Peloton Watch
  Nina Wollaston Blog: Racing in the USA  
  August 10th By Nina Wollaston  
  New Zealand team in Kutztown.  
  America, the land where everything is excessively large, the weather is extreme and is home to the rich and famous. In little old Kutztown however, we didn't get to see many of the rich and famous, but it was still awesome nonetheless.

Kutztown, for most people reading who have never heard of this place, is a little town situated in the state of Pennsylvania. It is about an hour and a half drive to Philadelphia, and the same distance to New York City (which I got to spend a day in!). It is home to the Amish, who live in old school generation wearing ankle length skirts and the males wearing suspenders with the every day formals. They transport via horse and carriage, and generally grow their own food which they sell at the fresh fruit and vege market. Kutztown is probably the size of Cambridge, but the university we stay in takes up about half of the town.

It was a great sigh of relief when we finally touched down in USA, after completing my final uni exam the day of leaving NZ, and always the last minute stress of whether the bag will be under the weight limit so shuffling everything around. It took two flights and a hour drive to arrive at the final destination, Kutztown. The weather was also a pleasant change, going from rain and windy cold weather to sun everyday and 30 plus degree heat.

When I first arrived, I felt super agitated living the athlete life which was as follows- wake up, ride, eat, and recover for the rest of the day. After being so used to always running around trying to fit everything into a tight schedule, I found it difficult lying around for half the day watching netflix. But no worries, that lasted less than a week because I realized I actually needed some down time after the training we were doing.

The training in America was great, the roads are really smooth, none of this bumpy Waikato stuff I am used to! The weather was amazing, I found myself complaining of the heat but then thought of everyone at home and decided I was being a little bit selfish.

I went to the same place last year, but it was a lot different to this year. This year we had only three girls, and a couple of male sprinters, which when compared to last year with a squad of eight girls, support staff, and other squads there as well- it was a lot different! The change was good, I became more independent and did a lot more solo rides. Last year was about experience, whereas this year having knowing what I was in for, I was able to put my head down and do some of the best training I have ever done before.

Another thing that was cool was that we had the opportunity to some crit racing, we did one each week and with the motivation of earning back our entry fee, I'd say us kiwis did pretty well! It was good as it made a solid session of training more enjoyable because we were with other people.

We had no vehicle for half the time we were there, so we learned to master the art of carrying as many groceries in a backpack as possible! All while not cracking any eggs or making the coke or sparkling water get too fizzy. (Learned that one the hard way when half of my sparkling water exploded all over me). An ice cold water was primo after painfully walking up the stairs back into our air conditioned room post training in the scorching heat.

I didn't realize how many things I had to say about the trip, so I'll leave you there with a little bit of insight as to what I experienced over the last month. I've got to say, after my first ride back today and feeling like an Eskimo with all the layers I was wearing- I do miss it a bit. But I can't wait to get back into training and put the base I developed over there to good use. So for now, I should probably stop procrastinating and get back into these uni assignments.

Thanks for reading :)
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