race general classification. What a start of the season!
What: UnitedHealthcare Team Camp
Where: Palm Harbor, Florida
When: January 16th
Travel Time: 40hrs
After a post-race party at the governor of San Luis’ mansion, a “free” day to see more of the city of San Luis(except I got more sick with a fever that kept me in bed all day), and packing our bags now heavier with trophies and leader’s jerseys we set off for our travels back to our homeland. Every time, no matter how short or long the trip is away from America and no matter the destination in the states, it is always the best feeling to hand your passport to the US Customs Officer, they ask some questions about your trip, stamp your passport, and say “Welcome home.”
There were some obstacles before I could hear my favorite greeting in the US though. We again, spent a night in Buenos Aires, then spent about 6hrs in the airport to wait to check in our bags. It would have been fun to sight-see and explore Buenos Aires, but after getting sick I was exhausted and was still trying to recover from it. Plus someone had to stick around and watch the bags. Instead we spent 3hrs in the downstairs coffee shop, then migrated to the upstairs coffee shop for another 3hrs. Although, it was neat to speak to some off-road racers in the immigration line who were going home after racing the Dakar Rally through Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. Eventually I finally heard my favorite, “Welcome home”, then hopped in the team van for 4.5hrs. Unpack the bags for team camp and call another hotel “home” for about a week and a half.
Race: Ladies Tour of Qatar
Where: Doha, Qatar
When: January 31st
Travel Time: 14hrs
Was a great opportunity to race the 2016 Qatar UCI Road World Championships course. More than 20 round about to go through or around will prove to be a race about maintaining position and staying out of trouble. And every now and then I always somehow find myself off the front of a race solo, when I probably shouldn’t be. Maybe I just wanted more camera time so I could tell my mom happy birthday and sorry for not being around again for the 8th time or something like that…
Where: Home in California
When: February 6th
Travel Time: 32hrs
After a busy and condensed team camp, the travels to Qatar wasn’t as bad as on the way back. Mostly because it was a direct flight there and I was returning home to California, so my travels home was elongated thanks to the wild wild west being my destination. But that is always worth it. Even after 32hrs.
So there you have it – my early season travel “base miles”, it felt like I took a lap around the world in an airplane. But just like my training during my off-season on the bike, the base miles I have logged on an airplane or vehicle will be sure to top any other length of travel I have before me during the rest of the season. Or so I hope.