By Burke Swindlehurst, Navigators Insurance cycling team
Editor’s Note: This is the second of what we hope will becomea steady stream of letters this season from Navigators Insurance pro cyclistBurke Swindlehurst.
Hey folks in VeloNews land.Well, the New Year truly is upon us and I’m hoping that all of you enjoyedthe Holiday season as much as I did. All that good (bad) food anddrink and of course, friends and family. I don’t know about all of you,but I even took the time to take in a few flicks, despite being deathlyafraid of sitting in a theater with the possibly “infected” carriers ofthe epidemic flu for up to three hours and 40 minutes… yes, I sawthat movie, too.Anyhow, I received a real surprise about a week before Christmas. Itwas the news that I would be racing in less than a month at the Jacob’sCreek Tour Down Under in Australia from January 20 to 25. Needless to say,my training program radically changed overnight. No more long base mileswith limited heart rate zones. No siree, it’s time to start shaking thebottle a bit. Warning: Contents Under Pressure.Big ring, here Icome! Yep, things are starting to get real exciting. I’m really looking forwardto some warm weather in Oz, because I’ve been slogging around, bustingthrough snow banks on my ‘cross bike and I’ve spent almost as much timeon my snowshoes as on the bike. Let’s see, conditions here in Salt LakeCity… 22 degrees Fahrenheit and light snow. Now, what’s it like in Adelaide,Australia? To start with, it’s summer… and 99F and sun. Wow.It looks as if more than just the racing is going to be shockingmy system! Well, at least all of this cold weather is going to come inhandy sooner than later, because a week after I get home from Oz it’s offto Europe for a short training camp in Tuscany, where the Navigators hadour camp last year and then straight into some serious racing for mostof the early spring. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on the comingevents and hopefully introduce you to some of the new personalities we’veadded to the team this year.Included in that bunch is an old face from Navigators past, Franky VanHaesebroucke. He won’t be riding for us, but rather taking on Assistantdirector sportif duties for the team. On or off the bike, his comic reliefwill be welcomed. I’m sure I’ll have some tales to tell shortly.I’m recalling the time Franky introduced me to Belgian-style trout fishingat our ’01 training camp in the hills of North Carolina. His “custom made”flies less resembled the caddis variety than they did the species WonderBread. Needless to say, he was the one catching the larger fish.I’m also really looking forward to meeting David Mckenzie, my new Aussieteammate and hoping he’s not too fit right now. I don’t know if this birdis ready to do tempo so early in the season! Regardless, it’s going tobe some stiff competition. Henk Vogels tells me the racing is “bloody fast”and their national championships are right around the corner as well. So,here’s to the proverbial “baptism by fire.”Which reminds me, I’ve got to get out the door and do some training,because that snow’s not going to pound itself!Till next time