It has been 3 months now of settling into life as a cyclist here in the USA, as I alluded to in my last pen piece the old dog body was a little worse for wear. With some awesome help from the team doctor here, the blood tests revealed low levels across the board. A path to recovery and instruction to pack on some KG’s came as welcoming news. After spending nearly a month in only the easy gear of my bike and eating the house down with some quality nutritious American style dining I now feel 100times better in life on and off the bike. Sometimes rest is the best training I gather.
The down time did allow me to pursue and promote the aspect of Team Type1-Sanofi that really motivates and excites me. I am very lucky and fortunate to be a member of a team that has more to offer its fans and members than just racing. Spreading the message of motivation that is inextricably associated with Team Type1 excites and inspires many, especially here in the USA – including myself. In early April I was welcomed by the good folk of Camp Kudzu in Rutledge. Georgia. Here I spent a weekend at the camp for newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetics sharing in their cool, funky activities and giving a presentation on the message of our team and some of my own experiences as a diabtic and racing around the world. Stories of swimming with crocodiles in Far North Queensland at the Crocodile Trophy MTB race always seems to be a winner with capturing the imagination of the American audience. I got to meet many legends young and old here, diabetic and non diabetic. The message was appreciated by many here that we have many challenges in our lives on the paths to our dreams – but not so many barriers. Using our challenges as diabetics is a perfect metaphor for these stories.
These advocacy events took me next to some classic Southern regions in the land of old mate Forrest Gump in Alabama. Here myself and seppo team mate Matt Brooks did a tour of schools, fairs, YMCA clubs, ADA events and retirement villages. Meeting so many inspiring people along the way is one of the real highlights of this job. In Gadsden, Alabama we presented at schools in well off area’s and schools in more disadvantaged area’s. It does not matter, the dreams of these people are equally inspiring and ambitious across the socio-economic spectrum. In this part of America the predominating dream is to play college football! This is another aspect of American culture I am yet to get my head around. Tonight however, I am off to experience another dimension of US culture- The Atlanta Braves Baseball! Can’t be too different from watching Warnie bowl out a few pommies! Alabama was a fabulous few days with some more classic, friendly and inspirational American Southern folk.
Over the past few weeks of down time of training I spent some good time in Athens, GA with old Aussie team mate Phil the ‘Taree Terrier’ Grenfell, his team mate Tomas Rabou and the always friendly and hospitable John and Barbara Dowd. Good times to speak Aussie again and hear many stories of racing and times back in the day from the Dowd’s. Training on the quiet and pretty Athens roads in fun company also helped the recovery process. Some quality park ups and a few solid mountain loops in the Dahlonega region in Georgia and I am now back racing again. Some good comeback races in Alabama last weekend has put me on the squad leaving tomorrow for Moscow, Russia. Here Team Type1-Sanofi development will field the first ever diabetics to compete in the ’5rings of Moscow’; the largest cycling race in the Russian federation. Entry to Team Type1 to this race has been denied in the past as athletes with ‘diseases’ were not allowed to compete. Hopefully we can propel maybe Strad Helms or David Lazano who have been showing good form of late into some solid results here and further enhance the message of our team
So next stop the far east, then not too far away a return to Australia in July with a new MTB in tow to hopefully compete in some of the late rounds of the Real Insurance XCM series and of course continue the good work of Team Type1 down under. A box of weet bix from Mum recently was a welcome reprieve, still looking forward to a solid box of paddle pops (banana of course) though.
Thanks for reading mates,
Hooroo till next time,
Justin/ Mad Dog