Kate Potter’s Racing Adventures Have Started (well almost…)

Kate Potter blogThe Cotic Bontrager racing and training travels have started for 2010. Winter woollies and thermal tights have been packed away and left behind in Luchon. Every inchof the mini bus has been filled as I demonstrate once again how useless I am at packing light and thinking as a minimalist. If there is space to fill then why waste it I say! Ian just rolls his eyes and reminds me that power to weight ratio also applies to the mini bus and that the fuller she is the slower she goes….but then I remind Ian of the little saying ‘ the power of the pies’ and that she will be a downhill demon on the descents and make up time. The next few months Ian and I will be travelling, training and racing all over Europe as I prepare for another exciting mountain bike race season and methinks there will be even more biking adventures to look forward to in 2010. I have new goals to work towards this year and as always I give myself a new focus to keep racing life exciting and to ensure the brain and body never suffer a flat or boredom breakdown along the way. There is always something to improve on and conquer, which is what I love about mountain biking………there are so many different elements to the sport and even when you know you have improved, there is still something you can improve on, plus there is always someone to chase down or someone who can teach you a new thing or two.

Kate Potter blog

The first week and a half have been spent here in southern Spain where Ian has been working on the TORQ Fitness Training camp and I have completed my final block of base training before the speed work begins (YAY!). I have enjoyed the company of other racers and bikers from all rides of life and even dared to bare some skin, well a little bit of ankle got some colour this week. We have stayed at the wonderful Hotel Palomar in Coin, about 35km outside of Malaga. Petra and her family have gone above and beyond their role as hosts and made our stay stress free and very relaxing.

Our trusty ol’ Mini bus who I call ‘Mini Blue’ had a 13 hour drive from Luchon to Coin and for the first time in KP history I have shared the driving load. Well kind of….. ….you see I used to own my own car when I lived in Sydney, a hand me down old station wagon my parents no longer needed. Unfortunately we didn’t see eye to eye (that was the car and me) and everything that could go wrong did go wrong and cost me ALOT of dosh! I owned the car for less than 6 months and in that time it got stolen twice (but then found a few days later), crashed three times (not one accident was my fault I might add), and then one night driving home from University the accelerator got stuck (I think), and basically I couldn’t stop the car, it kept accelerating even when I was braking and when I finally managed to stop it the darn car made a huge explosive sound that sent me running (I run when I get stressed). That car hated me! So I refused to drive that car or any car again and started cycling instead….riding a bike makes much more sense anyway. The car was passed down to my brother, who never had any car troubles and then it was sold for $50 (about £20 back then) to a traveller who drove it around Australia and said it was the best and most reliable car he had ever used. So the moral of the story is don’t let KP own or drive a vehicle because it will just mean trouble….I’m just not liked by 4 wheeled metallic beasts. I tried to warn Ian about the possible side-effects of KP behind a wheel, but as usual he doesn’t listen, and thinks I’m simply being a diva because I end up sleeping most of the time on our long driving travels and he’s sick of listening to me snore…zzzzzzz.

The journey to Malaga started smoothly until I took control of the wheel….this time I simply turned the key, but nothing happened. Ian was looking at the map, so I tried to look over the dials and thingies in front of me, hoping that perhaps I was forgetting something. I’m new to manual driving too you see, so still have to think about the order I do things in. I tried again and this time heard a little clicking sound, but no revs, no nothing, almost like a chuckle from the engine because it knew it was me and not Ian behind the wheel….what have I done? Ian must have read my thoughts as all he said was: ‘What the ‘FROG’ have YOU done?!?!’ It wasn’t quite said like that, but I’m sure you get my drift. The darn engine wouldn’t start and I swear I didn’t touch or turn or do ANYTHING!!!! It turned out the starter motor had gone ‘kerpoomp’ and we were going nowhere unless Ian came up with a plan (I wasn’t interfering in case I made the situation worse). Ian was dumbfounded as the starter motor was brand new. We were somewhere in Spain, off the beaten track in a small petrol station with the closest buildings around showing semi clad naked women figures posing out in front of the establishments. To cut a long, hour length story short, after Ian has exhausted all other options it was time for KP to learn how to bump start a car (gulp). Now I can laugh about it, but at the time, well let’s just say it was not the time to make jokes. I had to bite my tongue a couple of times, as poor Ian used all his might to push the overloaded mini bus along a flat road, while I kept forgetting when to use or not use the clutch upon his command or when I left the hand brake on because I was scared that the mini bus would accelerate backwards and I would forget what Ian told me to do and crash into something. Finally Ian got fed up with my clumsiness and took over the wheel, while I was helped by some friendly Spanish guys who were really sweet and helped push the mini bus backwards for me. I then cheered everyone on with all my KP might, well I had to feel like I was contributing :)

Finally the mini bus started and the Potters were back on the road again….

We arrived in Coin in darkness and pouring rain and to our dismay it looked like the sunny weather Gods were on holiday for the first few days of the trip. But the rain did not dampen our enthusiasm as the temperature was warm. By the second half of the week sunscreen was applied in extra large dollops and we had all certainly topped up on our levels of vitamin D. I’m pleased that I got my 32hrs of training in and had the opportunity to train alongside a great bunch of riders. There were plenty of hills to climb and some great sections of off road and single track to blast along too. There was even a little techy climbing challenge between the Potters…in fact I think that is where Ian is now, as I was having a storming day and won 6 dabless attempts to Ian’s pathetic 0, oh that was a fun day for Mrs P, but not so for the hubby :)

So now it is Tuesday and Ian and I are still here in Malaga. We were sent a new starter motor from the UK for Ian to fit that was supposed to be here last Thursday…..as you can see it has not arrived yet because we are still here and I am typing this blog. We were promised the part yesterday after we made some calls last Friday. However we have just discovered that there was a bank holiday in this area yesterday and most people are in siesta after all the festivities last night. Also Petra reminded us that in Spain they may have said it will be here on Monday, but we should have asked which Monday….DOH!

This week we are supposed to be in Italy for the Maremma Cup and another Italian race near Lake Garda the following weekend for some race practice and hopefully some points for KP’s UCI ranking fund, as well as some family time with Ian’s dad. Hopefully we will make it, but if not then I guess I will be planning my own race against Ian in the surrounding Andalucian mountain side and perhaps some more trail challenges too :)

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