Courteney Lowe's Blog Welcome to my blog. Here is where I'll post updates on what I've been up to lately http://www.courteneylowe.com 2013, Courteney Lowe http://www.courteneylowe.com/img/courteney-riding.jpg Courteney Lowe's Blog http://www.courteneylowe.com en-us Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:01:04 +1300 Courteneys Cookie Sale http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/118/Courteneys-Cookie-Sale Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:01:04 +1300 <p><span style="font-size:24px;">2016/2017 Courteney&#39;s Cookie Sale</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2016-12-17-at-1.28.08-PM.png" style="width: 1000px; height: 855px;" /></p> I'm still here. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/117/Im-still-here- Mon, 21 Mar 2016 08:45:54 +1300 <p>Whelp, I am still here, in NZ, waiting for my visa. I am certainly reaching my stress Laura-less limits but fingers crossed for an update this week!!</p> <p>Spending this extra time at home has been pretty cool. I&rsquo;ve been able to get in some extra summer training, racing and most importantly time with my family! I took the dog for a run on our property today and even found some feijoas growing on the tree and the leaves on the plum tree have changed to a beautiful pinky/orange.. The first time I have seen this autumn change in about 5 years.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_1445.JPG" style="width: 300px; height: 400px;" /></p> <p>Feijoas! I can see them, but I probably will not be still here when they are ready to eat =(&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_1456.JPG" style="width: 300px; height: 400px;" /></p> <p>Hello Autum! (mind the dog peeing on the feijoa tree...)</p> <p>A couple of weeks ago I raced the Tauranga Club Champs. Tauranga Cycling Club has been so incredibly supportive since day one. They taught me how to ride in a bunch, beat me up on Tuesday and Thursday night Worlds and buy all my Pic&rsquo;s PB cookies!! It was pretty cool to be able to race the champs for the first time in awhile, and I had some pretty big competition this year.. my Dad! I think there were other people racing, but all I was focused on was beating Dad. It was a big goal but I prepared well.</p> <p>First stage was a TT.. a 6km rolling blast. Bugger! Dad beat me by 10 seconds. I got the 9<sup>th</sup> fastest time of the day, Dad the 7<sup>th</sup>. 0-1 to Dad, two stages to go.</p> <p>Second stage was a road race in B grade. It was short and sweet being only 48kms, but a non-stop rolling 48kms! Dad went off the front pretty soon after starting, I had a go at bridging across. Got there but we got caught soon after. After the bunch whittled down to 5 riders it came to a sprint finish up a tough but short hill. Dad attacked early (he said he lead me out, but really he tried to get a jump on me). He thought he had it, and I came past him, just! Bam, 1-1!</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/12799204_1244205705594177_3762229156273579527_n.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 383px;" /></p> <p>Good try Dad ;)</p> <p>Third stage, a 3km time trial. I wont go into detail on this one.. It went up and I think I went backwards at some points. I was 9<sup>th</sup> fastest for the day again, Dad 2<sup>nd</sup> equal. 2-1 to Dad. CRAP.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2016-03-21-at-9.43.49-PM.png" style="width: 300px; height: 285px;" /></p> <p>Me post hill climb, or actually mid hill climb.&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall it was a really fun day. Dad won B grade, I was second, and Hannah (sister) did pretty damn good in C grade and had a blitzing hill climb. She is training for a 5 day adventure race called the <a href="http://godzoneadventure.com/">godzone</a>.. Not sure where that love for so much exercising came from. I mean, 5 days of non stop mountain biking, running, kayaking with pretty much 0 sleep. I think I have it easy. I like sleeping and my relaxed morning coffee too much. Her team is called <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Fairieswithfangs/">fairies with fangs</a>, check them out if you&rsquo;re interested. She&rsquo;s going to beat Ritchie Mcaw&rsquo;s team.</p> <p>Thanks Tauranga Cycling Club for everything you do, to Mark Ireland, Greg Taylor and everyone else involved for putting on an awesome club champs and to Stephen Lewis for turning up and taking photos even though you could barely walk! Also <a href="https://www.avantiplus.co.nz/mtmaunganui">Avanti Plus Mount Maunganui</a> for always making my ride in perfect condition.&nbsp;</p> <p>So now I continue waiting, waiting, waiting. Hoping to hear from the US consulate in the next day or two. I&#39;m ready to race, but more importantly see Laura. It&#39;s been too long and I cannot handle any more days.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you to everyone who has tried to help me get there.. Especiall&nbsp;Molly, making her run to her mail box atleast 5 times a day and&nbsp;call the embassy almost every day to re-listen to that voice activated no-help message every time. It has been an incredibly tedious process and I will be very thankful to get on that plane (sooner rather than later please).&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Hello racing! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/116/Hello-racing Wed, 02 Mar 2016 22:22:22 +1300 <p>Wait, it&#39;s march already!?!?</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/2016-so-far.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 400px;" /></p> <p>2016 feels like it is flying by.. I&#39;m trying to figure out what I have actually been doing the last two months!&nbsp;</p> <p>This year I am racing for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/InspireProCycling/?fref=ts">Blue Bikes Presented by The Happy Tooth</a>. I&#39;m pretty excited, racing under former US National Champion Robin Farina and once again riding for one of the greatest and most entertaining cyclists on the planet, Tina Pic, and my favorite person, Laura! It&#39;s going to be a great&nbsp;year filled with some big Stage Races&nbsp;and Crits throughout USA. Now I just have to get there. It&#39;s been a real process getting my visa this year, so now it&#39;s all a waiting game until the US accepts me and i&#39;m allowed to get on a plane!</p> <p>However,&nbsp;good has come out of the whole thing. Because we are in NZ Summer there is a lot of racing! Last week I raced the Rev Cycle Classic in Cambridge. It was my first race since Nationals and definetely a good test to see where I&#39;m&nbsp;at. To break it down;</p> <p>- First lap first big hill went hard, formed a break away of 5 over the top</p> <p>- Next lap was fast, hard and I hurt lots, my fellow break away riders made me suffer</p> <p>- Last lap the triathletes got the better of the road cyclists up the big hill (sigh) and broke away</p> <p>- Managed to get the sprint out of 3 for 3rd</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Rev.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" /></p> <p>Not sure what I was talking about, but happy to be on a podium again!&nbsp;</p> <p>Next up, Bev May Tour. This race is a pretty special one for me. Bev was <span style="color: rgb(138, 132, 130); line-height: 21px;">the first female licensed rider</span><span style="color: rgb(138, 132, 130); line-height: 21px;">&nbsp;in New Zealand and</span>&nbsp;one of my first ever coaches.&nbsp;She&#39;s a&nbsp;cycling icon.&nbsp;This tour is put together by Bev and her&nbsp;family, and is one of the best. It consists&nbsp;of 4 stages in 2 days (ouch) and A grade had an impressive field of almost 30 riders. Reading can get boring, so I will explain in photos thanks to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/bobs.bikes1?fref=ts">Bob&#39;s bikes</a> photography;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/12794666_974684099287938_3099694332602128282_o.jpg" style="width: 650px; height: 433px;" /></p> <p>Stage one, i&#39;m the one with the yellow shoes and Morrinsville/Harcourts top.</p> <p>The first day finished with two bunch sprints. After many break-away attempts they all ended back together.. Cool to see so many teams riding together in little &#39;ol NZ!</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/12768300_975202442569437_3398835331895584693_o.jpg" style="width: 650px; height: 433px;" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/12671662_975216975901317_7674749951720207918_o.jpg" style="width: 650px; height: 433px;" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/12768120_975219865901028_2643724609639635387_o.jpg" style="width: 650px; height: 433px;" /></p> <p>I ended up finishing the tour in 2nd overall. I&#39;m finally beginning to feel like my old self again,&nbsp;i&#39;m not there yet, but this is the first time&nbsp;in 3 years&nbsp;that I have completed a&nbsp;race (let alone&nbsp;4 of them)&nbsp;with no injuries.. i&#39;m pretty damn excited about that!&nbsp;</p> <p>Now I wait, my visa should hopefully be coming through this week and all going to plan, will be off to the US next week.. it&#39;s all a bit of a waiting game!</p> <p>First race will be the San Dimas Stage Race and the week after is Redlands. I&#39;m excited to get the season under-way with my new team. I woke up this morning and felt cold, it was a sign that it&#39;s time to go and find the California sunshine!!</p> <p>I&#39;ll be back!!</p> <p>C Lowe =)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Timber Trail 2016 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/115/Timber-Trail-2016 Thu, 25 Feb 2016 23:02:35 +1300 <p><span style="font-size:22px;">Timber Trail with my wonderful Family&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">Last month Laura, Mum, Dad, Hannah,&nbsp;Andrew and I set out on an adventure!&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">100kms of riding along ancient forest and over some of the highest and longest</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">suspension bridges in NZ, known as&nbsp;the <a href="http://www.thetimbertrail.com/">Timber Trail&nbsp;</a>. It was absolutely&nbsp;beautiful,</span></p> <p>&nbsp;and&nbsp;is becoming a yearly habit. I even found a new love for mountain biking, turns</p> <p>out it&#39;s fun when you don&#39;t fall off!</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2016-02-25-at-9.55.29-PM.png" style="width: 500px; height: 193px;" /></p> <p>Pre Timber Trail waiting game,&nbsp;I wonder who is most excited?</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2016-02-25-at-10.01.37-PM.png" style="width: 500px; height: 309px;" /></p> <p>Day one, start of &nbsp;two solid days of mountain biking on the beautiful Timber Trail.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2016-02-25-at-10.07.43-PM.png" style="width: 500px; height: 352px;" /></p> <p>After 6 hours of riding, we all bonked a little, some sulked..</p> <p>But we found a hidden waterfall. And took many rests in beautiful spots.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_0712.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 667px;" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_0593.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></p> <p>Family trip, Lowe/Butcher style.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_0682.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 667px;" /></p> <p>Nothing cool to see here&nbsp;(There were atleast 5 of these throughout the ride).&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_0723.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 533px;" /></p> <p>Swing bridge selfie (Laura has more balls then me).</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2016-02-25-at-10.11.43-PM.png" style="width: 500px; height: 209px;" /></p> <p>Our cute accomodation at Black Fern lodge after day one, in the middle of no-where!</p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/IMG_0917.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></p> <p>PHEW!&nbsp;Two days, a lot of saddle time, a few tumbles,&nbsp;Mum is my hero.&nbsp;</p> Courteney's Pic's PB cookie sale http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/114/Courteneys-Pics-PB-cookie-sale Fri, 27 Nov 2015 17:04:54 +1300 <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/12194159_10205170628200999_1469428387_o%281%29.jpg" style="width: 800px; height: 1130px;" /></p> I'm still Alive!! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/113/Im-still-Alive Sun, 22 Nov 2015 20:07:17 +1300 <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">I&rsquo;m alive!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">To say I have been a bit slack on the blog updates would be a slight understatement. I mean, I am keeping within the year.. but two a year is probably a little bit un-informative. MY BAD.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">At least now I can do a short synopsis of my year, then hopefully it will take me less then a year to update it next time! (I&rsquo;m working on it, promise). Here is a photo essay of my 2015 season;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">2015 was, well, a very interesting year. It was the first year out of the past four that I have been able to ride without an injury, which is FANTASTIC. But it was still an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and form.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">It started off like any year starts with training camp in Phoenix, Arizona, I was given a new beautiful bike that I call Scott (ok, it came with the name) and BOY is he fast. This is by far the best bike I have ever ridden, lightweight, handles corners like a dream and pretty damn attractive (I wasn&rsquo;t paid to say that).</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.40.14-PM.png" style="width: 850px; height: 425px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">All my new Scott Bling =) &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;My brand spanking new view, hot dayyumm.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family: 'comic sans ms', cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.44.25-PM.png" style="width: 850px; height: 362px;" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">The new Pepper Palace crew.. Don&rsquo;t let our good looks fool you, we are HARD CORE. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Especially Gokes, she makes sensational animal noises and her style is on form.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-20-at-9.34.57-PM.png" style="width: 400px; height: 531px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Photo shoot! Trying to be serious.. turns out that&rsquo;s impossible thanks to my wonderful teammates.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Half of the team then set off to Tucson, AZ for some training and some low key races to start the season off and practice racing together!</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.48.36-PM.png" style="width: 850px; height: 367px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Tucson crew Lindsay, Julie and I. Safety first for Lindsay, always. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Many rides consisted of coffee stops at the end. Again, safety always first.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-seven.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 300px;" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">When we have an entire garage of bike stuff to pack and a&nbsp;short amount of time to do it, lying on the ground &lsquo;resting&rsquo;&nbsp;seemed&nbsp;like the best way to approach it.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-eight.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 300px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">First race with the Peppers, we started off fast, had a bit of a cluster and finished it off with a win! Learning how each other rides is a process that we progressed throughout the season.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-nine%281%29.jpg" style="width: 221px; height: 400px;" />&nbsp; &nbsp;<img alt="" src="/upload/images/11008625_10153693149924377_2995218099560669067_o.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 400px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">I went to get a massage that lasted 2 hours.. Lindsay got worried so she acted immediately and put me on a milk carton.. America. Then I ended up on the yoghurt container, because.. why not?</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-10.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 400px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">My teammates are wonderful, and all very unique. Like when we go out for dinner and Lindsay makes sure to dress appropriately. But don&rsquo;t worry, she is wearing mascara.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-11.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">We then set off on a road trip to California to compete at San Dimas Stage Race and Redlands. I managed to get food poisoning on the way there thanks to some Mexican food, I also turned 24&hellip; Which I am still processing. This is when we went out for dinner on my birthday and I wasn&rsquo;t quite ready to move on from 23. Even the table number was there to remind me.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-12.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 333px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Suzanna got the pick of the numbers for San Dimas</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-13.png" style="width: 600px; height: 500px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">The racing here was really tough, we were against the best of the best and the legs were slowly (very slowly) coming back into form. They were certainly not where I wanted them to be but it&rsquo;s all about slow progression. The highlight was definitely spending 2 weeks with the Koglers and their pet pig Maisy.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-14.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 300px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Next up was a flight over to Greenville, South Carolina for another training camp and then some crit racing!! Unfortunately I lost a toe nail on the trip, and Lindsay drew a beautiful picture.</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-15.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Unfortunately Amber crashed at crit nationals breaking her Pelvis, and I spent some time in the hospital with her, which meant some serious concentration to stop myself from fainting (I faint at the sight of blood, pain and even the smell of a hospital). I&rsquo;m pretty sure I was more tired after two days of hospital visits than I am after a stage race. (Thank you Julie for capturing one of my training days).&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-16.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">The Peppers accommodation for a week in Greenville, so many beds.. It was like the never ending bed house. The Pepper is ours though.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-17.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 400px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">First crit series of the year, USA Speed Week and we won! After a week of racing the team got better and better and rode like a total unit. Tina&rsquo;s speedy legs also helped a lot ;)</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-18.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 350px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">This was the first time I got to meet my teammate Laura. And BOY has she changed my life. This woman is the most incredible person I have ever met in my existence. We then spent the next 5 months traveling all over the US together, literally, the ENTIRE Country plus Canada. Car photos became a bit of a theme.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">&nbsp;<img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.50.52-PM.png" style="width: 850px; height: 317px;" /></span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.51.35-PM.png" style="width: 750px; height: 500px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Laura sometimes over-flows the dish washer. Sorry Sarah.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Next to Laura&nbsp;is my team mate Julie. She is kind of a big deal and a super talented bike racer.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'comic sans ms', cursive;">She also has a dog called Sandwich and the other one is Banana.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">&nbsp; <img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-23.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 400px;" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">When you see a Pepper&nbsp;sign, it&rsquo;s really important to make the most of it. I actually felt like I was pretty high up at this point.. awkward looking at it now.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-24-.png" style="width: 600px; height: 444px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Pic&rsquo;s peanut butter (<a href="http://picspeanutbutter.com/">http://picspeanutbutter.com/</a>) has been my amazing sponsors for the past few years. They are absolutely awesome and even supported the entire team this season. If you haven&rsquo;t tried Pic&rsquo;s before, then you definitely have not lived! Better yet, check out my next post about my Pic&rsquo;s PB cookies. They are delicious ;)</span></p> <hr /> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.56.30-PM.png" style="width: 1000px; height: 402px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Next stop, BOULDER (Colorado). This is where I was based for the entire season. It is my favorite town in the US and absolutely packed full of athletes from every sport. It also has really good coffee (which is saying something for America). One issue, it snowed. I was really excited at first because I never get to see snow. That excitement lasted about 30 minutes until I was supposed to go training.. Here I got to train with so many great friends and&nbsp;Boulder also has some awesome mountain bike parks&hellip; I can say that Scott handles the dirt beautifully (it&rsquo;s rider needs a little technical work however).&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-6.58.01-PM.png" style="width: 900px; height: 335px;" />&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">While in Boulder I was introduced to Laura&rsquo;s company called Runnerbox and helped now and then with a couple of things. That whole work thing became kind of addictive and now I am doing it a lot more. It&rsquo;s an awesome concept and now we just need to bring it to NZ! (<a href="http://www.therunnerbox.com">www.therunnerbox.com</a>)</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Next road trip was to Milwaukee, WI for Tour of America&rsquo;s Dairyland. 11 days of crit racing (in a row). It was pretty awesome and the team rode really well together. Once again Tina&rsquo;s speedy legs and some awesome team work got us the&nbsp;overall win! It was a hard fight and we definitely had some good and bad moments, but overall it was a success and A LOT of fun!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Photo-30.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 400px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Each morning before racing we went for an easy hour spin and met up with one of my role models Laura Van Gilder. This lady is an absolute inspiration and kicks ass.&nbsp; Laura on my left and Tina on my right, both in their 50&rsquo;s and both winning races like it&rsquo;s nothing. Incredible.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-07-03-at-3.24.09-pm.png" style="width: 800px; height: 360px;" /></p> <p>Getting it sorted. Photo credit; Snowy Mountain Photography (http://www.snowymountainphotography.com/)</p> <hr /> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-7.02.09-PM.png" style="width: 895px; height: 450px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Tina wins races all the time, it&rsquo;s because her last name is pic, easily confused with pic&rsquo;s peanut butter.&nbsp;We also won all the cheese.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">After some more driving all over the Country to races (and some very up and down form), Laura, Tina and I headed to Park City, Utah for Scott Week. It was absolutely amazing, we got to test out the new 2016 Scott bikes, meet the people behind Scott bikes and basically just live the high roller life on the top of a beautiful mountain for a few days!</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-7.03.42-PM.png" style="width: 650px; height: 310px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">I have never seen so many beautiful (and expensive) bikes parked at a coffee shop before in my life..&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Once returning to Colorado I had a solid block of training and started the US Pro Challenge feeling pretty good. The TT was in Breckenridge starting at 10,000 feet altitude (ouch), next was an awesome road race to Fort Collins and finished with a circuit race in Golden. My racing was not what I was hoping for once again. The talent in the race was incredible but unfortunately I just didn&rsquo;t have it. It&rsquo;s been an up and down year, but I can see progression, and I know what I need to do to get better so I just need to hang tight and keep going.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><font face="comic sans ms, cursive">Another reason basing myself in Boulder is&nbsp;so good&nbsp;is the fact that everyone comes to you! One of my closest friends, Emma Grant, spent the last couple of months of the season in Colorado so it was super awesome catching up with her. She then went on to win and podium in some of the biggest races on the US criterium calendar. After a lot of injuries and set backs it was really cool seeing her back on the podium, where she belongs.&nbsp;</font></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-7.14.36-PM.png" style="width: 300px; height: 222px;" /></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">To finish off the season Laura and I decided to go and race one of the most beautiful races in America, the Green Mountain Stage race in Vermont. It was by far my favorite race of the year on and off the bike. Thank you so much to Nancy and Bill for making our time there extra special (and for the photos), to West Hill house B&amp;B for the accommodation,&nbsp;GMSR for the fantastic event and of course Laura for making this trip one of the best.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-7.05.15-PM.png" style="width: 800px; height: 417px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Racaing for Runnerbox, plus the pain face after climbing for 20kms and finishing on a 22% killer.. Best of all&nbsp;Laura on the podium with an Olympian and Junior World&#39;s&nbsp;Medalist. &nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Then it was OFF SEASON!! For some people off season means to not look at a bike or exercise for some time. But when in Colorado it is really important to make the most of it and go hiking, running, adventure road rides and mountain biking!! (Or maybe that&#39;s just how crazy people think.. oh wait).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-35.png" style="width: 500px; height: 412px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;"><img alt="" src="/upload/images/photo-36.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">The off-season fun came to a pretty fast halt 2 seconds after this photo was taken. Yes, it ended like it looks.. superman over the bars and some pretty sore ribs and knee. I SWEAR I got some air before I looked like this.. even if it was an inch off the ground, there was a moment where no wheels were on the surface.&nbsp;Thanks to Laura for saving me and capturing this moment, &nbsp;also for&nbsp;&nbsp;not freeking out when I was close to passing&nbsp;out for half an hour. Roadies trying new things.. oops.&nbsp;Note to self, learn how to ride a mountain bike before riding a mountain bike.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Two new things I learnt/did this season</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/upload/images/Screen-Shot-2015-11-22-at-7.07.11-PM.png" style="width: 700px; height: 400px;" /></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Saved Turtles trying to cross the street and learning&nbsp;Tina can do ANYTHING. Including packing her bike on the way to the airport in the backseat of the car.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Now I am home in NZ, baking cookies, riding my bike and getting ready for 2016. For some crazy reason I decided to race Crit Nats last week.. TERRIBLE idea. Legs were not ready for that kind of intensity just yet, but boy it was awesome to see how fast the womens field was. NZ up and coming riders are STRONG, and Rushlee Buchanan got a very well deserved win!!&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">I am not sure what next year will bring yet, but I am working really hard on making positive steps&nbsp;to make it a really good year.&nbsp;I just want to send out a huge thank you to Brad from Inspyre web design for being the best online support system,&nbsp;ever. My coach Carmen Small for getting me through a pretty rough season and always believing in me. To Laura for saving my year and being the best friend anybody could ask for, Sarah for opening your home to me and Julie, Ruth,&nbsp;Lindsay&nbsp;and Tina for always being awesome and making me laugh! And of course my family for supporting me no matter what!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">Thanks for popping by and if you made it this far I am really impressed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">I&#39;ll be back!!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:comic sans ms,cursive;">- C Lowe</span></p> 2015 Update! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/110/2015-Update Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:21:34 +1300

