I have by far the best team around me and no I am not biased about this at all. My team mates are awesome and this season I have been able to hang out with the majority of them over the season both in Europe and America. I’ve learnt Paxson is hot (as he features on the dudes websites), Wendy is truly hilarious, Sean likes high heel shoes, Barry is actually a living legend in American cyclo-cross and Tonkin can dance to hip hop. They made my season even better this year and I’ve never enjoyed worlds as much as I did this year simply because of these guys.
This leads me neatly onto the best mechanics, soigneurs manager etc. Who are all awesome. I’ve had extra help in Europe from the likes of Jim at Koppenberg and Spraggat Gieten and in #Merica from my amazing Kona mechanic Dave. At worlds I also imported my east side mechanic Kris, who not only did a great job but provided me with a set of boots as my pink converse were not entirely appropriate for post race watching.
My ever faithful jersey collectors Patrick and Monique have to get a mention here as they tirelessly rock up to every European race just to be helpful to me for which I’m truly grateful. At this point I would mention my #Merican jersey collector Jerry but I sacked him after Rochester when he went for a beer instead of being at the finish line!
So moving onto the racing. Best course is a tricky one as so many have such great parts but to me my ultimate favorite for the entire experience has to be Koppenberg. So many races take close second including Oostmalle, Charm City, Iowa and Namen but they cant all win.
Maybe the only reason it rates so highly is because its my local race but to me its just epic and the level of respect given to it here in Belgium is just huge. We went to the B-post bank troffee presentation this week and the TV viewing figures were only 2nd to Baal on new years day when people watch a lot of TV! The figures showed that approximately 815,000 Belgians watched the race on TV and 17,000 people at the event. That’s quite a lot.
I’ve had a lot of great battles this season including Koppenberg with Nikki and many, many battles to the finish with Van Passen but the one that stands out the most tome has to be Gieten. Battling with the reigning world champion on a mud course in her own country was truly amazing. Not only did we go head to head till the final lap but because of who Marianne is she never gave in. It was brilliant and a true highlight.
Although another great battle the European Championships has to fall under best moment for sure. Not just in my season but potentially in my entire career. I have never been able to compete in a major event in my own country in front of so many friends and family. I never believed it but I can honestly say the British crowd made that extra 10cm difference that was winning and every single one of you deserve a part of my jersey. Thank you
I love Belgium I really do and like I said the crowd at Euros were incredible, however the best crowd award for me has to go to the people at the World Championships in #Merica. I have never experienced such a huge crowd where every single person cheered for me. Even now writing about it gives me ‘goose bumps’ and I could not imagine how crazy it was for the American riders it was just soooooooooooo loud.
As a bike rider its so important to keep learning and this year I tried to master the bunny hop as I watched a video of a girl clearing planks in #Merica. This I am still working on so watch this space. However I did learn to ride steps as this video proves and I was so proud of myself. This summer part of my training will definitely be skids and wheelies.
I’m in a really enviable position to be able to test all kinds of new products and this year was no exception. Kona are amazing and would hands down win best product every time as my major Jakes are with out a shadow of a doubt the best cross bikes ever. However this season my hybrid challenge tire, I like to call the ‘Wyman XS,’was for me a true game changer. Plus while my competitors cant get them I’m still #winning.
Okay so there is only one but he definitely deserves a mention. He is truly the shining light in my cyclocross life and everyone should have one. He tirelessly does everything for me and I can be a Prima Donna when I really want to, no honest. I know we are a team but he coaches, drives, mechanics, pit works, organizes,emotionally supports and this summer is learning massage meaning all I have to do is turn up. He rocks.
Best For Womens Cyclo-cross:
I definitely feel this deserves a mention as so many people have made me realize this season that Women’s cross is worth fighting for. America has the equal prize money thing down and equal opportunity and because you guys are shouting the loudest about it Europe is definitely listening. When I wrote the piece about federations not sending their best riders to worlds I never imagined so many people to take note. Due to the people so keen to see a difference and the people involved wanting to make changes I genuinely believe this has been a good break through for women’s cycling in Europe and the UCI. The likes of Sanne Cant being a successful Belgian winning cross races in Belgium, Marianne Vos being herself and naturally drawing publicity and the sport becoming globalised we are getting more support. However I will not stop trying to publicize everything I can till we can honestly say our sport is equal because I see so many young riders coming through the ranks like British youth champion Abby Mae-Parkinson and they deserve to be able to make a career out of this sport.
Best Laid Plans:
Finally to the future. I have so many plans for this summer it is unreal. I have so many ideas as to what I need to do and how to do it and am truly excited about the next cross season already. As tired as I may be I’m actually a little sad that its over so soon and am plotting as we speak. Bring on September.
To finish I just want to say thank you for listening and to everyone who had any part in my most successful season ever, it has truly been a blast. You guys are (in an American accent) AWESOME.