by Helen Wyman
As a long season is very nearly at an end, I’ve decided to put together a couple of top tens of the season starting with my top ten moments, so here they are, in reverse order:
10. Cross Vegas has to be in anyone’s top ten, just for the unique experience, crazy atmosphere and surreal place that Las Vegas is. It’s not higher on the list purely because of the air quality. Next year I’m taking a bottle on my bike!
9. Next are the two victories in one week during a mini-tour of Europe. Not only was the racing great and the results amazing, but I had a really nice training week in Italy, which included a hot chocolate and sunset in San Marino, a very beautiful place.
8. Another great moment for me was when I went to Bamberg and Strullendorf in Germany for the weekend. Not only was it funny to see the next turn-off on TomTom to be in 520km, but I had a great battle with Hanka Kupfernagel in the race. It’s always good to go head to head with Hanka, as she knows how to win and trying to beat her is a real challenge. Unfortunately, she did win, but only in a sprint at the end of the race.
7. This year I was lucky enough to be able to try lots of new things to help find those missing percents. This has involved a lot of work off the bike to find new partners and training aids. Part of this was structuring a mid-season training camp into my schedule in Portugal. Not only was the weather amazing, but the roads were perfect, and it’s always nice to relax in a new environment. I’d love to be able to do this more, so fingers crossed for next season.
6. Included in those little extras from number 7 are some of the amazing sponsors I’ve got supporting me. By far a highlight for (husband) Stef as well as me would be that since using Sleep Athletes’ products (and their expert advice), I no longer snore. Equally as important is my new PowerTap from CycleOps, as I’ve been able to record data both in training and racing that can only lead to more improvements next year.
5. Signing for Kona-FSA alone has been a seriously cool part of the season. Since I signed, I’d been pretty excited about meeting the guys and getting to ride the Major Jake bikes, both of which lived up to expectations when I arrived in the USA. Probably the most exciting moment was when my team kit arrived; I was like a kid in a candy shop with my boxes of new clothes! It wasn’t until the National Champs in February that I got to wear the orange kit, but I was very proud in my 40 minutes in the famous colours.
4. Good will still exists in cycling and to not mention the support from everybody would be a crime. If it weren’t for the race organisers and their team of helpers, there would be no races. I’ve raced all over Europe and America this year and consider myself very lucky to have had those opportunities. Without the help of my crew chief Jurgen and also ‘Drum and Salami’ in America, I wouldn’t be able to race. There are too many people to mention, but every race has a highlight for me, so I’m truly grateful to these people.
3. Moving into the top 3 is my first race for Kona-FSA, Star Crossed, in America. Not only was the race seriously good fun, but to get a win in my very first race for my new team was definitely a great experience. It was great to do battle with riders like Sue Butler and see that cyclo-cross is becoming a serious sport all around the world. All the help I got from the team and my good Portland crew, ‘Drum and Salami,’ meant all I had to do was race. I even got to see a few Brits there who’d come to watch the race, including a family friend Robert. Fingers crossed I can go and do the same this next season.
2. Winning nationals for a 5th time in a row was definitely a highlight. I didn’t expect to win by as a big a margin as I did, but that shows me what I can do when the brain and legs work in tandem. It gives me more inspiration and drive for the next season. Hoping there will be an increase in the podium count for next year (It stands at 10 for this season, with two races to go.)
1. Number one is without question the best moment for me for the entire season. It’s not always just the result or performance that gives you a good feeling, but how it affects the people around you. The look of excitement and pride on Jurgen’s (my leg guru) face when I was 3rd at the European championships was just the best feeling in the world.