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Lauren Kitchen: Embracing 2021

I have spent the last three months enjoying the Aussie summer. It has been so lovely to see my family and I feel very lucky to be able to live quite freely here, compared to the rest of the world. The strict Australian border measures and our general world isolation has been key. I thought last season I was generally handling that stresses of the pandemic well, that was until I touched down in Perth and just felt the anxiety fade away. I didn’t expect to be here actually, I had committed to staying in Europe over the winter and prepared to split my time between Spain and France, however my little brother had other ideas and decided to get married. So I decided to head home and while the two weeks of hotel quarantine was challenging at times, I am so glad I made the decision to come home.

It is like a reset moment to spend time at the beach, catch up with friends over coffee and wake up listening to the kookaburras. But it’s also been great to get my preseason base miles in at home, I am now feeling refreshed and motivated to get stuck into 2021, whatever it will bring and embrace each opportunity that comes.

Season 2021 is about to get underway for me with the Aussie national champs before I head straight back to Europe to join my team and prepare for the Spring Classics. If 2020 taught me anything, it is that we have to embrace every opportunity and be flexible in all approaches to bike races but to life in general. So with that in mind, I am cautiously looking forward to the 2021 season, in particular the cobbled classics. My favourite races are ones that are difficult to predict not only the winner, but also how the race is to be won. I love it when you (and your team) have to not only be super strong but also have the ability to change tactics or approaches to a situation at the drop of a hat in order to give your team the best chance of winning the bike race, which is exactly what happens in the classics.

Being able to trust your teammates and your director is key in these moments and this ‘blind-trust’ I believe leads to a lot of victories. The bond of loyalty to a jersey, flag or simply a crew is often underestimated but trust is a key mental aspect that can build you up as a rider to achieve more than you first thought possible. I can’t wait too reunite with my FDJ teamies and get stuck into racing and achieve more together.  It’s a choice if you want to embrace it!

Happy pedalling!

Lauren.

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