We have kept my website alive with the idea that I might like to come back and blog from time to time. Whilst that hasn’t happened on a regular basis, there is no time like the present to get started and fill you in on what’s happened since I decided to retire from professional cycling.
I guess the biggest news is that our first baby is due in a little under a week! Well, I guess that depends on who you talk to. The experts all like to tell me that the first bub is always late, so I guess looking at around 2 weeks. I sure hope not! Things are getting just a little uncomfortable at the moment and I’m kind of thinking that it would be nice to see my toes again, do up my own shoe laces without assistance and basically feel a little less like a heffalump.
I ‘spose I really shouldn’t complain as I’ve been able to remain fairly active. It’s only been in the last week that walking has taken over as my predominant exercise routine. Prior to that I was mountain biking 4 times a week and hitting up the single track close to home. The mountain bike was the natural choice for biking – at least it was after Dave managed to hunt down the steepest and shortest handlebar stem on the market. (A 30 degree, 40mm abomination with 2omm of spacers below it!?! – Dave) Now I look like a little old Dutch lady on her way to market – all I need to complete the image is a basket on the front. I don’t think I could get further away from the position I have been racing in for years! At least I managed to squeeze another couple of months of cycling in – I have always found it the best form of exercise for my joints. Well that and weight training . Now that my ligaments have the strength of jelly and my joints seem to be exploring angles they have never achieved before I was hardly going to take up running again… that would be an injury waiting to happen!
After spending the previous 5 Aussie winters in Europe basking in the sunshine a Canberra winter was always going to be a shock to the system. Mornings are the toughest as we frequently see heavy frosts and balmy -5 deg temps. Whilst mountain biking in the forest and at a slower pace is somewhat warmer and less breezy than on the road, on each ride I’ve had to sit huddled behind Dave and sunggle hands into armpits when I get the chance. This is all while trying not to fall off, what with an ever growing belly and changing centre of gravity.
I’ve also being getting my cycling fix following the Women’s Giro di Italia (thanks Podium Cafe!) and the Tour de France… in that order of importance of course. It was incredibly exciting to see highlights of the awesome competition between Marianne Vos, the 2 Emmas and Evelyn Stevens. Marianne’s class as a rider and her warmth and personality make her such an asset to women’s cycling and I’m hoping she stays around for a long time.
I’ve also enjoyed seeing the sensational results of the women’s GreenEdge team. With such a talented group of riders, great direction and a team that seems to gel and work well together, they were always going to launch onto the scene with a bang. With their attacking and aggressive style of racing (which I was always a fan of myself) I think the future is looking really positive for them. It’s almost enough to make we wish I had taken them up on their offer… almost.
On retiring from the professional scene, I was keen to remain involved in the sport rather than just become a passive observer. Cycling will always be part of our family as we really enjoy the sport and the fitness it provides but I also figured it was my turn to dish out some pain after all the ‘tough love’ I have received from my coachs throughout my career. To this end I have been studying for, and progressing through, my cycling coaching certificates.
Coaching is something that I have been thinking about for a while – I just needed some “down time” before I commenced my studies. Whilst I have an Exercise and Sport science degree and have studied coaching subjects at university, it has been refreshing to study through the cycling Australia program with mentors such as Sian Mulholland and Donna Rae Szalinski, who both just happen to be previous coaches of mine. It has been a good combination of theory and practical and, whilst it will take several years to gain the knowledge and experience required, I’m looking forward to the journey.
As part of the qualification I’m currently working towards I am now coaching a 17 year old who is based in Tasmania. I’m thoroughly enjoying working through his season, planning his weekly training programs and, of course, putting the “hurt” on another cyclist. So far, so good and I look forward to the next 6 months as I assist him in achieving his goals, whilst also making allowance for his normal life activities like school and work.
Since returning from Worlds last year in October, I have been back into work as an exercise physiologist and soft tissue therapist. I finished up a week ago and, whilst I still felt capable of working right up until my due date, Dave suggested that it was possibly cutting things a bit too fine. I’m not used to hanging around home with nothing to do but it has certainly been nice to chill out with friends over lunch, lounge around reading and catch up on lots of DVDs. Apparently I will have my hands pretty full very soon.
So there you go – there is life after cyclling!