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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Life as a Pro Rider

May 29, 2009

Nikki Butterfield is our next professional rider to contribute to the NVGP blog. She currently rides for the Webcor Professional Cycling Team and is getting ready for the Nature Valley Grand Prix in a few short weeks. She was nice enough to tell us how her season has shaped up thus far. Enjoy!

Well, I was asked by the race organizers of the Nature Valley Grand Prix to write about “what it is like to be a pro rider”…. there are two things that come to mind immediately. #1 is that you have to like riding your bike, but a close #2 is you have to love to travel. My last few months have looked a little like this:

January – Australia: Jayco Bay Cycling Classic (5 days of criteriums), Australian National Championships, Track Camp in Adelaide

February- Australia: Track Nationals (4 events), packed up our apartment in Australia, 2 exams for my Masters degree;

March – USA (California)
: for my first ever Webcor Team Training Camp, Redlands Cycling Classic (5 day stage race) and then into Boulder Colorado, my base for 2009, looked for places to live, found one! Lots of administration…..

Flew from Denver to San Diego for the Dana Point GP in San Diego (won for the first time in 12 months….I seem to have a habit of always being there but not winning!)- 11 hour drive- Tour of Gila (5 days) in New Mexico- 16 hours over 2 days driving- Joe Martin Tour in Arkansas (4 days)- flew Fayetteville-Chicago-NYC-Bermuda

May - ‘down time’ in Bermuda (where my husband is from), 2 papers and a mid-term exam for my Masters, 2 weeks of power hills (short and sharp) and motor pacing to prepare for Montreal World Cup and Nature Valley;

June - en route right now from Bermuda-NYC-Montreal, World Cup Saturday, Sunday off, 4 day tour, back to Bermuda for the weekend for a family wedding (the rest of my team will go to Philly), then straight back on the plane to Minnesota for Nature Valley!!

After Nature Valley I then have five straight weeks in Boulder, where I will do one of my ‘key training blocks’ for the latter part of the season.

Late July sees the Tour of Cascade and, beyond that, the “agenda” is up in air with the new Australian National Coach (Martin Barras) next week. The World Championships Course this year looks great, so I am looking forward to laying down some solid planning and starting on my path towards my major goals later in the year. I love hard, hilly, 1-day races so I am keen to get the World Cups started! My preparation leading into the Worlds last year was a lot of training (mostly hills and motor pacing) and not that much racing relative to what a lot of other pros do…. it will be interesting to see what Martin has in mind for me.

The North American season is more about 4-6 day tours which I have targeted more single stages or helping out my team-mates so the “shift” in focus is something I am looking forward to. All the racing over here is new to me, so each race is a surprise. The girls say Nature Valley should suit me, so we will see if my legs are up to the task. It will be Kristin Armstrong’s last North American race, so I am sure she will have her mind set on a good performance. Kristin loves to race hard, so it will be an exciting race to follow.

Until next time, Nikki. :)
Twitter: NikButterfield