Saturday, August 29, 2009


I'm almost at the end of the second week of the Australian Institute Training camp here in Canberra. I will be adding my full diary of the experience in the next couple of days, but for now while I wait for my VO2 fitness test I would like to wish my darling husband Ian Potter the happiest of HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes. I'm missing my number one team mate alot and it's always hard when you miss special occasions with those you love. Now I'm trying not to turn this blog into a soppy sad one as absence makes the heart grow fonder and this absence will toughen Ian up who must feel lost without me :)  It must be hard for Ian to be living in a much more orderly household right now without the usual chaos that surrounds my every waking moment. I'm sure he is missing my cooking too and must be wasting away now that he has to eat at the hotel restaurant every night...I mean who would rather eat fine quality three course professionally trained Chef Russel Blake extraordinaire cuisine or my dodgy potato and pea dishes?
I hope you have a wonderful wonderful wonderful birthday Ian!!!!! For those of you out in Luchon who read my blog please give Ian a massive hug from me. I'm sure it will make his day if all you locals and AQR Holidays makers keep hugging my hubby on his special day.
Now back to the KP Adventures Down Under. Tomorrow we move out of the Australian Institute of Sport into Team Oz Headquarters that we will be sharing with the entire 66 athletes and staff from all biking disciplines competing at the World Championships. On Sunday night we have a Team presentation and dinner where we will receive our uniform and race kit. I have never worn the green and gold colours of Australia, so this is rather a special occasion for all of us who have been selected, for many of us it is the first time, which makes it even more special as well as taking baby footsteps into the unknown world of international racing at this level where everyone will be aiming for their best performance of the year.
I must dash as I have to prepare myself for the third VO2 test of the training camp to see if there have been any improvements....fingers crossed!
Cheerios for now


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Saturday, August 22, 2009


I have lasted the first week of the Australian training camp here in Canberra as we Aussies focus on the main event....The World Championships!!! I have to keep reminding myself that I will be representing my country as it hasn't really hit home just yet. My last blog focused on the travelling antics and prep of making my way to Oz from my little home in Luchon. I have been tested in more ways than one this week, and am feeling the mental and physical strain that is all part of the job. I'm feeling tired, but I know that is how I'm expected to feel....even when I struggle to walk up one flight of stairs. I still remind myself that I want heavy legs! I want to feel tired! I want to Ian always reminds me 'pain is an emotion and emotion is to be enjoyed' . So yes I'm hurting with a smile on my face or perhaps an upside down grimace, after all I'm in Down Under Land.
Today is my first day or proper recovery and the first time I have explored a little bit of Canberra. The day was sunny, but quite chilly as it's still winter in Oz. Canberra is a cyclists haven, and there are specially designed paths and roads for cyclists to ride on safely. I have just returned from a lovely chilled out ride with some of the team and am supposed to be doing some AQR work whilst I have the opportunity, but I will start with my blog and then try and focus on the work that has been slowly mountaining up whilst I have had a week out of the AQR office.
I'm relieved that I got through the last four days as they were pretty intense. I have enjoyed the testing in the lab which is unlike any testing I have had before. I have also enjoyed checking the course out at Mount Stromlo and training on unfamilar terrain. What I have seen of the course so far is unlike any trail I have ever ridden. The sand stone rocky sections are quite technical and although I'm coping with the technical climb ok after only a couple of times on it, as soon as I start pushing it too hard I find myself making clumbsy mistakes and losing balance. There is one steep section called 'Cardiac Climb' which speaks for itself and then there is the famous 'Hammer Head' that I have heard so much about from all the Aussie racers who have had the opportunity to race on the course already. I haven't got my head around Hammer Head just yet as we haven't had a chance to look closely at line choices, but that's what I have to look forward to tomorrow. I can tell you there is going to be a fair amount of brusing and crashing on this section of the course as it is very testing and will only become more testing when fatigue settles in. There are some really fun and flowy sections on the course as well....and plenty of jumps of all shapes and sizes, including a huge drop of and a couple of gap jumps. Tomorrow I look forward to looking at these sections more closely and perhaps with a first aid kit near by just incase. I already have a few holes in my knees from some silly crashes at the slowest speed you can imagine. I was trying to work out which line I should take....too many decisons later and I was head over handle bars eating dirt and bleeding. I was having a shocking day yesterday even though my legs didn't feel as bad as I expected them to....I just had no balance. I even fell off a log ride that I cleared easily the day before.
Well I must dash, well perhaps hobble as the legs are in no dashing mood. Dinner calls and then I really must do some work before Mr Potter fires me from my role as AQR secretary.
Hope you are all in biking good spirits and I will return soon with further KP updates on the lead up to the 2009 Mountain Bike World Championships.
Cheerios for now

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WHERE AM I??????????

