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Latest Newsletter from Simon–The Rhino

by | Jul 10, 2013

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Valencia GP-

Hello Team, latest newsletter comes to you from Europe where we have been racing hard to collect UCI Points.

Mens Keirin Victory |
After racing in Japan on the 50‘s style steel bikes it was very rewarding going to a carbon bike because it was like getting into a Golf GTi after zipping around in a diesel for 3 months. The carbon fibre bikes are much stiffer and transfer the power more directly and the disc wheels allow you to generate a greater speed. Also after being in Japan racing on much bigger gears and therefore becoming a more powerful rider it was excellent to be able to ride a bigger gear after race on it- think biggest gear on your mountain bike at home… It was great once the rest of the team arrived because they were all frothing to get on the track and stuck into some racing.

Valencia is a special place for our team as we carried out our Olympic preparation there and we all knew the track, hotel, and rest of the city well.
Coming into the Keirin day I was very nervous as we only get a few chances to score these UCI points we need for later in the season. A good thing for me is that nerves turn into excitement and excitement into speed so it was great that it all happened in that order to perfection. I came away with the win beating other current World Champions and past Olympic Medalists.
I never really allowed myself to believe that I might win because it seemed like such hard thing to do considering the limited build up I had in Japan.  Looking at the names on the start list I thought they were all pretty unbeatable and it’s humbling to even be mentioned in the same sentence. To win the Valencia Keirin GP was a huge confidence boost as I know I still have the edge to win even though I know I’m not at my 100% best.

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Saint-Denis Pairs GP-

8th Sprint | 7th Keirin |
The only thing I can really say about this GP is that I’m sorry. I was hoping for another Keirin final and good result after Valencia, but that was not the case. I promise one thing though, a lot of good came out of this because it fired me up to do better.
The whole Paris GP was a bit of an upset because it rained all day and once the clouds did pass the program was consolidated and rushed through.  Not that it is an excuse, it just would have been better if we could have ridden the track before racing started because it was extremely ‘special’ where some parts of the track you can get airborne at top speed.
Ironically I saw this quote in the centre of Paris the day after racing:
“Lets make better mistakes tomorrow”

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Cottbus GP-

5th Kilo | 8th Keirin |
The majority of cyclists out there do not like the thought of the kilometre time trial. It is the hardest event to do for a sprint cyclist and causes a fair amount of pain, mainly because you go from 0-100% in in a few seconds and have to hold 100% effort for just over a minute.  Many more riders would never consider doing one outdoors in the wind and rain.
Like them, I want to be the World Champion in this event so part of this hard road is to qualify for World Champs during the year at a UCI classed race, unfortunately Cottbus is a 333m concrete semi-outdoor velodrome and on this particular day it rained and had a block head wind on the back straight. Perfect.  I was seeded last as I historically had the fastest time by anyone there, but my legs just really didn’t ‘fire’ on the day and ended off the podium. But more importantly I gained the points needed and I am fired up to prove them all wrong again at the World Championships.
The Keirin was on the same day and I didn’t recover after competing in the Kilo so I just raced as ‘smartly’ as I could without crashing and gaining as highest place as possible to score as many points as possible.
I became an optimist when I discovered that I wasn’t going to win any more races by being anything else.
If you never try or ask you will never know

Cottbus Sprint GP-

Team Sprint Victory | 4th in Sprint | 7th in Keirin |
This weekend of racing was the biggest of the entire European campaign. It had the biggest field of 55 starters with the man from Berlin with the biggest legs in any bicycle sport. Funnily enough in the earlier rounds I bet this monster named Robert Forstermann.  I race to win and find this extra grit and speed to beat the bastards at all costs. It was more rewarding when the entire German crowd gave me a round of applause afterwards because they love a good race. This round win allowed me to continue my way to 4th place in a hard fought battle for 3rd.  I ended up battling with Maximillian Levy who won silver ahead of me in London which was pretty cool.
The next day was the Keirin and I was excited to race as it was our last event in Europe and wanted to finish on a high. Our first rounds were pretty hard so I was happy for Eddie and I to win. We drew the same semi-final and unfortunately I got fourth and Eddie 3rd which qualified him for the final and me for the B final.  We both went into our finals to win and prove our worth in Europe, Eddie ended up second in his final and I finished fast and won my final.  I learned from this weekend that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you’re a chef, an athlete, or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you’ll win-if you don’t, you will go backwards and nowhere near the podium.
After a long European campaign we are now proud to say we have continued to step up and compete with the worlds best. It is great to see our team getting excellent race victories and results that make us a feared nation when we enter the velodrome to race.  Since the Olympics in London with our Team Sprint getting 5th and my Bronze medal in the Keirin there is a new hunger within the team to smash the opposition at every corner and I am proud to see this because without the results from London it may have been a different story.
Next on the agenda is a long travel home to Auckland for 24 hours before flying to Adelaide to continue racing for UCI points. After the 3 days of racing there I will return back to Japan for another 2 and a half months of training and racing. Looking forward to finally wearing my new Volkswagen racing attire!

Kind Regards – The Rhino

BikeNZ Sprint Cycling Team
World, Commonwealth and Olympic games medallist
Proud Volkswagen Ambassador