Why hello there! Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone! Hope you all got some time off and are all refreshed for a fabulous 2015!

I sit here writing this with balloon cheeks as I got my four wisdom teeth out yesterday.  I have been meaning to get them out for the past three years as they decide to keep popping up whenever I get stressed (i.e. before every big race). So with the help of Jade Wilcoxson’s constant nagging throughout the years I finally decided to get rid of them. Probably a good idea as two of them starting coming up again during Nationals, and the surgeon said one was very infected (yuck).

Anyway, now I am being forced off my bike for at least three days, so I can catch up on some things. First was making a new Facebook ‘athlete’ page. Here I will update all cycling stuff so that I can keep my other page less cycling orientated (so really, not much will be happening on that other page).  If you have facebook and are interested in a weekly update on life and anything biking, give it a like! https://www.facebook.com/courteneylowecyclist

The past couple of months have been very much up and down. In November I got some pretty bad knee pain every time I got on my bike, meaning endless physio and doctors visits. Thank you so much Kate and Jacinta from Bureta Phsyio, Judith May, Pip Charlton and my amazing chiro who worked on me ever day while on holiday from England, Ali McMaster. We finally got on top of it and I have been fantastic since. But of course the day after I felt all better I got a head cold which continued for the next two weeks. So once all that drama was behind me I was able to get in a solid month of training, building up to my 2015 season.

This year I approached my National Championships differently. Instead of putting everything into making me peak for January the 10th, I only focused a small amount on National specific training, and more on what would help me during the US season. I have found in recent years that the better I am going in January, the worse off I am for the remaining season in the US. In saying this, I came to Nationals feeling good. I had no injuries (other then some wisdom teeth coming to visit), and I felt strong. The numbers for the race were really low, I am not sure where everybody was.. but the racing was still good. Linda Villumson was on a mission and won by an incredible margin, putting her world-class time-trialing legs into good use. I felt comfortable up the climb, and on the flat, then the fourth time up I went to sit down and my hamstring seized into a tight cramp. After a few swear words were released and my leg eventually let go I continued up the climb and on the flat until I caught back onto the group. Turns out the legs weren’t done with me and I also cramped the 5th and 6th time up, this time the leg didn’t release for sufficiently longer then the first. This gave me some fantastic time trialing practice for the rest of the race. By the time I was finished I was exhausted, over heated, tired and rather grumpy! But at least I finished, even if it was a good 2-3 minutes behind the bunch  in 7th place (and a much larger gap to Linda). As crazy as it sounds, I was happy with the day.. I mean, of all things that have happened in the last three years, cramp is just cramp. It happens to anyone. Given the conditions and the lack of racing I have had in the past three months, I was just happy to finish and get on with my 2015 training.

Photo taken by Rickoshayphotos

Now I am four teeth down, resting on the couch drinking smoothies and soup and driving my family crazy until I can get back on my bike in a couple of days.

Next up is the tour of NZ in Masterton mid February. Three of my team mates from the US and Canada are coming over to join me, plus Karen Fulton from Nelson. It’s going to be a great race and I cannot wait to see everyone!

Thanks for reading, and if you are reading this from Tauranga and thinking ‘man do I feel like some delicious Pic’s Peanut Butter Cookies home made by Courteney’, then pop over to my blog before this and make an order =) I warn you, they are rediculously addictive and Peanut Butter makes you go really fast. I'll leave you with some of my recent baking endeavours (pay particular attention to the last one);

First attempt at a minion cake with colourful fondant. I have temporarily retired from doing anything with fondant. 

Christmas jam cookies!!

Lindt chocolate spiders ontop of PB cookies. 

You know you want them! Pic's PB cookies =)

Ciao for now!

C Lowe

P.S, just want to shout out to Rickoshayphotos who supplied me with my main photo of me racing at Nationals in my new team colors. Check them out!

 

 

Bake sale time!!! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/109/Bake-sale-time Mon, 24 Nov 2014 21:03:55 +1300

Thank you! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/108/Thank-you Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:44:57 +1300

Well hello there. Here I am again, two posts in two months (I am improving).

I have some exciting news that I am officially able to share with ya’ll. In 2015 I will be riding with a new team, Pepper Palace Pro Cycling Presented by Happy Tooth (doesn’t the name just make you happy)!? The team has 10 other speed demons in it from all over the US including a good friend and teammate from this year, Amber Pierce. I am super excited about this new opportunity, I will get so many chances to compete in the big UCI races next season as well as live in my favorite town in the US, BOULDER COLORADO!! I will keep this brief by linking you to a recent article that Edward Wright did on me from Road Cycling, it tells you all about next year and what is in store =) http://www.roadcycling.co.nz/TeamTalk/catching-up-with-courteney-lowe.html

The last month has had its ups and downs. One day I am feeling fantastic, the next a niggle is stopping me from riding my bike. It’s nothing major, just part of the process (and my body’s plan to never make my life easy). Thankfully I have the support of some amazing people here in Tauranga. Bureta Physiotherapy have been absolutely amazing. Each visit with Buretta makes me feel confident that with my home exercises they have given me, as well as a bit of dry needling (OUCH) I will be on top of these issues and rearing to go in no time. Jaccs and Kate are the best in the physio business, and I am so lucky to have them on my side. Thanks team =) Bureta Physio also run circuit/core and Pilates classes throughout the week. They are fantastic for any level and the best part is when I show up (if I can get myself out of bed that early), the 60 year olds kick my ass. It’s really impressive to see.