I have received a few emails lately from family and friends wondering if I'm in Canada, UK, France or Oz.....or perhaps lost somehwere else in the wide world riding my little Soda on a sweet piece of single track. Well I'm safe and sound, but can't go into too much detail as I'm on an offical Australian team training camp....which is all a bit top secret. Yes I can confirm that I have been selected for the Australian team at the 2009 World Championships and it's day 2 of the three week tapering and race prep for what is going to be a once in a life time opportunity. I'm not saying that I may never work towards representing Australia again ( I'm not giving up any time soon), but in my racing lifetime there may never be a world championships in Oz, so I feel rather priviliged to be here.
I haven't been able to write on my blog for a while though as the past two weeks have been a mad rush for the Potter duo. I returned from Canada disapointed with my two races, but on the bright side had learnt so much and fell in love with Canada and the Canadian people who were so friendly and helpful. I landed back in Luchon on a Wednesday and found out on Friday morning that I had been selected for the Australian team and that I needed to be in Canberra (Australia's Capital Territory where the politicians live) feeling strong a week and a half later. I knew jetlag could be an issue, so I decided to catch the first affordable flight I could find which was three days later. Then I had to think about how much luggage I needed for what is going to be a 9 week mountain bike racing and riding adventure...three weeks in Oz, one week in Switzerland, one week in Austria, four weeks in the UK! I had to pack for a training camp, a world championship, two world cups, a national British race, an AQR guiding weekend, the London Cycle Show and a Potter skills coaching weekend down in Wales...before a little drive back home to Luchon for more AQR adventures.
First I had to think about the bike which hadn't actually turned up at first as it got lost en route from Canada. But I have a swanky new Cotic KP24 prototype full suss bike which needed building so I focused on putting Ian and our work experience recruit Matt to work (joking I did help too.....I made tea and passed tools :)   ) The boys did an awesome job and the new bike looks lovely.
When the my Soda race bike turned up then I got stuck into building it and then repacking it along with the second bike. There is always the worry of making sure you are under the designated weight. I chose British Airways as I have found them the most lenient when it comes to weight limits and bike bags. Ian and I weren't too sure if British Airways would allow me to take two bike bags on though....that might just be stretching the friendship. We tried to pack two bikes in one box, but that just wasn't going to happen. In the end we decided to risk it and packed two bike bags and I left half my clothes in Luchon and only took hand luggage on board. Anyway to cut a long story of packing and stressing and last minute faffing short, British Airways were amazing and didn't even question one of the bike bags that was a couple of kilos over weight.....THANKYOU!
So then it was teary au revoirs to my number one team mate...Ian gets so emotional sometimes and he used up all my tissues. I had 24hrs of travelling ahead, but lucky for me I manged to sleep on the plane for most of the time, which is definitely a KP first. I landed in Sydney where I would spend three days with my folks. Unfortunately as I thought might happen, both bikes remained in London. So I was forced to train on my Dad's old bike with flat pedals and only one brake.....I stayed glued to the turbo as Sydney traffic can be lethal.
The bikes were delivered to my parent's house on Sunday morning at 1am, and then 10 hours later I was heading inland to see my wonderful Grandma who hasn't been very well. It was really lovely catching up with family who I haven't seen for a long time. Then I had to say more goodbyes as My dad very kindly drove me down to Canberra for the start of the trainign camp. 
It was a 3-4 hour journey listening to the country tunes of Kenny Rogers which suited the landscape which is quite rugged and brown in places. We passed dried up Lake George, which now has cattle grazing on it and I loved seeing all the difference species of colourful aussie birds and the odd kangaroo bounding along. 
Dad and I arrived at the Australian Institute of Sport at 4:30pm and after another farewell it was time to get settled in to my home for the next couple of weeks. I found it quite strange settling in at the Australian Institute of Sport. When I was younger I dreamed of being an athlete of some description and having the opportunity to train here. I never made it as a tennis player or a runner, nor would I ever have been flexible enough to have made it as a gymnast....I figured that one day I would just love to take a tour around the place and thought it would be more of a tourist attraction for me than a place to reside. But here I am as a mountain biker surrounded by the best trainers and scientists in the country......good god what have got myself in for.....yes now the nerves are starting, but I'm very excited about this opportunity, one which I never thought would happen.
I will try and keep you up to date with my biking travels.
Cheerios for now

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Grrrrrrrrrr.....and that's not from the Canadian Bears!

