Road racing in the United States of America is a new experience for me. We came here more then a week ago and so far I think America is amazing. I am having a great time and I hope the last few days will also be just as great. This Sunday we race the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, my debut in the Women’s World Tour.
I arrived in Winston Salem on Friday 27th with my team Parkhotel Valkenburg, and we’ve had a great time already! The American championships were over here so we could watch the races, but there was so much more we could do. Everything was very well organised, with great host families. We were in a big neighbourhood, with big houses and everything was taken care of. After our races on Sunday and Monday we had some time to relax, so we took a swim in the pool that we came across in the backyard. We also went out for lunch and played a game of baseball, its great to do things like that.
But of course, we are here in America to race. And I have to say; Racing over here is much different than I’m used to. For example, take the criterium we rode. It was a 75 minute race, but very different than how we race in Holland. It was on a kind of racetrack, with short climbs, downhills and turns, it was just like a cyclocross race and so for me, it was actually very good training. It was hard and so was the race on Monday but I had a great time nevertheless!
We stayed in Winston Salem for a few days and trained with some Italian riders on Wednesday, a 3 and a half hour ride, with a very nice climb in it. It was a great ending to our days over there. Then two days ago we travelled to Philadelphia. It was a really long trip and with 4 other teams on a bus for 10 hours, it wasn’t my favourite thing and was very exhausting. But I have to say again, it was really well organised. Immediately Philly made up for all of this! What a great city it is! We walked for an hour and found a lovely place to eat. It is a beautiful city, cosy and hip at the same time.
Along with the Wiggle-High5 team we did a recon of the course for the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. It was a hard circuit, with one tough climb. After the bus trip I felt tired and I hope that I will feel better today. How will the race be? I don’t know! The climb is hard, but we also have the downhill as well as the flat parts. It looks a bit like the World Cup race we had in Bochum a few years ago. And that one ended in a bunch sprint. Let’s make a great race of it! We didn’t come all this way for nothing and we want to show ourselves!