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to Revolutions in Fitness. You would think being in NZ would make it difficult to get fixed by Curtis. Apparently not. After the traveling and reconstruction of my bike I was having problems and needed his help! I sent Curtis a short video of me riding, we had a skype and WALLA, with his endless, out of this world knowledge, I am good to go again! My pedal stroke has now changed, my set-up is slightly different, and I felt back to normal the very next day. Not sure what I would do without Curtis and Revolutions in Fitness. To make it even more incredible, the Skype was close to mid-night for Curtis. You cannot get much better service then that.

And I cannot forget to mention my massage therapist Pip Charlton. I have been going to Pip for the past five years and miss her tremendously while in the US. Massage is so incredibly important for athletes and with over 18 years of experience you know you are in bloody good hands. Pip also offers lymphatic enhancement technology, which has helped with increasing my energy levels. My Mum also sees Pip for Lymphatic Drainage to help improve her overall health, and feels the best she has in a very long time. I think it is something that needs to be introduced to more people, especially those with digestive issues!!

Other then all that getting fixed business I am training too! This past month I have been getting some solid miles in the legs as well as a bit of gym work with Shane at Body Mechanics. Shane and Sandi have been working with me during the ‘off-season’ for the past two years and their gym has everything I need plus a little bit more. Shane gives me a gym program and instructs me while I do it so that I am doing the exercises with the right technique, and to make sure I don’t get lazy and rest for longer then I need to!!

That’s a lot of thank you’s in a blog post. The support I get from these people is overwhelming and there are not enough words to thank them for what they do for me.

Next up (all going well) is Tour De Vineyards with Em Collins. Can’t wait to go on a road trip to Nelson end of December and do some low key racing in my favorite city in NZ, with a bit of beach time and frozen yoghurt eating! Tour de Vineyards is a fantastic way of getting a bit of speed in the legs before Elite Nationals in Christchurch, itll be a welcome back to racing for most people!

There is a lot of writing here and no photos. So I will finish with a photo of why people should always use saddlebags.

Andrew thinks using a saddle bag isn't 'cool'. Because you look cool with your pockets like that don't ya!?

Thanks for reading!!

C Lowe =)

Blast from the past http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/107/Blast-from-the-past Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:03:08 +1300

Why hello there. Thought it would be a good time to update this thing, to let you all know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth!

First of all, I am sorry for the slackness of my updates this year. I guess what happens is when I have nothing good to say, I would rather not say it. Not that it was a terrible year, but it could have been better! I will put it down as a year of learning, getting fixed and meeting some awesome people.

Since surgery in February I couldn’t quite find my old riding self this season. Even though I trained as hard as I could, my body just kept telling me it wasn’t quite up to what I wanted it to do.  But that is ok, it’s all part of the process. You have good years and you have bad years, this was a bad one, a TERRIBLE one. But all it does is make me more determined for the future. I know I will get to where I want to go, and I will continue to put everything I can into getting there.

Backing up a little bit. In July I went to stay in Boulder, CO for a training block in Altitude. It was awesome! I fell in love with the place and will be living there next year. I then flew over to Connecticut to stay with my teammate Amber Pierce to do another racing block on the East Coast. Amber and her Husband David treated me like royalty. They had a beautiful home in the middle of the forest. Occasionally while I was eating breakfast I would see a Deer walk up to the window and squirrels jumping across the trees. It was awesome.

Racing the Boulder storm with fellow Kiwi and good friend Kate Chilcott. 

First up was the Chris Thater crits. They were fun and fast. Amber and I had a great time and I got a 6th place on the second day after spending most of the race off the front in the break. Next up was the Green Mountain Stage Race with Amber and Denise. The racing was fantastic and the stages were beautiful, not to mention how lucky we were with our first class B&B accommodation at West Hill House B&B in Vermont. I had a little bit of a disaster, but in summary;

  • Stage one TT;

Denise led the Optum girls to 5th place. I broke some teeth on my chain ring and almost started the race in Birkenstocks and track pants.

  • Stage two Road Race;

Amber sprints to second with a bloody fantastic lead out by Denise. I get 5th and penalized 30 seconds for touching the yellow line (swerving to avoid a crash).

  • Stage three Road Race;

Denise finishes second; the three of us do a brilliant lead out for our new sprinting super star Amber who got all the sprint points for the jersey! We finished on a suicidal hill.

  • Stage five Criterium;

Denise decided to do an individual time trial and lap the field, winning the race, Amber sprints to 3rd and gets all the sprint points she needed to secure the jersey. I crashed with four laps to go, breaking my rib. Gaaaaa.

 

Amber and Denise on the podium. (Denise 2nd overall and Amber sprint jersey winner).

Overall, we had fun, my legs were coming around slowly, and my team mates are awesome.

I was hoping to stay for a few more weeks to do some more big criteriums, but I could barely ride my bike seated let alone standing up and sprinting. So I decided to finish the season. It was a hard call to make, but I felt like the most important thing I needed to do was have a break.  I wanted to go home, see my family, get myself healed and start the next season super fresh, with a new outlook.

You know you had a good break when you start counting down the days until you are allowed to get back on your bike! I am now back into training, slowly but surely. I have also just started to see/skype a new psychologist from the US. Dr Kristin Keim. Over the last few years, with everything that has gone on my head has been all over the place, and I have not been dealing with things the way I should be. But with the help of Kristen I am really feeling like I am in control of myself. It’s an amazing feeling and I am really looking forward to continuing with Kristin’s help. I believe seeing a psychologist is just as important (if not more important) then training. It doesn’t matter if you are the strongest damn athlete on the planet, if your head is not in it, you will not be able to achieve success. Appointments with psychologists should become a part of an athlete’s daily schedule, just like getting a weekly massage and physio.

I am now at home, getting my legs ripped off by my Dad and sorting out everything for next year. There are going to be a lot of changes, but they are all for the good. I am going to get a lot more opportunities and I get to share them with some really cool people. Until then I will be training at home in Tauranga, working occasionally and adding in some racing.

I just want to say a big THANKS to my coach Andy Reid for consistently sticking with me and supporting me, and Koops Cycles for helping me ever since I started riding my bike. Not sure what I would do without people like you, and your on-going support.

Thanks for reading, I will be back sooner then 4 months this time round I promise!

- C Lowe

Bike Fit at Revolutions in Fitness. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/106/Bike-Fit-at-Revolutions-in-Fitness- Fri, 30 May 2014 13:28:31 +1200

When I first started riding for Optum PB Kelly Benefit Strategies back in 2012 I (with probably a lot of riders out there) was in desperate need of a bike fitter that didn’t just fit me to the normal numbers and angles, but one who actually looked at how I work as I bike rider, how good (or bad) my flexibility is and who can not only fit me but teach me to ride in the most efficient way possible.

I had a good bike fit, but I never felt as though I was able to turn my gluts on like they should and it was also the start of my hip issues. The more I rode the worse it got but I just couldn’t seem to find anybody who understood what was going on or how they could change my position to help with what was going on.

I was introduced to Revolutions in Fitness http://www.revolutionsinfitness.com through my teammate Kristin Sanders back in 2012. I have never heard someone so ecstatic about a bike fitter before and I become very excited to find it was not just a bike fitting service, but some of the best physical therapy/cycling analysis and bike fitters around. Unfortunately due to funding issues and Revolutions in Fitness being on the other side of the Country I was not able to see Curtis and the RIF team that year. BIG MISTAKE. Two years and two surgery’s later I stumbled upon a video of Curtis explaining bike fit and what he does and decided I needed to see him, whatever it took I needed to start fresh and feel comfortable and confident on my bike and of course the main focus; NO MORE INJURIES.

First fit with Curtis at Revolutions in Fitness. With all the gadgets stuck on. 

So after realizing that I was going to be living only two hours from Revolutions in Fitness I booked in for the week after arriving to the US. My first appointment with Curtis and the team I was almost in tears with happiness. I could not get over the knowledge Curtis had with absolutely everything body and bike related. I learned within the first five minutes that he was not just a bike fitter, in fact we spent only about 30% of the time looking at me on the bike and 70% sorting me and my issues (which turns out I have a lot of). Within half an hour of physical therapy with Curtis I had changed the way I rode, now just imagine a year of this, crap what about 5 years, or the rest of my riding career. Now that Revolutions in Fitness have found what my problems are and taught me how to fix them in day-to-day routines, I am getting better every day. I am finding power from muscles that I never realized existed, and the most important part is I am stopping any future injuries from appearing. We have spent a lot of work on the hip area and looking into reasons for why my arteries decided to kink themselves and making sure this does not happen again… EVER.

Words cannot describe how different I feel on the bike. The feeling of confidence when I get on my bike every day, knowing that I’m getting the best out of my position and am not forcing myself into a position that ‘supposed’ to be ideal. I have done this before and it just makes things worse. Because of the exercises and stretching I am doing off the bike I just let my body sink into MY perfect position without even having to think about it. No more daily questions of ‘is my pelvis twisted,? ohh or maybe my left leg is longer then the other?  Why is my glut not turning on? Should I have this numbness in my hands? Wait why is my right calf cramping and why is my left IT band so much tighter then my right??’ I know these thoughts go through 90% percent of cyclists, on a daily basis, but not me. Not anymore at least. And what an amazing feeling that is!!

Getting set-up on the TT bike, with my seat being pressure mapped. The left is showing I am sitting far too much to the left.. a small drop of the saddle and change to the seat reach and bam.. i'm all even again. 

By no means am I completely 100% perfect, hell I am a long way from it. But I am on a damn good road of getting there. There will be more injuries I am sure; I mean I race a bike. I will probably fall off and have a new problem show up but at least I am progressing forward, not down, or backwards. And I am in the best possible hands.

I may have missed out on the recent Commonwealth Games selection and as gutted I am about it, I had to get realistic. I didn’t get results in the time I needed to get them; I was dealing with something more important that is now going to help me for the future. I am now more motivated then ever, and with the help of Curtis, Andy and my Optum PB KBS team I know I can get to where I want.

I want to say a quick shout out to the team selected for the games, Rushlee, Jo, Emily, Linda and Reta. There is not one person here that doesn’t deserve to go, possibly the strongest Comm games team that I have ever seen. Congratulations to everyone and I am super pumped to watch you all kick some butt.

And lastly, if you have time and want to read Kristin’s awesome blog about her progression and to get an in-depth understanding of what Curtis and Revolutions in Fitness have to offer check out; http://41andfearless.wordpress.com

And to all the Kiwis or non-Americans reading this, Curtis has some great videos all over the internet about almost everything you need to know about riding a bike. Just google ‘Curtis Cramblett’ or take a look on youtube; https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=curtis+cramblett they are definitely worth the read!

Thanks again for reading!!

A whole lot of writing (sorry) http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/105/A-whole-lot-of-writing-sorry Thu, 22 May 2014 14:36:15 +1200

I have just returned from the AMGEN Tour of California  circuit race and Timetrial, which was a massive 20 minute drive to Sacramento from Davis. The Tour of California is one of the biggest men’s stage races in the US with the World’s top professional cycling teams competing in an 8-stage race across California.  Unfortunately the Women have not yet been given the opportunity to compete in this 8-day stage race (more on that later), but we are making progress! This year Amgen featured not only a timetrial for the Women, but a circuit race too around the streets of Sacramento. It was an invitational circuit race, which consisted of 110 International racers. We were treated like royalty; the crowds were awesome (note, it was a women’s race, fantastic crowds… big fields… lots of publicity… we need MORE stages).  The day after was the time trial, which only 17 of the top National and International riders were invited to compete in, and then the top three placed teams for the circuit race would automatically qualify an extra rider to compete in the TT, which means there is a total of 20 (20!!!! ONLY 20!!!!)  riders that start the TT the next day.

We had only 3 riders race the circuit race, Annie, Brie and myself. Brie was sick and Annie had just returned from a month in Europe. I had very little intentions of qualifying for the the time trial, with a field of 110 and Brie feeling very under the weather, I was planning on the best spot to stop and cheer my team mates on.

Anyway, the race turned out to be yet another disaster on my part, getting caught up in a crash ¼ of the way and doing the rookie error of not taking a lap out and chasing (I am still kicking myself), but Brie and Annie rode awesomely!! Brie, who is an amazing talent and one of the strongest riders I have ever met,  with the help of Annie (who is finally back after spending 2013 recovering from a broken shoulder), came from about 15 people back on the final corner and sprinted against THE BEST to take third place. Third place means Courteney was now racing one of the biggest Time Trials on the American circuit the very next day (moment of stress, and excitement at the same time). 

Once returning to the Hotel I pulled the TT bike out and did a quick ‘self fit’ as I am yet to visit Curtis Cramblett at Revolutions in Fitness for my official TT fit. I raised the seat a little, Bob (one of the best mechanics on the planet) put on some new TT bars, I jumped on, went for a 15 minute training ride and was set to go.. Feeling less then confident, but super excited about what I was about to experience.

After having breakfast in the men’s hotel (standing in the breakfast line with Thor Hushovd, walking past Peter Sagan in the corridor and peering over to see what Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins were having for breakfast) I tried to concentrate on my own meal and what was in store for the day. We warmed up under the big Optum campervan being looked after incredibly well and having media everywhere. I was third off, and thankfully I was only passed once! So-be-it from one of my closest friends Amber Gaffney. I had a shocker to say the least, my Diamonback bike was perfect (and exceptionally pretty), my speedy Lazer TT helmet was super aero, and my beautiful, skin tight MT BORAH speedsuit was fast!! My legs on the other hand, they struggled. I was on and off the seat, my head was up and down.. I apologize to anyone who watched me live, it was actually a little embarrassing, but I made the most of the experience and had a wonderful, if slightly daunting time.  Ohh and I made the top 20! (Even if it was out of 20).  Brie also got 2nd, this girl is on fire. After crashing hard in Europe two months ago she is back and absolutely killing it like usual, keep an eye on Brianna Walle  (Walley) in the results to come.

The next day I caught up with Kate Chilly, my fellow Kiwi friend who rides for Vanderkitten team to watch the third stage of Amgen TOC up the top of an hour long climb (our two races were now over, the rest was all for the men, five more men stages, no more for women, just two for us, may I add the amount of MEN who asked us on the way up the hill of Mt DIABLO WHY we only had the two stages? There were a lot, and I am yet to find the answer to this question).