Well it's 5:30am here in beautiful Bromont and I'm suffering post race insomnia. I have had a very restless night sleep as my brain has been overthinking again after another disapointing race due to mechanicals. So what better way to take out my frustration then hit these laptop keys with all my finger tip strength and have a little whinge at the same time to the wider world about my second Canadian racing adventure.
I'm not to sure yet if this will be my 'official' racing report, but it might well be as I have quite a few hours to spare before Zoe and I are head off to Montreal to catch our flights back home, but we will see how far I get....I haven't written my report for the race last week just yet, but I'm used to doing things back to front so it makes sense really. I'm not sure if I have introduced Zoe to you all yet, but she is my good friend from Sydney and races for an ace cycling shop called 'King of the Mountain' or KOM, so for those of you planning a trip to Sydney then make sure you check this cycling shop out....ask for Warren. Anyway back to what is supposed to be a race report.
The week leading up to the 6th round of the world cup series was spent in what I consider 5 star luxury. Apparently it is only 2 star, but for a mountain biker on a tight budget this place was amazing. The accommodation was called 'Auberge des Jardins' and was only about 30 minute cycle from the race course. It was a little off the beaten track, but surrounded by trees. It was a huge place that accommodated plenty of teams and riders here for the world cup. I loved the fact that every morning I heard birds rather than traffic and I even saw marmots and deer close by. Fortunately no bears, although today I'm feeling much like a grizzly.....and I'm sure I will get worse by this afternoon after only 4 hrs sleep. Anyway Zoe and I have been here since Monday afternoon and settled right into preparing for world cup 6. I was determined to have a good race this time round and the legs were wanting a good work too so I couldn't wait for yesterdays race.
Tuesday was spent recovering from the travelling and Coach Ross only wanted us to spin our legs on the road. So we didn't get out on course until Wednesday. The sun was shining and the track was in pretty good condition with only a few sticky muddy sections that were a battle to ride in places. Apparently there was a race here a month ago and the whole course was knee deep in mud, but we were told that since then the organisers had made the course a bit more weather proof. The course was really good fun, but tough. The climb started with short steep sections of fire road with a few metres flat inbetween, but there were a few slippery rocks that could catch you out so you really had to make sure you were in the right position and looking ahead. Then the climb undulated ever so slightly with a mixture of rooty and rocky single track....oh and did I mention the sticky mud. The type of mud that is quicker to run unless you have a nice thin tyre that will cut through it. The climb finished with an easier fire road section where there were plenty of places to overtake before more really fun single track over some small bridges and then onto some bmx stylee jumps that brought a smile to your face. Then the course became very rocky, but I was quite pleased with how I was riding until I suddenly hit a right hand switchback over a rock, the forks dived big time and I went flying over the handle bars full pelt. I was kind of shocked because it wasn't expected. I checked the bike over and tried to ride it again but the shock of the crash brought on some little shakes that I really didn't need tingling through my fingers tips at this point in time. I watched other riders attempt this switchback, but everytime I went to ride down it the person in front crashed before me which brought on more nervous little shakes. What was frustrating me was the fact that this switchback was no harder than what I ride in Luchon. Many of our favourite trails can have over 50 swithchbacks and it's the tighter lines I like to it's the only time I can occasionally out corner Ian who is too tall to take my sneaky little tight lines. I finally rode the switchback and this time I held it together, but only just as the forks compressed again. I figured I needed more air in them, and made a mental note to check the air pressure when I finished this loop. But then as I peddled off my bike felt like a pogo stick. I was fighting the front end of the bike every time I hit something. (Gulp) I think I broke my forks.....sorry. I played around with the rebound and just tried to take the smoothest line possible and then I hit a small dip that I would normally crusie through and once again I was over the handle bars and found myself hugging a tree. The last section had loads of rocks and roots, some wooden steps that I would normally really enjoy riding, but I coudn't get my weight back far enough on some sections and truly felt like a spanner. When I hit the fire road again I knew there was something wrong with how the forks felt, but needed expert opinion because my mechanical skills don't go far enough to know alot about how forks work.
