HANNAH BARNES JANUARY 2014 UPDATE
January has been a pretty eventful month. It first started with a very long and boring wait at the American embassy in London. Because I was moving to America for more than 3 months I had to get a visa that allowed me to stay for longer. The visa I have is a Professional Sportsman visa. This gives me permission to be in the country for up to a year as a Professional Cyclist. Thankfully the interview went well and the visa was granted which was a relief. My flight was booked for 7th Jan and the visa was fingers crossed arriving to my house sometime on the 6th. Thankfully it did.
All bags packed and all goodbyes said Mum, Dad and I made out way to Heathrow. This move was a huge deal and it was only sinking in as we were driving. I have always wanted to be a professional cyclist and for it to be coming true was amazing. We arrived at Heathrow, checked my bags in and went and grabbed a coffee.
My home for the next 9months is Asheville, NC which after being here for a few days I know I’m going to love it. The area looks amazing for cycling with mountains every which way you look. Definitely going to be some amazing rides exploring and for sure many rides getting seriously lost. After only being there for a day I repacked for my first race with the team in Argentina. I was super excited to get racing but not so keen on the 44 hour flight that lay ahead.
We got there 4 days before we raced just so we could ride the travel out our legs and adjust to the change in temperature. The riding over there is amazing and I especially found the locals very friendly towards cyclists, which was nice. The first stage was short, fast and windy. The team did an awesome job keeping me at the front for the whole race. I came 2nd in the first intermediate sprint and didn’t contest the 2nd one. Not sure if it was the heat but I felt it took me longer to recover and wanted to put all my effort into the stage win which was the team’s main objective. The girls gave me a great lead out. It got a little messy but they were always there and I always had a wheel to follow which was amazing. Coming across the line with my hands aloft was awesome. I couldn’t of asked for a better way to start the season off.
The next day didn’t go quite so well. I lasted about 20minutes in the pink leader’s jersey until I hit the tarmac and took a chunk out my knee. I tried to carry on but there was no way I could pedal. I rolled down to the start/finish and into the first aid truck, they took me straight to hospital where I got cleaned up and stitched up. They were super fast and we got back just in time to see the finish. Was rubbish to go from such a high to a low in a day but that’s bike racing. Just got to take it on the chin and move on.
Its sucked watching the girls going out for a ride in the sun but was even worse watching them line up on the start line. It wasn’t all bad, the weather was unreal and everyone was so kind and helpful. The girls did and amazing job to take the overall and I was so pleased to be a part of it, I am sure there are going to be many more successes this year.
Over the course of the week my knee had got a little better but it was never going to be a comfy flight home. I must have been extremely tired though. I fell straight to sleep as the plane took off and didn’t wake up until we landed – WINNING. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. I only had 2 hours to get through customs, get across one of the largest airports in the States with 3 bags and a gammy knee. I failed and had a 4 hour wait until the next flight home. Luckily I wasn’t on my own, Sharon was on the same flight so we went and grabbed a coffee and found some WIFI.
When you move to a new place the first thing you want to do is get on your bike and go exploring. This wasn’t the case and I spent the first couple of days in bed refreshing twitter every few seconds. Lauren one of my team mates that were staying with knew a good physio so I went and saw her. She firstly took my stitches out and then did an ultrasound to reduce the swelling. It felt loads better but still not 100% and I didn’t manage to ride which was very frustrating. We arranged another appointment 2 days later after still not being able to ride my bike. I was a little concerned at this point thinking it could be cartilage or ligament damage but she ensured me it was just very bruised. After another ultrasound and a massage I went home and the next day it felt loads better. I managed a couple of hours on the turbo without much pain at all. Turbos are normally very tedious but I was just happy to be back on the bike so doing 2 hours wasn’t so bad. I have spent the last 3 days on the turbo and managed my first ride on the road today in Phoenix mainly helped my the sun.
The team are in Phoenix for the sponsor summit which is where we will be personally introduced to the sponsors and presented to them all. We also have time to go on training rides so hopefully my knee will be ok and I can get some miles in. At the end of the week I have a VIP event with a few more of my team mates. We are to go to an evening shop visit and then a bike ride with some sponsors and VIP’s the following day.
All in all January has been good fun. 1st stage win, 1st crash and hopefully last, 1st trip to hospital and 12 flights.