I’ve been on the go non-stop for the past month but Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samryn, Binda, Flanders, Flèche Wallonne, Elsy Jacobs, and the Women’s Tour have only made up 16 days of the adventure. In between there has been 12 flights (+ 1 missed one), 12 new teammates, 5 countries, and 839421984 tissues. In my haze of unrelenting allergies, I’ve helped Hitec achieve 4 team podiums, a few top tens, and a whole lot more undocumented by race officials.
Travelling so much with the team has meant living out of a suitcase and being on the road with teammates more than I have ever done before. I haven’t really unpacked my race suitcase in over month. Whenever I get back home to Spain, I just wash my team clothes, repack them and leave the suitcase as is ready to go for the next race. Along with my team clothes, I also always pack a stash of walnuts and dates, a pair of my lucky white Oakley sunglasses, and I go everywhere with my stripy pillow. I just need two pillows when I sleep and that isn’t always a guarantee at some of the team hotels! But I’m not the only one. Elisa always brings a teddy bear and Italian Lavazza coffee for long race blocks, Cecilie brings Norwegian brown cheese to share, Chloe is never without her iPad and, of course, we never go anywhere without Karl.
Our mascot Karl, named after the team owner Karl Lima, is a toy reindeer who proudly wears a little Hitec shirt. He was lost for a while, much to the distress of the whole team, and when we found him we gave him a companion, Karla.
In the hotels, we always switch around roommates so we can get to know everyone. Most of us like to sleep in but our resident working chemical engineer Cecilie is often up early to attend Skype meetings while we’re all still sleeping…unless you’re up early because you’re rooming with Julie, who tends to sleep talk! She’s definitely the entertainer on the team and has started the trend of podium selfies, simultaneously making the song “#SELFIE” our current theme song.
Siri is definitely the most fashionable on the team but, at the races, Elisa is the guru on what to wear. She has really good judgement when it comes to deciding what to wear for races depending on the weather. No matter what the weather, however, we always wear the same socks. We have a few different pairs, like our bright green and yellow socks, and we always coordinate for a race. It’s kind of our trademark.
Race days come and go but we’re still a team in between and the more little things you know about your teammates the easier it is to get the big things. Over the past month of racing, I’ve realized the stronger we are between races, the stronger we will be in the races. Coordinated socks may not win us races but it definitely gives our team an edge!