My lovely new found friend Aarron from Magura USA wasn't arriving in Bromont until Saturday, so I had to practice with my forks pretty hard and that seemed to help, but I found myself carrying a shock pump around and adjusting the air pressure all the time because one minute they felt good and then they would go back to feeling like they had lost air. On Saturday morning I could only practice 10am-midday and my friend Friso who was my Magura mechanic last year who now works for Dt Swiss took time out to look at my forks....and it was confirmed I had damaged my forks. I am offically a bike bit destroyer!!!! I'm really fortunate that Magura are so supportive and go to great lengths to help Magura riders out. Mechanicals are all part of the sport and I have yet to hear of any mechanical thing since the industrial and technological revolution began that has never been broken or faulted in some way. It's the quality of the back up service that really means alot to most people, especially me. Every person I have met who works for Magura have been wonderful and I can't thank the team enough for looking after me. Anyway they thought the damping had gone, so the boys got to work and my forks were ready to roll for race day. Unfortunately I couldn't practice the course again, so I had to wait for the race to find out if all was well.
On the start line I was gridded at number 39. I had some fast back wheels to chase as many of the girls in front were Olympians and national champions. When it was time to sprint up the climb I knew today could be a good day. My legs were feeling good and I had made up some places, but then I got tangled up with another rider who slipped out, which is typical of the world cup starts as there are so many riders fighting for a position on the single track. But I was relaxed and kept fighting my way up past riders and trying not to be dropped by too many girls out in front, but then as I hit the first undulating section of trail I was off over the handlebars again. The bike had dived on me and I knew I was going to struggle on the descent. Struggle is an understatement. Even on the easier sections of trail I was constantly fighting the bike and had to back off the pace just to try and get down it in one peice. I lost loads of places on the descent, which was frustrating, but I focused on getting used to how the bike was feeling and just tried to take lines I could manage or simply run. I knew I was climbing well today, but the bike Gods decided I needed further challenges and as I jumped back on my bike my seat moved sky high so that I was forced to sit on the very tip of the saddle which changed my position on the bike entirely. I think my coach must have been wondering what I was doing in such a strange position, but I decided not to stop in the pit because I like challenges and I didn't want anybody passing me on the climb.
That was the story of my race really, a sore bottom on the climbs and the slowest pace I have ever ridden a race down hill. I checked my forks and they were down to about 25 psi when I had added 55 before the race. I finished one lap down in 33rd, so under the circumstances I still earnt good points. But it's the first time this year I have finished one lap down which is disapointing when my legs were feeling so good. But that's mountain bike racing for you and after talking to an American racer today who lost a front tooth and had worse luck than me yesterday, than you know that lady luck will be watching out for us both next time round. My coach Neil actually seemed happy with with my performance or maybe he was just putting on a happy face, but he did say that it's good training when mechanical hurdles confront us in a race. On the plus I have learnt so much these last two weeks. I have had so many mechanical lessons from Magura and DT Swiss. Even though I have missed Ian like crazy (yes you were missed love), I have learnt alot. When you have a husband who goes out of his way to be your mechanic and does a very good job at it too, it means that you don't always learn. I also have a terrible habit of switching off (only occassionly) when Ian tries to teach me something....he does it to me too, must be a husband wife thing. In my case I have never had alot of confidence when it comes to the mechanical side of mountain biking...but this trip I have discovered that I really enjoy tinkering with my bike. When I first met Ian I could never understand why he spent so many hours working on his bikes. Well I will have you know that I spent every afternoon up to 4hrs some days cleaning, polishing, tinkering, pulling, prodding and even taking my bike to bits and took great satisfaction in doing so.
Well I must sign off as legs are twitching for a run and some fresh air before all the traveling begins. But before I do so I have so many people to thank for helping me out here in Canada, as well as all my sponsors, family and friends who have supported me in my racing adventures.

Cotic –

Bontrager –

Magura Forks & Brakes –

Torq & Torq Australia –

A Quick Release Holidays –


Skins –


And co-sponsors Crank Brothers, Exposure Lights, Bigfoot bike and travel bags, 661 gloves, Ergon Ergonomic bags, Nokon cables, Sundog eyewear and Purple Extreme Lubricants.

Plus very special thankyou to Cy from Cotic who goes above and beyond just giving me a bike to ride. Tony, Jude, Aarron from Magura who all took the time to help me out when I was very stuck without a brake and who also taught me alot at the same time. Jude, Aarron and Troy too from Cannondale I really appreciate your mechanical help. My coach Neil Ross thankyou as always for believing in me and making my legs get stronger. Thankyou so much to Zoe for being such a super race mate! Plus thanks to Zoe and staff here at Auberge Des Jardins, your hospitality has been wonderful. Plus I can't thank those of you who send me little encouraging emails, it's always nice to hear and makes all the hard work worth it. And you get a thankyou too Ian, even though you couldn't make this race I was very relieved when you emailed me answers to all my mechanical fact I was shocked that I received such a long email :)

Must dash!

Cheerios for now




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