Thursday, October 29, 2009

Manchester... backwards to Amsterdam

My internet has been spotty, at best. In Amsterdam the internet was available either by shared computers in the lobby with a time limit of 20 minutes or by pay-per-minute in the room. I dare all of you to time limit your internet use. You will see which websites take priority. My time was occupied by email, Cyclingnews, FixedGearFever, Twitter, and Facebook. The blog did not make the cut. Plus, didn’t have a good way of loading pictures and who wants a blog without pictures.

Now in Manchester and at our host house we do have wireless internet. For some reason, Shelley’s computer is the only one that works with it though. The first night there was 4 of us here all splitting internet time. Same situation, bored cyclists with nothing better to do but wonder when you will get the computer next.

It’s Thursday morning and I have some time to the computer and nothing has changed on Facebook… so here we go! Brief update of the past several days.

We haven’t done much since arriving in Manchester. We have gone to the track (sweet!) and eaten Indian food on Curry Mile (yum!). Our team manager, Nicola, has been having passport issues and has not been able to leave the USA yet. She is super frustrated and Shelley and I are figuring all these World Cup things by ourselves- how to get accreditations, how to cook our food by ourselves (seriously, Niki is the best), how to drive on the other side of the road, etc. Luckily the National team is here and the staff has been willing to help Shelley and I out with all the other stuff.


I had one day in Amsterdam to wander around after racing. My adopted family, who I will introduce in a bit, lent me a cruiser bike to ride into the city. One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to just wander with no purpose or direction. I feel like this is the best way to learn and feel the city. At the start of the day my adopted family gave me a tiny map, one that was torn out of the front of a phone book. Somewhere along the way, that map found its way out of my pocket. When I recognized this I didn’t care much because I was pretty confident I could find my way back to where I needed to be. As I started to head back towards my family’s house, I realized I needed the map. Well, I thought I would just stop and buy a map as I got towards the outside of the city. Two factors- it was Sunday and nothing is open outside the tourists areas on Sunday AND nobody sells maps outside tourists areas anyway. Several long and expensive phone calls, a train ride with my bike, long after the sun went down, I finally arrived back where I started. My relaxing day wandering the city ended up being an epic adventure with me on the verge of tears. My adopted family ended my day and my Dutch visit by taking me out to dinner at Meuder’s (Mother’s), a traditional Dutch food restaurant.

A cute couple riding their bike. You see this all the time.

A quick summary of Amsterdam… tiny streets lined with canals, bikes, coffee shops, and buildings that look like they might fall over. It always shocks me how old European cities are. Our country is a infant in comparison. Pictures don’t do justice on how cool this place is but I can try.

How old does concrete have to be before it starts wearing down this much? Old.

Can't go to Holland without a picture of a windmill.

Eva and I ended up finishing 3rd overall in the 6-day. I am very pleased with this but left wanting more. It took me a couple days but I figured out how to race the Elimination races and ended up finishing 2nd the last day and had a couple 3rd places for the week. The skill level in the women’s Madison was better then I expected. The speed of the races was good too. I only wish we either had a longer race or a third race each night. I know that sounds weird coming from me, the sprinter-endurance girl. I am really hoping to get to race the Rotterdam 6-day in January because I feel like I learned so much over the course of the week. 6-days are great because you race, may mistakes, and have a chance the next night to correct your mistakes. You don’t have to wait another month or week to try something new.

Getting ready for quick ceremony.

Ceremony for winners!

I am trying to keep this short which is really tough. I could write so much more about the racing, the city, the people, etc. If you have any specific questions, write it in my comments and I will try to answer them.

Shelley and I are busy making meals ahead of time for race days... then off to the track. Last day of workouts before racing starts!

1 comment:

Megan said...

Yea! Sounds like you're having a good time! Congrats on all that racing and good results. I'm enjoying your pictures! Love all those bike parking pictures! Euro-bikers are where it's at!

See you next week? We'll have lots of snow waiting for you!