12 December 2008

Garmin-Chipotle... still

So, I've got the jersey. I've ordered the drink bottles. I'm close to putting down a deposit on the helmet. Now I'm being recruited to "join the team".


Okay, not the ACTUAL team. You won't find me in Colorado next Spring, burning up hills with Christian Vande Velde and David Millar hanging on my back wheel, or drinking celebratory champagne with the boys in the team bus after Vande Velde becomes the two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia. I wish.

Instead, tonight when I logged onto slipstreamsports.com, I was quite taken by the Garmin-Chipotle Pro Racing Team Argyle Club. To the average mortal, it's a cheap, gimmicky fan club. To me, it's a reason to start working overtime at my pathetic supermarket job to raise the $995 US so I can experience benefits such as discounted shopping online at pearlizumi.com, a 20% discount off my dream helmet, invites to team events, and the big seller - RIDE WITH THE TEAM DAYS. Okay, so I'd have to raise another $3000 to get over to their training base in the first place, but whatever. I'd fit right in. Other bonuses of joining the club include a signed 2009 jersey, two more drink bottles, and a cap. Score.

Yeah, it's a waste of money. But it's an exciting thought!! And one that makes me realise I need a life of my own. No more of this, living vicariously through members of the Garmin-Chipotle Pro Racing Team business. I need to get out there and actually make something of MYSELF.

Here's my current status:

Mood: Unsatisfied, hungry... craving strawberries and as such pondering a late night drive to Foodtown Takapuna
Hair: Straightened to perfection with Sulva's ghd
Living: downstairs at 2/70, which I love but at times wish Endurance Sport was still biking distance so I could visit Ritchie
Training: Null, since my swim across Ngataringa Bay last Sunday
Goals: Not to commit suicide during my course, to actually want to get out of bed and train tomorrow morning
Favourite Product: Benefit Georgia

Possibly, favourite product was an unnecessary addition to the list, but hey - I'm at makeup school. I'm allowed.

Where do I want to be?

Well, to be honest, the United States Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, Colorado is a huge drawcard. A huge drawback being that I'm neither a US citizen, nor eligible, or close to being eligible, for their fully-funded elite training programmes that are hosted out of the high-altitude town. This is a bummer for me. Honestly, I'm a creature of routine, and the time in my life where I felt most balanced was in the months leading up to Athens, where I was in a training facility all of my own - a mixture of Waterworld, Wintec, the University of Waikato, and my own bed. I feel like I would really thrive up there on their thin air.

OTC? Out of the question. Next? Umm, well anywhere - as long as I don't have to work to be able to eat, buy juice, and other "necesseties" - makeup springs to mind. Actually, I'm willing to give up the makeup habit if someone will pay for me to live while I ride bikes. I've tried giving up food - doesn't work out too well for those six-hour days in the saddle. Otherwise I would be quite happy. Someone needs to design a human battery. I've stopped worrying about having wasted "valuable years" on my "career" - look at the guys on my favourite team. Sure, they get paid to ride, and they're kind of making a career out of riding bikes, and my future in bike-riding promises to not be so kind to me, but fuck. I might as well make a go of it. I don't really want to be 30, watching the Olympic Games in (insert Olympic city here, once it's been decided) and telling my husband (cough) "you know, I really could have made it to London." If I'm starting to sound like a broken record, you should try being me for a day. It's like hearing a song you hate ("Irreplaceable" by Beyonce, for example) on repeat from the time you get up until you fall asleep again at the end of the day.

I know that phrase - if it is to be me, it is to be up to me.

I love it, and I think about this every day too. It's like a song on repeat again, but this time, less annoying. I'll go with "Womaniser" by Britney Spears. It's just that I don't know where to start! I'm a good cyclist, and I think I could be a great cyclist, but I really feel that I would benefit from someone who's been there, taking my hand and leading me through it. Yeah, I'm 22, but I'm still a lost little kid. Normally I put this down to the fact that my head was underwater - quite literally - throughout my entire teenage life. I know everything about swimming, but close to zero about competitive cycling. I've faked my way into triathlon. It helped that in the moments when my head was out of the water, it was usually because I was hanging out at triathlons, competing and mingling with who are now some of the world's best (I'm talking the Terenzos, Clarks, and Debbies of the world). It's come with an inflated sense of self, but I guess in cycling, it helps. I say "I guess", because I really am guessing. Like I said, I know nothing about it.

Terenzo: I don't mean to namedrop, but...

You might be thinking, why on earth would you aim for an Olympic berth in a sport you know nothing about? Well, that's kind of it. When I set my sights on an Olympic 400m freestyle gold (so long ago I couldn't even tell you the year), I think I'd raced over the distance once. My best event was the 100m backstroke - and would be for some years - until 2002 I believe, when I had my swansong of sorts at the European Championships. I've still not gone faster in said event. I was very green, and I thought the best way to get through a training session was to hide my swimming coach's jandals when he threw them at me for not completing sets. I was a nightmare. At that time, colour co-ordinating my goggles, cap and swimsuit was more important to me than how fast I could swim 12x400. I guess being this way is good. You can only go up.

I feel like I'm kind of at that stage now with cycling. I know how to race mountain bikes - pretty well, actually, and I'm still in the "if I get my Garmin helmet, I'll become a world champion instantly" mindset. Well, to some extent. I'm better off now, for having been to an Olympics. I know it's not going to be some sort of 40km/hr descent down Easy Street onto the podium. I want to be a pursuiter, and I've never even ridden on a proper velodrome. Or on a track bike. In some sporting circles here in New Zealand, I'm not the most respected girl because of my nature to chop and change sports (swimming, gymnastics, track & field, triathlon...), but I refuse to be held back because of it. I've said before that "all I need to do is win every single race until the Olympics, get selected, then win that too."

So it's not a strategy that Lance Armstrong lives by, but then I'm not Lance Armstrong. I'm a person of extremes (other quotes from myself have included "there's no such thing as too skinny" and "oh, well - I'll just ride my bike to Rotorua and race, if you won't take me") and I'm pretty certain that if I go into this cycling thing with the intention of just squeaking in, that's what I'll do. And then it'll be "hello, Athens" all over again. And I am NOT having another Athens.

You may be wondering why I talk so much about this, and still have done nothing about even testing out a velodrome bike. Well, that's something I keep asking myself. In my illustrious carer of making poor decisions, most of them have been because I didn't think the situation through first. Such examples of this include my decision to leave Otago University, even though I loved it, after one semester in Health Sciences. My "great" idea to bike down that hill in Parnell a few weeks ago. Thinking McDonald's would be good for dinner tonight.

I'm kind of over making crap decisions. If I'm doing this, I'm doing it right, and I WILL WIN. To that end, I think that tomorrow, after my swim at the Parnell Baths, I'm going to call whoever is in charge of North Harbour Cycling Club. London is less than four years away. I need to learn how to ride a bike.

I might buy that helmet, too. One never knows.

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