Anyway, we had an amazing time up the hill, on our way up we visited the awesome Podium Insight ladies and I got to catch up with some of my favourite people from NZ, Russell and Sharon Jackman. They were in the middle of an incredible trip around the US and Alaska (yes ALASKA). They were following the TOC and Russell was riding some of the stages. It was so great to see them and wish I could have spent more time catching up.

podium insight #selfie

Somehow we got into the VIP area at the top to watch the men finish. There I was standing with the camera crew right outside the finish line recording some awesome footage on the google glass. It got pretty damn exciting when Carter Jones (Optum PB KBS rider) attacked with about 3kms to go and almost made it!! Not only did Carter finish 6th on this massiva stage but Optum’s Will Routley won the King of the Mountains Jersey and won the stage the next day!! He went into stage four with not only the KOM jersey but also the Points (equal to Cavendish). There are four stages to go and the KOM is looking VERY promising, GO OPTUM GO!

(Will Routley then wins the stage the next day, and finishes off the tour with the KOM jersey, well done to the entire Optum team, what a result!!)

I am now back at good old Davis. If it isn’t the crazy wind, it’s the sweltering heat. l am currently trying to survive this weeks heat wave. Yesterday I went training in the 37 degree heat!! Our air conditioning in the house has also broken and the lack of car means if I run out of grocerys, I must ride to the store.. Which is hoooott! Thankfully it is looking like the temperature supposed to go down next week so I am looking forward to being able to breathe and do daily tasks soon!

I have also just started amping my training up significantly, I am really excited about what the next three weeks are going to bring for my form and thanks to Curtis Cramblett and Revolutions in Fitness I am feeling really really comfortable on my Diamondback.

Lastly, my team mates have just come back from a very successful Tour of Britain. This was a huge race and these girls ended up winning the teams classification and came away with a lot of top 10 finishes. Leah Kirchmann, the Canadian National Criterium Champion (and super amazing person) has just created an awesome new website. Check it out and read about her and the teams experiences at the Tour of Britain http://leahkirchmann.com .

Thanks for reading my extremely long blog post. If you made it the whole way I am super impressed and will look at keeping them a whole lot shorter from now on. I feel photos are the way to go =)

Thanks again for keeping up with me and my  journey and I look forward to bringing you success in the months to come.

- C LOWE

Rearing to go! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/104/Rearing-to-go Mon, 05 May 2014 17:07:29 +1200

Well hello there. Once again I am here apologizing for my very delayed update, but there has not been a huge amount to share.

After two months in the USA I am finally feeling a bit more me and getting some racing in the legs. It has been a tough start to the season. Having to race when your head wants to keep up with the other riders but your legs are not quite there yet is pretty tough. But it can only get better from here!!

First race of the season was a pretty great experience. We raced on the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, it was awesome. My team mates got 2nd in the criterium and 1st on the circuit race (which was a complete circuit of the race way). I pedaled a bit behind searching deep for some race legs, which after just under a month of solid training since the recovery, were hard to find.

Heading down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca raceway. 

Next race was on the East Coast, The Winston Salem UCI road race that is only one of two UCI races in the US for Women, including teams from all over Europe, Mexico, America, Canada. My team mate Joelle Numainville finished 2nd to one of the World’s fastest sprinter, Shelly Old’s. Joelle has also had a tough start to the year, recovering from a concussion and starting back at square one. So this was just another way of saying that she is well and truly back! The rest of the team was of-course a massive part in this podium, with Jade and Janel delivering Denise and Joelle to the run up to the sprint, and Brie doing a huge amount of work throughout the race. Denise rocked a solid lead out for Joelle coming into the final kms and held on to finish in the Top 10!

Joelle in her Canadian National champ colours, coming in second. 

I am now back in Davis-California training up for the next race, the Women’s circuit race in Sacramento which is part of the Men’s Amgen tour of California. I am feeling stronger every day and can’t wait until later on in the season where my fitness and speed will have turned around. I have been training with the Davis Cycling Club, and what a great bunch of people they are! I cannot get over how friendly and safe they all are to ride with. Thanks Fred and Davis Cycling Club for kicking my ass and helping me on my return back to racing. I feel I will be incorporating many more of these rides into my training over the next couple of months.

I visited my teammate Jade a couple of days ago in Ashland, Oregon to drop her car off and so she could show off her amazing back yard for training. We rode up into the hills and I became more and more jealous every mile we went (as well as suffering like nothing else). It is amazing how you can drive for 4 hours and it feels as though you are in a complete different Country, the different types of people, scenery, and even snowy mountains. We had a picnic the evening I arrived and joining us were ducks, three very friendly deer and multiple tree huggers/kissers.

Our new friends.

See you later Oregon <3

It is now time to get on my bike and go training in this delightful Davis wind. But before I go I will leave you with two things to check out. First of all our teams ‘calories’ short video, it is hilarious and worth the watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OhUJywiSUE. Secondly, a new AWESOME website created by Optum/KBS and Circuit Sport (humanpoweredhealth.com). It has been designed to inspire and support healthy, active lifestyles using the Human-Powered Health brand. If you do something that comes under the category of healthy and active living, pop in the hash tag #humanpoweredhealth and become part of the website, motivate other people and you can even be in the draw to win prizes from our teams range of partners.

Thanks for reading =) 

Gearing up for 2014 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/103/Gearing-up-for-2014 Wed, 19 Mar 2014 18:40:30 +1300

I am finally in the US and riding my bike again! It is awesome.

On the 28th of Feb I said goodbye to the fam and friends and flew over to the US. After a stop off at LA to stay with the awesome Amber Gaffney I picked up Jade’s car and drove to Davis CA, also known as YOLO County (my favourite part). I will now be based in Davis until June with Matt (while he studies at university of California).

Once arriving here I got introduced to my new training partner, a beautiful Diamondback Podium Equipe. It was like Christmas all over again! The only thing is I couldn’t test it out properly for another week or two.

 I was slowly back on the road again, doing short 1-2 hour rides every second day, but no hills allowed (which was lucky, because Davis is DEAD flat). I have now been here for close to 3 weeks and am almost back to normal training! Been exploring the Napa Valley hills and testing out my new ride (verdict = amazing, descends like a dream!). The leg is awesome doing great, feeling great, and I am really excited for this year.

Arriving in US means the receiving of all my new team sponsored goodies, with some exciting changes! 

First of all, the bike! This year we will be sporting this beautiful Dimondback machine. As well as HED wheels and handle bars, Selle Italia saddles, SRAM components, Arundel drink bottle holders, LOOK pedals and Challenge tires. 

Next big change is the clothing! We are now rocking Borah team wear. It is super slick, aero and compfortable, we look super slick too =). The best part, you can get your own!! http://mtborah.com/team-store/optum-pro-cycling. And ofcourse the LAZER helmets and glasses compfortable, bright, safe (what more would you want). Thanks Lauren for the beauty model shot.

Mavic shoes again! They are so compfortable (and they make you go fast).

We look pretty damn swish with our Thule luggage (the roof racks are the best on the market too)!

Not much to say about this except YUM. 

New look on the smart ACURA cars. We are so fancy. 

Cannot forget to mention our other amazing partners, that help allow this team to run.

- ProFerrin 

- LeMond trainers

- Compex machines (must have for any athlete).

- Finish Line Lubrication

- Park Tool

- teosport

- K- Edge

- Paceline products Chamois Butt'r

- Bicycling Magazine

- Stret Factory Media

- SOLVE

- Lare Format Graphics

- World Bicycle Relief

Then there are Optum and Kelly Benefit Strategies. I do not have enough words to thank these two organisations for supporting us and making our dreams come true.

http://www.optum.com/

http://www.kellybenefitstrategies.com/

It is pretty cool to be riding in a team where you are given the best products on the market. Our partners help us ride our bikes as fast as we can, and we look darn good doing it. 

On a more personal note, I get to race my bike in just over 3 weeks at Sea Otter Classic. It is soon, and I do not know how it will go, but I am super excited to race with my team mates and get into the season. Even if it is a slow start, it's a start and it will only get better from here.

On an excting note, I have recently been given an AMAZING Cycling Analysis at Revolutions in Fitness. More about that soon =) 

Thanks for reading!

C-LOWE

 

Bake Sale! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/102/Bake-Sale Fri, 14 Feb 2014 23:30:16 +1300

Home, Happy, and giving thanks. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/101/Home-Happy-and-giving-thanks-- Sat, 08 Feb 2014 22:10:25 +1300

It is now 11 days post op and I have finally arrived back home to my very own bed and to Mum and Dad! It is fantastic to be home, but at the same time I am very thankful for the amazing hospitality of David, Pamela, Haley, Caitlin and Emily Mercer. For putting up with my lazy ass for the last 2 weeks!

Yesterday I went to have my 10 day Ultrasound and meeting with the surgeon and he was very happy with how everything is looking. It is healing really well and my pain levels are almost 10000 times better than last time. So I got the all clear to fly home =) That night I got on the plane home. We were about 10 minutes until landing, the landing lollies had been given out, and then of course the pilot told us we couldn’t actually land in Tauranga because of the fog. Instead of landing in a near-by airport we re-routed the entiiiire way back to Christchurch. On the bright side, when we landed and went to pick our bags back up, the Crusaders rugby team were also there waiting! Bonus! Back to the Mercer’s I went, and then back to the airport the next morning (David and Pamela are life-savers)! I then flew to Auckland, was delayed an hour or so in Auckland, and then on the plane home! Finally!

Thanks to one of my favourite people, Cath Cath, for running around after me and keeping me company during my couch time. Your awesome!

Picnic with Cath Cath and the ducks, first proper outing =) 

Cath Cath waiting for her tea to be ready with the sand timer. 

Now I am home I can really focus on my recovery and catching up with everybody before heading back to the US! I am beginning to get restless, and eager to get outside and go for walks but have to remember that I need to simmer down and let myself heal, so that I do not cause any stress on the body!

Home <3 I think I can deal with this peaceful, forest for the next couple of weeks. 

Just want to make a massive shout out to Jaccinta and Bureta physio for all of your support over the past few months. Without this whole injury thang I may not have found out about your awesomeness, so I guess it’s all meant to be? If you are from the Bay of Plenty (or actually, anywhere in NZ) and have any issues what-so-ever I recommend these people without doubt.  http://www.buretaphysio.co.nz/

Bed time now, getting well rested for another big day of absolutely nothing tomorrow.

Ciao for now =)

C-Lowe

Recovery time http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/100/Recovery-time Fri, 31 Jan 2014 15:54:25 +1300

It is 3 days post surgery, and I am feeling good! Backing up a few days, I went into St Georges hospital on Tuesday the 28th of January for a vein patch repair of my right external iliac artery. The same surgery I had in September 2012, except on the opposite leg. Thanks to my irregularly long artery’s, a bit of genetics, and a lot of pedalling, I managed to get the same blockage but on the other side, meaning that I needed surgery to be able to carry on riding at the level that I wish to ride.

So after a fun filled week in Nelson with Emma and the Lush’s I drove back to Christchurch for another visit with Prof Justin Roake, my surgeon who thinks I am a nut case for wanting to ride my bike so much. But at the same time my life saver and a bloody awesome surgeon.

This time was a bit different, instead of being put to sleep and then wheeled into the surgery room, I had to walk into the room myself. Seeing the 8 or so other nurse people rushing around getting ready, all the instruments, the massive lights, the clean, white room with the scary looking bed in the middle of it.. I am pretty sure I passed out before the drugs started working, because it was a little bit frightening. The last thing I recall hearing is my anaesthetist telling me about the sweet deal she got on some jeans, they cost her only $30!  Two or so hours later I woke up to a bunch of faces starring at me, a massive oxygen mask on my face and someone asking if I wanted a Lemonade ice block. Thinking that was a kind of weird thing to offer I said yes, then had a bite and fell back asleep, probably why my bed sheets were so sticky afterwards!

The next day when I sore the surgeon, he said everything was successfull, he didn’t have to cut near as much of my oblique compared to last time (phew) and that I need to hang around in Christchurch for 10 days until my check-up. I also was complaining of a really sore left foot, which didn’t make much sense as nothing was touched on the left. Apparently as I was beginning to wake up I flinched rather powerfully and kicked something quite hard.. whoops.. at least it takes my mind off the right side (for like, 10 minutes).

2 hours post-op, happy as Larry. 

I am now recovering with my Christchurch family, the Mercers, who are so generous and make me feel like I am at home. Haley is a patient at the moment too, with a broken shoulder, so it is nice not being the only one! The body is feeling alright, and as long as I do not get up too much, and take things extra slowly I feel totally fine. I was able to make my own breakfast and cup of tea this morning, now I am recovering from that exhausting job and might get up in another hour or two. Maybe after P.S I love you has finished =)

Pretty flowers from a pretty awesome person. 

Thanks everyone for the kind notes and emails, to Jo, Harriet and Cath Cath for visiting me in hospital and bringing me fruit baskets and juicers, and Matt for my flowers, and ofcourse Dad for being by my side the whole time! I really appreciate the support and will keep you up to date with the progress. I already want to get back on my bike, but know this time off will not put me back much at all, I will be going stronger than ever in the second half of the season!!

C-Lowe 

Visit to Sujon and Nelson 2014 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/99/Visit-to-Sujon-and-Nelson-2014 Fri, 31 Jan 2014 15:28:37 +1300

In between my Christchurch visits I drove to Nelson (thanks to Haley letting me use her car) to stay with Emma and the Lush’s, and spent the next week getting in as many miles as possible on the bike and in the pool, as well as at the beach and to visit the SUJON HQ.

It was one of the best weeks I have had in a long time. The accommodation was AWESOME, Sue, Andrew and Emily were so welcoming and it was great spending Emma’s final week in NZ with her. We also managed to ride together more often in that week then we did in the 2 months she stayed at my place!

Post ride, meeting emma at Kaitiritiri beach, where she made me a delicious lunch. That was after the coconut water mixed with Sujon powder to replenish and get ready for a solid afternoon at the beach. 

