Thank y’all for reading this latest blurb from the US of A. Since I last penned a blog many miles in planes, trains, vans, cars, buses and pushies (bicycles) have been covered. The month of May began as a spectator at my first ‘Major League’ Baseball game, with some Aussie and Seppo mates. We got to see the Pittsburgh ‘Pirates’ play the local Atlanta ‘Braves’. This was another cool taste of American way of life, the sport itself baffled me as the ‘athletes’ didn’t seem to do much the entire game except sit down but the atmosphere and the spectacle of these games is something special. I even got to pound some “cotton candy”!
After indulging in the baseball cotton candy and hot dog diet it was time to get some more racing in the legs. On the cards was 8 days of racing in Moscow, Russia. This was a tremendous experience for myself and quite a milestone for my team. Last year Team Type1 was denied entry to the ’5 rings of Moscow’ as the organisers believed it was not possible for people with such a disease as Diabetes to compete in their difficult stage race. This year thanks to some fantastic negotiations from our Russian colleagues we were granted entry. Myself along with 5 team mates competed and completed 3 UCI 1.2 road races and the UCI 2.2 5stage “5rings of Moscow”. All these races are very well regarded in Eastern Europe and attract many top teams from Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia, Germany, Greece and our team was the only from the USA. We proved our worth at these races managing to be competitive in all stages and bringing three cyclists with diabetes to the finish line in the centre of Moscow was a tremendous achievement and an experience I will never forget. Getting to know the Russian people and the different way of life in the East was also memorable. At face value Moscow initially seemed to be a fairly morose place housing a gloomy existence for its locals. The sight of never ending stacks of Soviet era apartment blocks flanked on all sides by pure traffic chaos and the sight of a cold war relic missile launcher atop the nearest hill did’nt really engender many smiles. However the beauty of Russia I found was beyond the initial facade. The people were tremendously helpful and friendly when given the oppurtunity to be so. We were tremendously well looked after by our local staff here, also being shown the sights of Moscow by some local volunteers who wanted to practice their English was really sweet!
Adjusting back to saying ‘thank you’ rather than ‘spaseeba’ in the coffee shop took a little time back in the USA. After a mere three days back in our base of Atlanta I was lucky enough to be asked to attend two days of promotional activities in Louisville, Kentucky. Spreading the message of hope and Inspiration that Team Type1 garners to some local support groups and schools was really cool. I also had the fantastic oppurtunity to speak on the local television and radio networks regarding the upcoming ‘Tour de Cure’ in Kentucky. The message I was passionate about spreading up here was that it is indeed possible to achieve anything in this world with/without the challenges of diabetes, but achieving great things I believe is never possible alone. In Australia and in the USA we are very lucky to have awesome organisations like the JDRF and the ADA who provide some fantastic support events and having fabulous mates and family in my case really helps put the rungs in the ladder to achieveing our dreams! The local people in Kentucky were again really hospitable and very friendly, the notion of Southern Hospitality is alive and well all across the states!!
From Kentucky, it was back to business in the racing world. After a late night flight it was straight to Delaware for the Wilmington GP, then directly down to Baltimore for the long standing ‘Kelly Cup’. The legs were taking a while to fire here but some good, fast racing set the scene for the following week. The Port city of Baltimore was a cool place to spend a night, once one of the busiest ports in the USA it still retains a nice harbour that gave me memories of the best harbour in the world- Sydney. From Maryland it was north up the bottleneck of I-95 to Somerville, New Jersey. This town hosts some quality racing every May which I had competed in before. The first race for us here the 80 mile ‘Hills of Somerset’ road race over some hilly terrain in the local counties brang some deserved success for our team. Winning this race commandingly in a solo breakaway was mate and team mate David Lozano from Spain. The team put in a stellar performance over the last 45km here to put David in position for his launch on the final climb. I relished my job of keeping the break in check before the final climb. Being in the New York area was also cool to pop into the big apple and catch up with some ol mates. I had spent much time in NY in the past and the city really is like a seperate country when compared to the South. Chaos and urgency reigns here, the people as is the case across the USA will always have time of day for you and offer any help they can. In New York though, this is coupled with a lifestyle that expresses you must work minimum 12hours/day and always be in a rush and fuel this lifestyle with bottomless starbucks that can be found on every corner in Manhattan. It was cool to spend some time here experiencing ‘big city life’ again. After the racing had wound up in New Jersey some more cool events took place here as myself and some team mates teamed up with the Women’s team to present at a local school and hospital. Coming off podiums from our team and Morgan from the women’s team made our message all the more tangible for our audience. Again some legendary people I got to meet up here including a future Ballerina and a future Doctor. Some more legends chasing their dreams! Love it!
Still living the dream on my end. I just got back from 4 hours on the Colnago 29er MTB. Great to be shredding some singletrack again after many, many miles of tarmac this year.
Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it and look forward to seeing y’all in Aussie land or over here in seppo land soon!
Till next time,
Justin/ Mad Dog