I started my 2015 campaign back in November when most of the team came together in Limoux, France. It’s a quaint little French village just a couple hours north of where I’m based in Girona. This was a great camp for the team to get started on serious base training guided by the legend Chris Georgas – aka ‘brows’ – as I learnt later on- no explanation needed.
For me this was really a great and important camp to get the ball rolling, looking at the 2015 race schedule, organising equipment and most importantly meeting my new teammates. Nearly all of the faces were already familiar to me as the girls have been coming up through the ranks in Britain, so there were no surprises there. It was such a comforting feeling hearing British accents (mainly Yorkshire) and typical British banter, like coming back home.
I think it’s always good to meet teammates and ride together as winter training begins, to really get to know who you’re racing with and how the team runs before people all spread out back to their homes, and sometimes don’t come together again until the new year. And that was the case for me. I spent my winter training season down in New Zealand; I’m lucky enough to follow the sun around. It was reassuring and motivating knowing what I was coming back to in February.
Having been lucky enough to get my new training bike after a Trek Precision Bike Fit, along with all the trimmings like shoes and helmets. It was only November and I was already set for the year ahead. So off I went to the land down under, leaving my team behind in European winter sending me regular photo updates all covered head to toe in warm kit. I spent most of my time in NZ, which is just an amazing place to be, before I headed to Australia in January to finally get some racing in the legs after a long – and I mean long – time away from racing, due to some unfortunate circumstances last year. Anyway, I was welcomed back a year later to race the Women’s Tour Down Under as part of the mixed team ‘Roxsolt’.
What an event! I loved this race in 2014, and loved it even more this year as it stepped up a level. Everything about it was just great, the crowds, the atmosphere, the publicity for women’s cycling, it really was a great way for me to start 2015. Saying that I must admit the first stage certainly blew away the cobwebs in the legs after six months since racing. I can’t say it was my most favourite time on the bike but the following days certainly made up for that. It reminded me just how fun racing can be and made me exited to get back to Europe to start the real season.
Once I headed back to the UK I had a few days seeing the family and tried to adjust to the winter, which I was launched right back into with a snow shower on my first ride back. Luckily, all my new winter kit was sat at home waiting to help me bare the cold. Then, before I knew it, I was off again, this time to finally see the team again at the ‘Matrix Fitness Pro Cycling’ Team Launch en route to Belgium to really start my year with the iconic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Now this is when I really felt my age. Suddenly I’ve gone from being a young rider on the team to joining this team and actually being the old experienced gal, having ridden this race five times! I found myself explaining the course and cobble sections to the rest of the team who had never raced here before. I’m still trying to figure out how five years have passed. As we drove to the start line, it felt like deja vu just with some blue, green and white stripes added.
So there it is, the 2015 racing season has kicked off for Matrix Fitness, with a full schedule of UCI races you’ll be sure to spot our stripes around.