Mapua beach, realy lively photo =P

Emma's amazing RAW granola, made with buckweat. Didn't last long!

Ride to Rabbit Island, one of many. 

Love some of the roads in Nelson, had to do this one a couple of times, just like a roller coaster (definetely as fast as one too.. or maybe not). 

Raided Emily Lush's wardrobe before the beach, then all showed up wearing floral shorts.. We were pretty cool! 

Got this photo of Mum going for a bike ride, couldn't believe my eyes, hopefully this becomes a bit more regular!!  Good to see she is wearing all the appropriate gear, including the Mavic shoes and Optum clothing. 

During my trip to Nelson, I was lucky enough to visit Sujon and meet the people behind the scenes of this incredible, NZ made Black Current powder. Including one of the directors, John Gibb, the sales and marketing manager, Michelle Manson and the National Salesman, Colin Stuart, who also showed me around the factory and supplied me with Sujon product to get me through my time in Hospital. I have been using Sujon powder for the past 2 years and absolutely love it, not only the taste, but for the benefits for absolutely... everything. I add it to my breakfast yoghurt, my recovery smoothies, when I am travelling, and even a spoonfull in some hot water on a cold day. It's so tasty! Check out http://www.sujonpowder.com for more details. Below are some photos of my visit;

Sweet new Sujon T-Shirt, one of two that have ever been made!

Colin and I, after my awesome tour of the factory. I want to work here mainly because of the sweet outfit. 

Thanks so much Sujon for your on-going support, you guys rock!

 

Ahhh Life... http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/98/Ahhh-Life Thu, 23 Jan 2014 17:59:25 +1300

Oh hey there !

Things have been a little bit slow on the blog front lately, sorry about that! Where to start…

Firstly, Nationals was a DISASTER, why I even started I am not quite sure. I guess I was in the mind-set that whatever happened before, with the leg pain, would be gone on race day. I was holding out hope that everything would go smoothly and all of my training would pay off on the day. When I race I seem to go into a different person, and things that normally hold me back are not to be seen. Unfortunately this was not the case. I went up the 1.3km beast, feeling comfortable for the first half, then the last maybe 300 metres the leg decides to pack in, as it usually does (or as the articles keep saying, I had foot cramp!?!?). I struggled my way back to the bunch, riding one-legged, then once the hill came around again I just could not put out enough power in the leg to make it. Pulling out of races is not something I enjoy doing, what-so-ever, especially one I had trained so hard for and care so much about. Although one thing it did make me realise is that I needed to me realistic about what was going on with my leg, and the voice that I have been trying to hide for the past 4 months, that it may be the same artery issue I had on the left leg, happening now on the right, became a lot louder! Time to get it sorted

Once returning back to Tauranga I went to see my Sport doctor Judith May, she was adamant it was a vascular issue, so the next day I had my flights booked back to Christchurch to get the proper Doppler tests done that I got 2 years ago. These tests confirmed that my right Iliac artery is kinking while under pressure on the bike, stopping about 50% of my blood flow to that leg. While I had a meeting with Prof Justin Roake, my surgeon from 2012, we went through the same conversation as previous years, but this time he tried less as hard to talk me out of the surgery, as he knew there is no way I am giving up cycling for an inconvenient artery. So we booked surgery straight away, January the 28th! Basically, if I didn’t have the surgery I would be fine, I just wouldn’t be able to race my bike anymore. Surgery comes with its risks, especially when they are dealing with arteries and veins, but I would never regret making this decision, ever, so I said yes without question.  

So, what have I learnt out of this experience (for the second time) LISTEN TO YOUR COACH. Andy told me he thought it could be vascular right at the start when I was beginning to get similar symptoms. I of course told him, “don’t be silly, it’s a different pain, it will come right soon”. Four months later (day of Nationals)… “Hey Andy, I think I have the vascular issue again, probably should of listened to you at the start”.

I had my tests done on Thursday last week, since then I have been spending time in one of my favourite training places (and beaching places) in the World, Nelson! My second sister and very close friend Emma Grant is staying here with close family friends, so I basically invited myself and rocked on up. I have been having an awesome time, spending most of the day riding my bike and building up the base miles, so that I come out of surgery with some good fitness. Sue and Andrew (Emma’s second family) have been so inviting and generous and I really do not want to leave! We have also been having some very important Vitamin D days at the beach. I head back to Christchurch on Sunday to my second family, the Mercers, and then head into the hospital on Tuesday for round 2 of Iliac artery surgery. The joys of being a bike rider!

Always knows how to put me in a good mood! Love ya Emma =)

A spot of yoga in Mapua?

When I first realised I was going to have to go through the same ordeal I was pretty upset, the whole thing scares me. Why have I been given these extra long arteries that like to kink? Why can’t I just ride my bike without everything going wrong! Then Mum said something that bought me back to earth. No-body died, I don’t have a life-threatening disease, I just have yet another speed bump that is going to make me stronger. It did last time, so why won’t it this time? Then I read an article on a fellow US racer, Jackie Crowell, which just made me mad for every feeling sorry for myself. She is fighting for her life, I am just fighting to race my bike, it’s really not a big problem. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/crowell-sidelined-by-cancer-diagnosis  This lady is an inspiration, and a really fast bike racer!!

I am now getting ready for the surgery, then I am going to start my recovery race (as Gordy puts it), and get my ass to the US later on in the month so I can start my season hopefully in the next 3 or so months.

Thank you so much everyone for your support over the last few months.

  • Matt, for going to the US to study and stay with me, while I am stuck in NZ.
  • Andy, you always know best and are the best coach someone could ever ask for.
  • Buretta Physio, you guys absolutely rock!! The time, work and generosity of everyone has been over-whelming and I cannot thank you enough.
  • Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies, no words to describe how much I appreciate you guys hanging in there with me and being so supportive with everything!! Thank you so much!!
  • Shane and Sandi from Body Mechanics.
  • Richard Bates.
  • CCC for your on-going support.
  • Carrus for always being there.
  • And most importantly, Mum and Dad, for hanging in there with me and supporting me with what-ever decision I make.

On another note, I have some fantastic news! Little Bird Organics (http://littlebirdorganics.co.nz/) my all time favourite snack food, which, may I add, is RAW AND ORGANIC, are sponsoring me product for the 2014 year. More to come in the next few days on this exciting new partnership =)

Thank you for reading, and I will keep you up to date post op on how everything is going. I would also like to finish this by saying a massive Congrats to Jaime Nielsen and Rushlee Buchanan on your National wins. Both these girls are from the Waikato and coached by Andy Reid. They are the nicest, most down to earth people you can meet and couldn’t be happier for them (and of course Andy) to represent the NZ fern this year. I know they will do an amazing job!

Thanks, and I will stay in touch =)

Courteney Lowe

Body Mechanics PT Studio http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/97/Body-Mechanics-PT-Studio Sun, 15 Dec 2013 22:31:37 +1300

There has been improvement!! Mostly.. It is now close to 2 months after my 'yet to be named' injury appeared and I think I am getting on top of it. Unfortunately I have had to cut out some of my favourite things (cross-fit and running) but if that's the only sacrifice I have to make then I will do it. I am getting regular dry needling from Kate and Jaccinta from Buretta physio, which is.. a.. well.. 'unique' feeling (as Kate puts is). I am now working with Shane Kaio who works alongside his wife, Sandi Kaio at Body Mechanics Studio at the Mount http://bodymechanics.co/. Shane and Sandi run an incredibly succesful and professional Personal Training business. Shane takes me for my gym workout twice a week, he gives me my gym routine, makes sure I am doing it correctly and then motivates the crap out of me when I am on the edge of falling apart. Sandi and Shane are so knowledgeable in what they do, and are also both fantastic  athletes themselves. Shane is a cyclist who knows exactly what exercises I need to do to help benefit my riding. He even has marks on the leg press that are in the exact same width apart as the pedals on the bike... it's awesome. 

Thank you so much Sandi and Shane for sharing your knowledge and helping me build back up to strength =) 

Giving Shane and Sandi's Wattbike a go... probably laughing about the attrocious power I am putting out. 

I now have a visitor staying for awhile! One of my closest friends and team mates from last year, Emma Grant who has come from England for some warmer training weather and Summer racing. Unfortunately she had a bit of a rocky start, deciding to pull her pedal off while doing standing starts and doing a super-man slash rolly-polly in the air. Coming away with a few stitches in the hand and general cuts and bruises. Since then we have both managed to stay on our bikes and been doing some very important training/beach/baking time. 

Ooops

It's amazing the places you find when you have visitors..Top of the Kaimais overlooking the Waikato. I believe Emma referred to this as the 'pooing thumbs up pose'.

 

Specially delivered RAW cake delivered by Anneke, made with Sujon powder mmmm.. 

I am now training for Nationals, getting on top of anything that decides to be a pain in the ass (injuries) and making the most of being home with friends and family before I head back overseas in mid Jan. It is coming quick and I am running out of time for what feels like everything. 

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, eat lots of delicious Christmasy goodness and are able to put your feet up!

Thanks for reading,

Courteney

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/96/Dont-Sweat-The-Small-Stuff Tue, 05 Nov 2013 22:57:01 +1300

When I was about 8 years old I was given a book from my uncle, called ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff’. To put it bluntly, I could be a real shit as a kid. If anything went wrong, or I didn’t get my way I would get grumpy, storm into my bedroom and slam the door. 14 years later and I have progressed (I think). I no longer sit in the tree and cry in anger because Dad won’t lift me down (for the 10th time), I no longer sulk when people don’t want to play board games with me (mostly, sorry Matt), and I think (think) I have learnt to deal with the fact my Dad can STILL beat me on a bike.

The one thing I have learnt, and am definitely still learning, is how to deal with set-backs and injuries on my bike. When I first started racing I felt fantastic, I never got injured. It didn’t matter how often I fell off my bike, I would wipe myself off, plaster up and be good to go. In 2011 I was faced with, what felt like, one of the most aggravating ‘injuries’ I have, and hopefully will, ever deal with. There were moments of yelling, crying, sleepless nights and occasional bike throwing. But the one thing I did learn is that feeling sorry for myself, blaming Dad for MY issues and getting angry does not fix anything. It just takes time away from fixing the problem (and makes you look like a bit of a dick).

I am now facing another injury that was caused by me and only me. It is something that will be fixed soon as long as I REST and listen to the people who know best, my Physio and Coach. It’s aggravating and as much as I would love to say I have stayed completely calm and not let it get me down, I have not. There has been anger, tears and frustration but I am (mostly) staying Calm and getting through it day by day. I am very thankful for Andy putting up with me and the incredible help from Pip, Mark and my new found miracle, Jacinta Horan for helping fix me.

When I think about the opportunities I have been given, and the fact I get to do what I love for my job is the reason I am learning to deal with things like this. I have so much longer to go in my Cycling Career, I WILL get to the top and I WILL work as hard as I can to get there.

Now back to the book. I am not going to lie to you, I never got past the front page. I actually sulked when I was given it because of the fact my uncle thought I needed it. I think I am past this now and will have to have a search in the book shelf and give it a read. Because although right now this feels like the biggest issue in the World, it really isn’t at all. It’s a small issue, it isn’t life threatening, it isn’t unfixable; it’s just something that is going to make me stronger.. Aaaaannnnnyyyyy time now.

This picture just about sums up my (and probably most athletes) journey. Found it to be quite appropriate.

It’s always a pain to get injured, but I believe everything happens for a reason. In this case I have been introduced to an incredible physio who has been working about 2kms from my house and I have only just found out about her. Jacinta Horan from Bureta Physio. She is awesome, professional, and tough. Can’t wait to work with her and get not only my small issue at the moment fixed but all my other ‘not so perfect’ areas perfected.   

Anyway, enough of this mushy stuff. I am now having another week of ‘get better’ riding, physio appointments and massages and will be rearing to go again in no time at all. After all, it is only November. This time last year I was only just getting back on my bike after surgery. So I have a bit of a head start this time round.

Thanks for reading and I will let you know how things progress over the next week or so!

C-Lowe

CrossFit! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/95/CrossFit Thu, 03 Oct 2013 21:52:11 +1300

CrossFit Time!

Since I have been home I have had about a month off my bike, and exercise in general. In this time I have been able to fix my foot and get over a 48 hour bug (I will not go into details, but lets just say I spent quality time with the toilet). Ofcourse it was also important to freshen up after a long, hard season. I am now back into it, attempting to keep up with Dad and get back into kicking my own ass at CrossFit.

 

What NOT to do in the off-season. Baking Cupcake burgers and apple filled muffins. Below is best, kayaking and pizza made of Cauliflower!! Yes, Cauliflower! (And it even tasted good)!

started CrossFit as part of my 'off-season' strength program after surgery last year. The main reason was because I wanted to try something different. Usually I would go to the gym, but with that comes the waiting around for the equipment you want to use, getting the odd stuck up look from the med who do not appreciate me being in 'their' area and i just cannot handle doing a workout' without getting my heart rate up. It just feels like I havnt done anything. So I showed up to Mount CrossFit, with no idea what I had in store. One week later I was totally hooked, it was like everything I would usually do at the gym, except harder, faster, and you constantly have the awesome instructors watching you, checking the technique is correct and motivating you like you are on your way to winning an Olympic title. 

About to head out on a 400metre sprint (X5) in the rain, still had fun? 

The goal of CrossFit is to become 'functionally fit'. It is not only weight training but it also incorporates gymnastic type exercise and aerobics. Each day we start off with a warm up, then get into the strength/skill part (this can be anything from power cleans to plain old squats, to pull ups). We are either going for heavy (1RM or 5RM max) or speed (as many as possible for a given time). Then we go into the WOD (workout of the day). This is the best part, where you go "balls to the wall" (as JT puts it) for whatever work out you have been given. An example of this could include going out for an 800m sprint, coming back to do 20 wall balls, 20 pull ups, 20 dead lifts, 20 Hand stand push ups, 20 kettle ball swings and finish off with a lovely 800 metre row. Then is the pass out on the floor in exhaustion stage. The best part is you can do it as fast or as slow as you want, with any weight that you are compfortable with. You are there to push yourself against yourself, if you want to RX it and do the weights that are recommended then that is an awesome achievement, but that does not happen very often (for me, I do not think I have RX'd a WOD yet, but I will one day). 

