When Cannondale asked if I wanted to come and watch a few stages of the Amgen Tour of California of course I jumped at the chance. A weekend in LA, watching some of the world’s best cyclists strut their stuff, interspersed with a few lunches, dinners and autograph signings. My idea of fun. And then I realised that my visit coincided with the Time Trial stage of the Tour. I have only been to LA once or twice. What could be a better way of seeing some of the sights than from the comfort of my two wheels? So before I knew it I was writing an email to Bill Rudell, from Cannondale, asking if the Tour organisers would consider letting an Ironman triathlete jump into the 21mile time trial in downtown LA. A strange request for someone that is better known for cycling at a slightly more sedate pace over 112miles, sandwiched between a long swim and a long run. No I wasn’t drunk. Nor was a suffering from dementia. I simply wanted to test myself against the clock, have a great training day and soak up some of the Tour atmosphere from the pointy end of my Fizik saddle.

Now the race is only two days away. My nails are showing signs of wear and tear as I remember that I have never actually raced a time trial, and the physical pain of cycling hell for leather for 21miles is going to be akin to pulling my teeth out with pliers. It’s going to hurt. And the hurt is probably the least of my worries. Getting down the start ramp whilst clipped in is also a cause for concern. As is trying to navigate the many hairpin bends. Given my bike handling skills I hope the spectators stay well behind the barriers. Or have good health insurance policies. But am I excited?? You bet! I have been in Boulder for 6 weeks now. Training hard, and feeling like my fitness is back to exactly where I want it to be. I have also been relishing all the (edible) benefits of being back in the US – the plethora of nut butters (current favourite being the Sunflower variety, closely followed by cashew. But it is a close call and much more testing needs to be done) and have eaten enough beef jerky to make a cow faint.

I have been doing a lot of riding with my boyfriend Tom. Well, we start together and then I just watch as he peddles off into the distance leaving me to have a minor heart attack trying in vain to catch him. The riding is perfect here. I love the fact that we have a hard shoulder, the drivers give you space and I can turn right even if the traffic lights are red (although I still haven’t mastered the art of the 4 way stop). I have been doing most of my swim sessions with Jane and Dave Scott at Flatirons Athletic Club. I am happy to say that the one armed freestyle that I perfected in January is a thing of the past. The arm and wrist have healed perfectly – although I am using my still swollen, sausage like fingers to great effect as paddles. And thanks to the extra gym work I did earlier in the year I am moving away from buns of jelly towards buns of steel. My single legged squat still leaves a lot to be desired though. Flamingo I am most certainly not.

I am also the proud owner of a brand new Slice. Name to be revealed in due course. It will have its first race outing in LA. And I might even don a new Louis Garneau helmet for the occasion. Will it be aerodynamic in nature? You will have to wait and see!

The plan is to spend the weekend in the City of Angels and then fly back to Boulder late on Monday. A week later I will head down the yellow brick road to Kansas, for the 70.3. After the pre season bike crash hiccup I didn’t want to race until I knew I was 100% ready. Now’s the time. I really can’t wait to get my teeth into my first triathlon of the season. I’ll also be staying around in Lawrence for a few days after to see the World Biggest Community Workout take place on Tuesday 8 June. For more information on this, check out my Kansas/Red Dog blog from last year and the local newspaper report right here –

http://wellcommons.com/groups/wellness/news/2010/may/6/come-on-lawrence-lets-wor/.

So, now its time for me to practice a few standing starts/wobbles, pack my bike and my bags and head westwards to the Golden State. Its time to trial!