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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Shelly said...

Glad to hear that you (and the bikes) all arrived there safely! We have everything crossed for luck for you, enjoy it :)

Kelvin said...

I love reading your reports.

Good luck down there, and see you for a caffeine and alcohol free celebration drink in London, no matter what the result.


Tim said...

Woo - super well done Kate on getting into the team!!


James Dymond said...

Wahey, you're alive & well! ;-)

Good luck for the champs and look forward to seeing you in the UK in October!

Jonathan said...

Well done Kate, really pleased you have been selected to represent your country. Glad Andy Blair has also been selected.
Jonathan and Anne