The only issue with some CrossFit boxes is that the instructors are not experienced enough to run classes. However with the Mount/Tauranga CrossFit the teachers are all experienced, they compete in CrossFit at an International level and know absolutely everything you need to know about it. Before getting into the CrossFit classes I was made to do an 'on-ramp' course. Here I was taught all of the exercises, how to do them with the correct technique and to basically get introduced to exactly what CrossFit has to offer. I cannot believe how fit you can get from doing this, and fast. Also, the absolute addiction, it may hurt but it is a different type of pain, its an awesome pain. You leave just wanting to come back and you also meet some really awesome people. The best part is ANYBODY can go. There are people who do CrossFit as a sport, so they are super strong and destroy the weights, then there are people who have not exercised for a long time, are unfit and ready to do something about it. 

So, the instructors are awesome, motivtional and know what they are talking about. The other CrossFitters are welcoming and friendly. The exercise is some of the best yet and its rediculously addictive. There are two boxes, the Mount and Tauranga and the times on offer are great for people with jobs.  So if your down to try something new and see what you think about it I recommend signing up for the on-ramp course ASAP.. Come and support these guys and start getting fit... FAST. 

http://crossfittauranga.com/

http://mountcrossfit.com/

(P.S They didnt even ask me to do any of this, I just love it so much I feel bad for everyone who is missing out on such an awesome sport).

I have just signed up for the K1 Elite Womens race at the start of November. I am not sure why, but I thought I may as well do a race that is close to home, on the best terrain in NZ and support such a well run event. How I am going to go is another question, I should start riding some hills in the near future!

Thanks for reading!

Courteney =)

 

Home time, new website! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/94/Home-time-new-website Mon, 16 Sep 2013 22:40:08 +1200

Hello, welcome to my new website! I decided to upgrade from the blogspot and do something a little more 'professional'. Thank you so much Brad for building me this awesome new page. If you like what you see and want to make or upgrade your website visit https://www.inspyre.co.nz/ (he's the best, I promise).

So, about me, I am home and have been for about a month now. My season finished with the Tour of Elk Grove (just outside of Chicago). It was a great race, my form had come around and I felt great. The team rode awesome and Joelle finished 2nd overall (winning the 2nd stage). I then returned to Bend, spent a week climbing mountains, riding the beautiful roads with Serena and Amanda, drinking coffee and getting a sweet new bike fit (and fixing my foot, which I damaged from running down too many mountains) from Jay Dicharry http://www.reboundoregon.com/staff-members/jay-dicharry/. I then packed my bags and flew home to NZ. It was pretty sad to leave, I had such an amazing time in America this year, rooming with one of my closest friends and team mates Jade Wilcoxson http://jadewilcoxson.com/, meeting some awesome people and just having an all round amazing time, with an amazing team. But I was also really looking forward to returning home, seeing my family , Matt and friends. 

Pre-foot hurting (don't run down a mountain after not running for about 6 months). At 11000 Feet! (P.s, this is the middle of Summer in Bend, about 35-40 degrees celcius, and I am sitting in snow... go figure). 

Last ride with one amazing person, going to miss you Serena!

One of my favourite photos with one of my favourite people. Jade and I at training camp at the start of the year!

Here is a short video I made, just a brief photo gallery/video of the 2013 season, and how fantastic my team is and the friends I have made. 

 

I have just finished a 3 week forced break (end of season break, but also getting over my wee foot injury). I am so excited to get back into training. Turns out while I was away this season my Dad has been training extra hard, he was fit, now he is REALLY fit. So my first days back Into training have been PAINFUL. I cannot wait to get some speed up again and actually be able to keep up with him on the hills without going into a border-line heart attack and seeing stars (don't tell Andy, these supposed to be my easy rides). 

Now I am on a mission, a mission to make the team for the 2014 Commonwealth games with the help of my number one training partner (Dad), my amazing coach (Andy Reid), my bike guy (Richard Bates), Tauranga Cycling Club, BikeNZ (Mark Hollands and Christina Jacklin), Crtical Cargo Care and CrossFit Tauranga. I will also try to do some of the races in NZ depending on how the training is going. 

Thanks for reading and visiting my new site, I say this all the time, but I will try to keep this one up to date, let you know how training is going and what racing is coming up. 

=) Courteney

Long time no talk! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/53/Long-time-no-talk Mon, 27 May 2013 22:07:00 +1200

Well hello there. I would like to apologise for my lack of updates since Redlands, I have no excuses as to why I have been so useless just that my brain has been else-where for the past month or so and everything has been go-go-go. Ever since Redlands I have been on the road, completing 7 Criteriums and 2 stage races all over the US. I have had an amazing time, our team has been riding awesome and my form is coming around. Below is a very brief description on what I have been up to;

Charlotte Criterium, Charlotte, NC.

-          - Ouch. This was a fast, aggressive race. There is a lot of money on the line so people risk everything for the win. Finished with a bunch sprint, 4th and 5th.

-          - Next day we did another Criterium in charlotte. The team rode the front for a large quantity of the race, until Jade got away with Crowell (Exergy). Jade finished 2nd. We had an awesome race, may not have got the win but we rode like a team supposed to ride, it was awesome.

Joe Martin Stage Race, Fayetteville, AR.

-          Stage 1 TT =  Ouch.

-          Stage 2 RR – Aggressive and fast for the first half. There was a long 15ish km climb and I got into about 4 breaks, none stuck, the team rode great but we couldn’t get a breakaway. Finished with a sprint and Joelle got 2nd!

-          Stage 3 RR – Fantastic race, team rode to perfection. Amber got in a break with one other rider for half the race, caught with 10kms to go and Joelle wins the sprint finish. Awesome team effort.

-          Stage 4 Crit – More ouch!!! Bunch split to pieces on the first lap, Joelle 3rdin a very long hard sprint. She rode like a superstar!

Gila, Silver City New Mexico (7000 feet above see level.. ouch).

-          Stage 1 RR- Not much happened at the start, occasional attacking and little breaks. Biggest highlight would be my wheel change and my shoe break after a rider decided to ride her front wheel into me. Bunch together at the base of the 15km pain hill. Was a grovel, I rode it with Brie and we pushed each other up. Happy to get to the top! Thanks to two of the top climbers in the World, Claudia and Mara for making it so damn painful!

-          Stage 2 RR- Denise and I did some early attacks and chasing which helped our legs suffer for the rest. Jade and Lauren rode awesome while Joelle came off on the downhill =(. Janel did ok too, soloing off the front and doing a time trial for about half the race. SHE WON!! Beating some of the World’s best and showing everyone how it’s done.

-          Stage 3 TT – Janel, after doing a 60 odd km TT the day before, finished 2ndto Alison Powers, by only 10 seconds!!! My aim for this was to finish in the time cut and save my legs for the following days so I could have something left to help the team as much as possible. It went well and I was nice and comfortable =)

-          Stage 4 Crit - The team rode great, Joelle did a fantastic lead-out for Lauren who won! And Joelle hung on for 2nd. Awesome!

-          Stage 5 RR – Last day, legs tired. We protected Janel and Jade as much as we could by chasing every break that went off the front, (Joelle staying away in a small break) and delivering them to the base of the hill well rested and ready to rip legs off. Janel finished 3rd, racing two of the World’s BEST hill climbers up one painful climb!

 

Tour De Grove, St Louis, Missouri.

-          Crit #1 ; starting at 8 :30 pm, in the dark. It was fast from the start. Optum P/B KBS rode awesome making the race exciting. I got off solo, then Annie went off solo, then Amber went off.. etc. Unfortunately Annie had a terrible crash half way through. She hit the barrier and it came over top, breaking her Scapula in the process. She is so tough, and is now home in Canada on her way to recovery. The race was re-started after about 20 minutes. Knowing your team mate and close friend is in a really bad way was not good for me mentally so I wasn’t really in it for the rest of the race. I just wanted to ride off the front, so I did, but got caught and it was a sprint finish. Leah 4th.

-          Crit #2 ; Super aggressive race. The team attacked like crazy, it was hard and fast. Having only 3 riders was hard, the larger teams took advantage of their numbers and made us hurt. Unfortunately nothing stuck and came to a sprint again with Leah in 5th.

 

-          Crit #3 ; Fun day! Again attacking, attacking, attacking. This time something stuck! Leah got in the break with 4 others and they drilled it at the front. All I had to do was chase attacks from the main field to try and keep it together. Leah sprinted to an impressive 2nd place to Theresa Cliff-Ryan. Last lap someone came down in front of me. I had to jump her bike and unfortunately got gaped from what was left of the small bunch. I got back on but had nothing left to contest the sprint, which did not really matter as it was for 5thor 6th place.

Wilmington Grand Prix, Wilmington.

-          Only a small Optum team in this one, which made it hard. Amber and I rode an aggressive race, we are not sprinters so we wanted a break. I got in an early break which stayed away for quite a few laps. We were caught and the attacks started up again. Unfortunately one of my attacks was countered by a Colavita rider forming a break. The rest of the race Amber and I tried everything we could to bridge the gap. Felt like we had big signs on our backs telling everyone to please chase EVERYTHING we do. It was hard, and we gave it everything but couldn’t catch unfortunately. We made it fun and hard though, dropping about half the field in the first half of the race with our continuous attacks. So it wasn’t all bad. Fearless Femme rode awesome and took the win.

Kelly Cup, Baltimore, MD.

-          A smaller field on a cool course around a park in Baltimore. Once again, Amber and I attacked like crazy women making it almost one of the hardest races I have done. It was a 22 lap course and we would have attacked at least once every lap. Once again we were covered like crazy. Amber went to lead me out at the end and then she got a gap coming into the final 400 metres, she kept drilling it but got caught on the line, finishing in 2nd place with me in 3rd. Congrats to Amy Cutler for a very impressive sprint finish!!

I am now in Bend, Oregon where I will be based for the rest of the season. I found a house to rent with my team mate Jade Wilcoxson in one of my favourite towns in America. It has incredible views of the mountains, a really cute little town and the most important part REALLY GOOD COFFEE. The best part is is that I have been here for a week now and have not seen ONE Starbucks. It means it’s a good town when there is not a Starbucks on every corner!! On my drive over from Medford It started snowing on me so I had to stop to take some photos. I haven’t been in the snow like this since I was about 5 years old so I was pretty excited about it! I even got to ride in it on my second ride here. Bend is at about 4000 feet altitude so the weather conditions change rapidly. The last week has been cold, but from the start of June the temperature supposed to get pretty high, up to around 30 degrees, that will be a nice change, but the views of the snowy mountains are pretty spectacular.

I am not sure of my next race yet, so just doing some training on the beautiful Country roads of Bend, and meeting some cool new people.

So far the season has been awesome and I am really looking forward to the next race with the team. It’s been a week and I miss everyone like crazy already!!

Thanks for reading and once again I apologise for my lack of contact. Things are a lot more settled having a base and now I can get things ticked off the list =)

 

Courteney

 

Kelly Benefit Strategies and the American Diabetes Association meet and greet. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/54/Kelly-Benefit-Strategies-and-the-American-Diabetes-Association-meet-and-greet- Sun, 14 Apr 2013 21:59:00 +1200

This past week Janel, Rachel, Mike Sherer, Ian Moir and myself flew to Baltimore to visit Kelly Benefit Strategies and to learn about the American Diabetes Association.

 

 

Kelly Benefit Strategies (KBS) is one of Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies title sponsors, and is one of the top Insurance Consultants in the Country. (http://www.kellybenefitstrategies.com/). KBS also supports the American Diabetes Association which includes the sponsorship of a huge Nation-wide cycling event called the ‘Tour De Cure’.

 

John Kelly and myself talking before the start of the ride. John is one of the main reasons this team exists and not only does he support ADA he also helps to raise funds and awareness for World Bicycle Relief (http://worldbicyclerelief.org/).

 

The Tour De Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 States Nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Nearly 26 million Americans are diagnosed with Diabetes so the mission of the ADA is to ‘prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected’. KBS Sponsors two of the Maryland Tour De Cure events (Cooksville, MD and Easton, MD).

 

John Kelly, the President and Senior Consultant at KBS and the Diabetes Association organised a fantastic event which the five of us were lucky enough to attend. John took us for a ride around the beautiful Country roads of Baltimore where we met some of the KBS staff and cyclists as well as ADA supporters, including the Executive director of the Maryland Diabetes Association, Kathy Rogers. Everybody was so lovely and the ride went really well thanks to John’s perfect organisation. We were then greeted after the ride to a delicious BBQ dinner, some refreshments and music as well as learning about the Tour De Cure and what the ADA do to help prevent and support Diabetes within America.

 

Thank you John and Kathy and everybody else who was part of this event, I was so fortunate to have been able to spend the afternoon with such inspiring people.

 

JK introducing Ian, Janel, Mike and myself. 

The five of us before we headed off for one beautiful ride!
Thank you Umbrella Syndicate for all of the photos taken on the day; http://theumbrellasyndicate.com/

 

If you want to learn more about Tour De Cure or if you are interested in donating the website is; http://tour.diabetes.org

San Dimas 2013 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/55/San-Dimas-2013 Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:50:00 +1300

Update time! I am back in the US of A and loving it. Once arriving in LA I was picked up by my team mate Amber Gaffney and her partner Jacob and was spoilt rotten! Not only had she come all the way out to LA to pick me up, she had gone via my favourite super market (Trader Joes) and picked me up my favourite American treat for the car trip. Once arriving at her house she made me an incredibly delicious sandwich and then went for her second ride of the day so she could show me where I could ride.. That is what I call one pretty awesome team mate! I then spent the next week training with Amber and getting to know the area.

 

First race for the season was the San Dimas Stage race which consists of a 4 mile uphill time trial, a 50 mile road race and then finishes off with a 60 minute Criterium around the streets of San Dimas. We had a small team of 5 rider, Leah, Brie, Amber, Lauren and myself as well as Michael, Rachel and Jeremy (Mechanic, Director/organiser/planner/do everything-er and the swanee).

 

Leah and I stayed with Susie and Dennis, a lovely couple who looked after us incredibly well during the few days of racing. They were both very accomplished sports people so we had some good conversations. The morning of the time trial Leah and I got up leisurely to have breakfast. By the time we left for the race Susie had gone for a run, walked the dog and was about to head out the door for a ride to watch us race. Once returning from her ride she then went for another walk.. an incredibly fit lady!! I felt so lazy after just doing a little time trial then riding home.

 

The weekend was a great success for the team. There were close to 80 strong starters in the race, so we certainly had our work cut out for us! Brie rode to a very impressive 4th place in the time trial with Lauren, Leah and Amber not far behind. I finished somewhere in the 20’s. I was pretty disappointed with my result as I felt great and had a great lead-up but not to fear I will be there soon, just need to get some racing under my belt to wake the legs up again!

 

The Road Race was pretty action-packed with a nasty crash happening near the start and the race leader Mara Abbott came down. So for the next lap we neutralised the race until she rejoined us and then the race was on! My job was to go for the Queen of the Mountains, I won the first one, got 2nd in the 2ndand then 3rd in the final time.. Unfortunately that put me in 1stequal with Lex Albrecht and in the UCI rules the winner is determined by whoever is sitting highest on GC, which in this case was Lex… Dammit!! So I didn’t get the polka dot jersey for this one.. Next time =)

 

Amber and I attempted a couple of lead-outs for Leah and Lauren for the mid-race sprints, and they both did awesome, Leah got the first and then Brie (who also did the leading out) got another one. Kathryn Donavon from NOW got away solo on the 5thlap and rode strongly up the road for about 3 laps, with 1 lap to go Amber and I went to the front and set the pace as no-one else seemed very interested in catching Katy. Once we had about 5kms to go Amber drilled it on the front while I totally blew up! Going up the last climb (so with around 5 kms to go) Brie set the pace, ,and then kept setting it, and just kept going.. then won the sprint!!! She is like a pocket rocket that just keeps going!!! So we finished the stage with a stage victory, the sprint jersey (Brie), a place up in the GC standings (now sitting in 3rd) and a first equal for QOM (Dang). Successful day all round!!

 

The final day was a Criterium, and boy was it on from the start. We averaged about 42kmh for an hour.. it was hard! And I was hurting! Long story short Brie finished 2ndin the stage thanks to a great lead-out from Amber, Lauren and Leah.

 

San Dimas was a great first race of the season. I personally am not at where I want to be but know it is the first race of the season and speed will come fast! I have the strength and endurance, now I just need that speed. I am so stoked to be riding with such a great team again this year, we all gel so well and get along.. its going to be a great season =)

 

Me going for the QOM points at SDSR.

 


                          One happy team after Bries win in the Road Race. Very well deserved!!

                          Both photos copyright of Danny Munson, Cyclingillustrated.com

 

Now I am off to San Diego with one of my closest friends Emma Grant. I have not seen her since August last year and cannot wait to spend the week hanging out and riding my bike. Then I am headed to Redlands for a 4 stage race. Fun times ahead, will keep you all posted.

 

Thanks for reading =)

 

Courteney

Critical Cargo Care http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/56/Critical-Cargo-Care Fri, 08 Mar 2013 23:56:00 +1300

I am really excited to announce a new personal sponsor who has so generously decided to help me (along with Craigs Investment Partners) to get through my 2013  racing year.

Russell and Sharon Jackman, along with their son Daniel Jackman run a fascinating business called Critical Cargo Care. Sharon and Russell wanted to help  financially support a young Athlete who had set their heart on the Olympics as a goal,  and thanks to Greg and Richard from Tauranga Cycling Club, I was the one they chose to help support.

 

I was given the opportunity to visit their business a few days ago and see what happens and how it all works. I have come home absolutely astounded by what I have seen, and how little I take into account what goes on behind the scene at the Port of Tauranga.

 

After meeting with Russell I got taken into the office and introduced to some of the awesome team at CCC. Some young, down to earth men who were extremely interested in what I do. I was then shown what they do, and my job seemed A LOT easier.

 

What Critical Cargo Care does is they take care of all the Ports refrigerated cargo. From food products such as meat or fruit, to plants - it’s a lot of containers, and a lot of pressure to get it right! Some of the containers have up to 1 million dollars of product in just the one container!!

The shipper provides CCC with information on what temperature the container must be at. Once the container arrives they are connected and set up to the shippers’ requirements and are then constantly monitored throughout the stay at the Port. Once it is time to go CCC will know when the containers are able to be unplugged before heading onto a ship, train or truck for the next stop.

 

I was given the opportunity to go in one of the massive forklifts/moving thing on wheels (no idea what it was called, but it was huge! And I had to climb a big ladder to get to the top). Then I went along with one of CCC’s normal days of work where we picked up containers, then dropped them onto the back of a truck, or picked it up from the truck. I could not believe how someone in this tiny box on the side of this MASSIVE crane was able to drop the container right between the lines or into the perfect spot on the truck. It was very impressive and a pretty cool experience!

 

I am so excited about the new relationship with CCC and cannot thank them enough for their support. I also now have a new found respect for how much it takes to get things like apples or international fruits like mangos onto the supermarket shelf. It doesn’t just appear, it involves a huge process and hard work to get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Above are some photos of my trip, on the top are the crazy cool cranes on wheels that I sat on (yup, I climbed all the way up there, on a ladder!), then on the right is the tiny little glass-type box that the driver and I sat in. In the middle is taking a container off the truck and at the bottom is our awesome work, a loaded truck!

Thanks Russell, Sharon, Daniel and the awesome staff from CCC, you are helping make my 2013 year a successful one and keep me on my road to Rio =)

 

 

New Year, New legs, New beginning! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/57/New-Year-New-legs-New-beginning Wed, 02 Jan 2013 00:48:00 +1300

So its 2013 all ready! I cannot believe how fast 2012 went, and how incredible it was. But I have so much more to come for 2013, and I cannot wait!

It is close to 3 months since my surgery and everything is getting back to normal, the regular training routine, and now my first race since America and since surgery. Rather than coming back slowly, I thought I would jump straight into it and do one of my biggest races of the season; Elite Nationals. I think I’m nuts… I probably am. But the starting list was the best I have seen in a long time with the likes of Linda Villumsen, Rushlee Buchanan and Jo Kiesanowski. To be able to race with NZ’s best and see where I am at after my recovery there is no better race then Elites. So I am entered, and leave for Christchurch next Thursday with the race being on the 12th of January. I may do great, I may also do terribly.. but I will never know unless I try. So I am excited/nervous to see what happens.

 

I also have some very exciting news. I have been invited back to my dream team; Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies for 2013 (http://www.optumprocycling.com/). The fact that they have stuck with me and given me another chance after my very on and off year is overwhelming and I am not sure how to thank Rachel and the team enough. With some help from Craigs Investment Partners I leave at the start of February for training camp in LA. It’s going to be another awesome year, only this time I can race with two legs, no excuses, just a whole lot of pain!! It’s going to be epic.  

 

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and New Year, ate lots, had some time off and relaxed. Now to start a new year.. it’s going to be a good one! 

 

Happy New Year!

 

Courteney

Back on Track http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/58/Back-on-Track Mon, 22 Oct 2012 19:36:00 +1300

Today is exactly 6 weeks after surgery, and I am feeling FANTASTIC!

It has been a very long month, I have felt lazy, bored, grumpy and have driven my family crazy. But that has (almost) come to an end; me and my bike have FINALLY been reunited.

 

The past month I have been working with Mark Hollands, he has been incredible and has given me little exercises to build my strength back up and get back out on the road. Every day I have felt stronger and more excited. Now 6 weeks on I feel like I am back to normal, the scars are healing and the leg is feeling good. It has been a slow process, and as irritating as it has been to be forced to sit down and recover I have understood the importance of letting the body heal. The surgery couldn’t have come at a better time, I was urged to have a month off even if surgery wasn’t on the cards and I know if I was able to ride, that would not have happened. So this forced rest was perfect! The amount of recovery time for this was short too, compared to something like breaking a bone. So positives all round!

 

I have been riding every second day for the past 2 weeks; it started off with 15 minutes on the rollers and is now up to 90 minutes on the road. I am feeling great, and cannot wait to start racing Dad again! (He has been doing a lot of secret training during my time off, so I have a bit of catching up to do).

 

Ever since the surgery I have been getting emails from people all over the world with this same issue, asking for advice and reassurance.  The surgeons say it is an extremely rare case, but around the cycling circle it seems very common. 

 

Will stay in touch =)

 

Courteney

Well over-due update ! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/59/Well-over-due-update- Wed, 12 Sep 2012 02:58:00 +1200

I have been home from America for almost 2 weeks now after spending the past 7 months with some awesome people and have had a ball. Racing the top races throughout America with the top team, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies. The amount I have learnt and experienced, the friends I have made and the people I have met has been incredible.

I am now home and getting fixed. The past year I have been having major issues with my left leg. It started off with the occasional leg pain and power loss when doing some efforts, and then it seemed to get worse to the point of having to pull out of races because I had absolutely no power coming from my left leg. Pulling out of races is not something I enjoy doing, especially when you have team mates to look after. After seeing a handful of chiropractors, physios and neurologists I finally got tested for iliac endofribosis. I was told about this at the start of the year, but typical me disagreed and tried to find any other possible cause. By the end of the season I was at the point where I needed to know what it was, and fast, because I couldn’t handle not being able to ride to my potential. So I changed my flights and came home via Christchurch to get a Doppler, ultrasound and MRI from Prof Justin Roake, a well-know surgeon who has fixed this issue with a couple other cyclists from NZ. The results came out that my ABPI had dropped 0.6 on my left leg with no significant abnormality on the right side. This basically means when I do hard efforts my left external iliac artery narrows and I do not get enough blood flow to the leg, which causes the pain and power loss.. pretty annoying when my job is to ride my bike as fast as I can!


Anyway, fast forward 11 days and I am counting down from 30 in St Georges hospital in Chrsitchurch, next minute… asleep! I had decided to get a vein patch repair of the left external iliac artery. Which is where they take the vein from my ankle on my left leg and put it in the artery on my hip.. easy right!? It was a big call to make. I basically had two choices, one was to not get the surgery, carry on living life but I wouldn’t be able to race my bike.. YEA RIGHT. Next option was to get the surgery, live with the risks but be able to race my bike and reach my goals. So I took that one.

 

So here I am, lying in the hospital the day after the surgery, feeling back to life and rearing to go. The surgery was a success (phew) and was over in a couple of hours. It is all a bit of a blur thanks to the much needed drugs. I had a couple of goes of getting up this morning but only made the sitting up bit before quickly lying back down. But as the day has gone on I’ve got my colour back and mum has been taking me for walks around the ward. I am now only on panadol and can get up pretty much by myself. Tomorrow will be even better!

Just received some goodies from a good friend and team-mate Emma Grant (from England).. made my day!

It is now rest and recover time, which is perfect timing as it is now my off-season so I should be having a month off anyhow. After 4-5 weeks I can get back on my bike and start getting ready for next season. I have never been this motivated to get going again. This whole thing has been a pain in the arse, but at the end of the day it only makes me stronger.

 

Thanks so much for everyones support. Cath, Josh, Mike and Hayden, thanks for re-assuring me about the whole thing and teaching me everything I need to know about what lies ahead, Andy for your incredible patience throughout the year, Haley for the accommodation and running around after me and my team Optum P/B KBS for being so supportive. Last but not least my family for understanding my reasons for going ahead and supporting me the whole way. Thanks again and will keep you updated on the recovery process!

 

Courteney

Nature Valley Grand Prix http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/60/Nature-Valley-Grand-Prix Sat, 23 Jun 2012 19:46:00 +1200

Nature Valley Grand Prix is a 6 stage race in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is also where many of our sponsers are based including Optum, HED and Lazer. Throughout the week we all got to meet many of the people behind the team and try out some awesome new Magneto Lazer glasses! Optum and HED threw some pretty sweet party’s too.

Stage 1 was a 12km, no aero equipment, time trial. It was hard! Everyone totally killed it with 4 Optum riders in the top 10 and Carmen taking the top of the podium to beat one of the world’s fastest time trialists Amber Neban! That put Carmen in the yellow jersey. The strangest thing was that there was also a Queen of the mountains in the time trial (which I found out afterwards). They timed from the bottom of one of the hills in the to the top and Jade got the fastest time!! That put Jade in the mountains jersey. Great start to the race!

 

                                       Warming up before the time trial.

Stage 2 was the St Paul downtime criterium. With 100 odd riders and a course that is fast with lots of corners, I learnt that it is CRUCIAL to start at or close to the front. So when you start near the back and cannot get your foot in, your race is almost over before it even starts. For the remainder of the race I tried to work my way to the front, and failed miserably. I also had one leg that decided not to turn on so overall the race was a total disaster for me. However further up in the pack my team mates were drilling it. In the end Leah finished 2ndand Carmen 3rd thanks to a lead out from Janel and Jade. Another great day!

 

Stage 3 was the Cannon Falls road race. Finally! A Road Race! The crazy part is that it is a 120km race starting at 5 pm, who does that? We woke up to rain, and then it just kept raining and raining and raining. We headed out to the race, an hours drive. By the time we got there it had started thundering and lightening and was absolutely persisting down. After a lot of managers meetings, standing around and plans on changing the race it got cancelled, for the second year in a row. We then got back in the car and drove home. Another day of intense carbo-loading and defending the yellow jersey complete.

 

This basically sums up stage 3 of NVGP (photo thanks to Jasmin Hurikino)

Stage 4 was the uptown Minneapolis criterium. Today, I lined up at the front, half an hour before the start. I debated even bringing the trainer onto the start line and just warming up there but thought it wasn’t worth the looks. The race started off fast and I actually got to see the front of the race for the first few laps. Next minute there is a crash and I am braking while sliding sideways. Thankfully I stayed on my bike but because half the field came down they neutralised the race and we re-started. The team controlled most of the race sitting on the front, and then with a few to go there was crash after crash after crash. I think I counted 3 all on one lap, but apparently there were more at the back. Unfortunately our sprinter Leah Kirchmann came down getting pretty scratched up and hurting her shoulder. That changed the strategy for the finish as we no longer had the sprinter, but Carmen once again changed her tt legs to her sprinters and finished 3rd! This increased her lead over Neban thanks to the time bonuses she not only got at the finish but also got throughout the race.

 

Finally, stage 5 was a road race that we actually were able to start. However I was a little ambivalent as we stood at the start line in the POURING rain. After getting through the first few circuits and getting out on the course the rain had eased and attacks were going. Anna, Annie and I sat on the front controlling the speed and chasing down attacks. For the next 110ish kms we sat on the front keeping the tempo and leaving the occasional rider up the road for awhile to use their energy just to be picked up again before the finish. Coming into the finishing circuits the three of us who had led pretty much the entire race hit the wall and waved good bye to our team mates as they sprinted towards the finish. Carmen sprinted her way to 5th, keeping the yellow jersey for another day and Jade kept the Queen of the mountains jersey. Success!

 

                                Beautiful weather conditions to start the day. 

The final day was the inaugural Stillwater criterium which included a very steep hill. Today was a big day, we needed to keep the yellow jersey and queen of the mountains. We went in with a really great plan to control the race (thanks to the master of all plans, Rachel). The team delivered amazingly and Carmen won the jersey, Jade secured the QOM jersey and the team won overall. Not only did the women’s Optum team kick arse but the men’s team also won the yellow jersey and team classification. So basically Optum Pro Cycling Presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies owned Nature Valley Grand Prix. It must have been the support from all of our sponsers that came out to watch each and every race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A massive thanks goes to Rachel, Adrian, Jeremy, Karen and Daniel for running around after all of us and making life super easy. Also, I would like to mention Leah just found out that she had actually broken her collarbone in the Minneapolis criterium. She then went on to riding the entire 130km race the next day and finishing in the front bunch.. all with a broken collarbone!! Amazing!

Air force Cycle Classic 2012 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/61/Air-force-Cycle-Classic-2012 Fri, 22 Jun 2012 19:20:00 +1200

Next up was Air force Classic which involved 2 criteriums just outside of Washington DC.


Doing the touristy thing, infront of the white house and then infront of some other iconic American building (not a clue what the second one was). 


Unfortunately they did not go so well for me personally, I road to the first race and was totally stuffed. Started, and then blew very early on. I was much too cooked going into this race with extra hard training the previous week and was not completely recovered from Exergy. Rachel decided Nature Valley, the race that was 2 days later, is much more important to be going well at so instead I sat on the sidelines and watched my team kick some butt instead. Hard to do, but still cool to watch. 


The first race the team rode awesomely. Emma got in a break of three including one Tibco and pure energy rider. She totally killed it and with about 5 laps to go attacked and got off the front by herself. The rest of the Optum girls did a great job of slowing the bunch down and chasing attacks. Not only did Emma win the race she also got very close to lapping the main field.. What a tank! Leah brought the bunch home in 3rd place, so a solid day for the team!

                                         Emma on her way to the win at Air Force classic. 


                                                       Emma and Leah on the podium. 

The next day was hot, so hot! Around about 40 degrees. The race was fast and Emma got in a break for quite a lot of the race. The girls rode really well and Leah finished 3rd again in the bunch sprint (with a solid lead out from Lex). With two third places she finished the omnium in 1st overall. She is now the Air force undefeated champ 2 years running.


The team with some of the race organizers and people who do the hard work to make the race run.  

Next up is the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minneapolis. This is a big race as it is Optum head quarters and there is a big starting list. It’s going to be a good race, can just feel it. 
Exergy Tour 2012 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/62/Exergy-Tour-2012 Fri, 22 Jun 2012 17:31:00 +1200
Exergy tour was by far the most amazing race I have ever participated in, ever.


From the moment I stepped off the plane I was looked after like a celebrity, the organisers bent over backwards to support us and make sure we have an amazing time. The night before the prologue was an official presentation with all the teams and organisers, an amazing buffet and even an Exergy ice sculpture! There were flags for almost every country represented, including Italy, Taiwan, Canada, Australia, Germany, Belgium, US, Ireland, Columbia, Belgium…  The start list was BIG.



The prologue was first up, starting in the evening. We rode to the start on our road bikes to find our amazing Orbea tt bikes sitting there waiting our arrival all fancied up with our HED disks and tri-spokes and Lazer tt helmets. Couldn’t get much better than that! Adrian and John were rushing around making sure the bikes were all tuned, Karen and Jeremy were keeping us well fuelled and Rachel was getting the bikes checked, sorting our start times, and making sure we were all good.. So all I had to do was hop on my kinetic trainer, warm up, then bike fast. Easy, right!? It was only 3.1 kms, and I was 3rd off. The course was completely covered in people, it was awesome! 4 of the Optum riders finished in the top 20 (out of over 100 riders) which was pretty dam impressive. I had a bit of a disaster with my leg deciding to seize half way through, but I am getting used to that. Unfortunately America’s top cyclist and Olympic champion time-trialist, Kristen Armstrong came down on one of the 180 degree turns. In doing this she broke her collar-bone and was out for the rest of the tour. She is strong though, and will no doubt be back and rearing to go for the Olympics.


                                                                    Stage 1


The next day was a 123km road race in Nampa, ID. It was wet, really wet, which just makes the racing better. Most people turn off in the rain, but Optum definitely does not, it just makes it more exciting! Nothing much happened at the start of the race, there were a few attacks but other than that people were just cruising along trying to stay on their bikes. When we got to the first climb I felt great, although a little curious as to why my bike all of sudden had a lot of suspension. I looked down to notice my tyre was slowly deflating. Not what I wanted to find. After the climb I stopped to get a new wheel. Unfortunately this took a lot longer then I was hoping, by the time I got back on the bunch was no longer in sight. I put my head down and about 10kms later I had rejoined the back of the main bunch, pretty much blown. At this time there was a small group up the road which included Leah so I could recover for a little, then it was full gas to the finish line. It ended with a big bunch sprint where unfortunately the world champ Georgia Bronzini came down with a few others. Leah came super close finishing in 4th place with Theresa Cliff-Ryan from Exergy in first. Optum riders did a great job coming into the finish, but unfortunately it was not our day.



                                                                      Stage 2


Stage 2 was a 16.6km out and back time trial, again in the pouring rain. The start was super dodgy with tight, narrow corners and a very slippery road surface. A handful of riders came off before the race had even started, in the starting gates. Luckily all Optum riders stayed on top of their bikes! It was a hard head down, butt up race and we all did our best. Specialised Lululemon crowded the podium finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd.


Awesome photo taken by veloimages of Denise and Joelle crossing paths in the time trial. 

                                                                        Stage 3


Stage 3, finally what we do best.. road racing! The race started off fast and my job involved a lot of chasing. From go I followed every attack I could. After what felt like 100km’s I was at blowing point, looked down.. 15kms!! Only 15kms into the race. I will not repeat what went through my head at this point but it was not pretty. Thankfully Janel and a few others went off the front in a small brake so the attacking slowed down a little and I could have a breather. We then hit a 15km climb, all of a sudden I felt good (I think the BlueRidge parkway riding came in handy for this one). I rode in the bunch as people dropped one after the other. The bunch split in half and I was about to join the front halfit until I sore a team mate that should be in it miss the gap. I dropped back and helped pull her back on, then blew.. then felt good again and got back on (this happened a lot this race). We started a descent, then went up again, followed some more attacks, made a couple of attacks then we started the long descent to the finish. It started raining, which made some pretty exciting conditions. I played it safe but stayed in-tact with the front bunch. With 5kms to go Optum blasted off the front one after another, I tried at 5kms, got caught (dam). Then with 1km to go Optum took control, Jade led out Janel who led out Carmen who did a bloody AWESOME lead out to Leah. Leah went head to head with Ina Teutenburg, one of the world’s best sprinters, and got 2ndby what looked like an inch. So close! But so well deserved for Leah and the girls. To finish 2nd in this classy field was pretty dam impressive. To show how hard the race was there were 4 DNF’s and 21 people who missed the time cut. I finished somewhere in the front bunch, glad to see the end!


                        On one of the long climbs with snow surrounding us. Crazy views too. 


                                                                  So so so Close. 

                                                                          Stage 4



The 4thand final stage was on a super hard, rolling course. Optum still had all 8 riders starting (which may I add, is pretty cool considering most teams had halfed). The start was awesome, we had army planes fly over top and the crowds were HUGE! Unfortunately the race did not last very long, however, for Janel and myself. 100 metres after go there were people on the ground, Janel swerved left to miss it I swerved right but it was too late, we were both down. I was fine, scratched up and bike pretty screwed up (my poor HED wheel had snapped in half). I jumped onto a spare bike that Adrian had got to me and set off again. But it was too late, the bunch was gone, long gone. The race was over. Janel was not in a good place, she had landed on her hip and had to go to hospital. Luckily she is on the mend now and is able to race almost at 100% again.


Back to the race, it blew to pieces on the first climb. Carmen missed the break so the optum girls got to the front to bring it back, then Joelle did a totally awesome 100% pull to bring it back together. She was totally blown afterwards but had got the team back with the leaders so did an amazing job. The rest of the race looked brutal. 14 riders were off the front by a rather large margin including Carmen. At the end Evelyn and Claudia (Lululemon and GreenEdge) rode off the front and Carmen was close behind getting 2nd in the bunch kick (4th overall).


That last night the Exergy organisers put on a Rodeo for all of the riders. First time watching anything like this, was definitely an experience! We also got given some super cool Exergy tour belt buckles to end the night, so country!


One of the many gifts we got from race organisers. A delicious chocolate shoe! How cool is that!!

All up it was a super awesome tour. So much fun, we were so well looked after. The race organisers were incredible and Rachel, Adrian, Jeremy, Karen and John made life so easy for all of us riders. Couldn’t ask for a better team! 

Wilmington Grand Prix and Kelly Cup. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/63/Wilmington-Grand-Prix-and-Kelly-Cup Mon, 21 May 2012 20:13:00 +1200

Emma, Anna and I headed off to Baltimore to compete in the NCC Criterium; Wilmington Grand Prix and the Kelly Cup. The field for Wilmington was pretty strong with 50 odd riders and with the likes of Van Gilder and Erica Aller, it was going to be a hard race.


We were fortunate enough to be able to stay at one of our main sponsor’s guest houses. John Kelly, the owner of ‘Kelly Benefit Strategies’ was an incredible host. On the Friday night they invited us to watch a game of Lacrosse where their son was playing in a very high-end match. I had never seen this game played before, but I now have a new favourite team sport! Kind of like a mix between hockey/netball and rugby, super aggressive, and fast.


The next day was the Wilmington Grand Prix. The course was great, had ups and downs and long stretches. Unfortunately the hill was not quite long enough to do any damage; it was more like a power climb which meant everyone could get over it. After 20 minutes or so the pace had been very off and on. Emma and I started launching attacks to try and get in a break, we got some good gaps, but we were heavily marked by all the riders (it’s hard to play under-cover when you wear bright orange cycling kits with bright yellow shoes…apparently). After a few attempts and chases two riders countered one of Emma and my attacks, and got a good gap on the field. Everybody seemed to want to wave them goodbye.. We were not so keen. So with 7 to go we did some solid attacks, we didn’t get away (thanks to our permanent shadows) but we did bring the break back from the changes in pace. Another rider went off the front, the pack sat up. After some more hard attempts at bridging across , the finish line was there and we had burnt most of our matches, bugger. We both ended up in the top 10 but it was not a good result for us. That’s ok though, onwards and upwards to the next one!


The next day was the Bike Jam/Kelly Cup which was sponsored by Kelly Benefit Strategies, one of our main sponsors. We were looked after hugely having passes to the VIP tent which had an amazing buffet (which you could smell every lap) and some great company. This time our plan was to go hard from the start, tire everyone out and then go a little harder. So from go Anna put in a solid attack, stayed away for a lap, got caught, I went, stayed away for half a lap, got caught, Emma went, stayed away , got caught (you probably get the picture). This continued for quite a few laps until Emma got off the front with Debbie Milne. I got a 2 or so minute break to catch my breath until the winner from the previous day, Lindsay Bayer launched off the front. I got straight on and we eventually bridged across to Emma and Debbie. The next 4 or so laps Emma and I tried attacking the 2 riders, countering them and trying to make them tired. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a gap and coming up to the finish our eyes were very much set on the wrong person and left the sprint too late. We got 2nd and 3rd which was god to get both of us on the podium but pretty disappointed we couldn’t win it for the sponsors.


                                                   Arm needed a rest, bad timing. 


I am now sitting on the plane on the way to Boise, Idaho for the Exergy tour via Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. I am so excited to be going to this race; it is going to be an amazing week racing against who’s who in cycling. I will keep you updated!


Thanks for reading =)

Courteney

Sunny King Criterium and Foothills road race. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/65/Sunny-King-Criterium-and-Foothills-road-race Sun, 13 May 2012 08:09:00 +1200

The Sunny King Criterium is a race through the streets of Anniston, Alabama. We had a 6 person team, a lot of the more experienced riders in the team are in Europe at the moment so we had a more young team taking on and using every bit of information given from our manager Rachel. The criterium started good, 3 of our riders got in a break of 5 which included Laura Van Gilder (a sprinting hero from America) and Erica Aller, another well known sprinter. Emma, Annie and Jade tried to attack and wear out the two sprinters, while the other three of us sat in the front of the chasing bunch getting straight onto any attacks that went and trying to slow it down. Jade managed to pull off a 2nd place in the sprint, which was pretty dam impressive. We made mistakes, but that’s what happens, we learn and come back even stronger. So we went into the race the next day with full guns blazing. 



The Foothills Classic Road Race was the day after the NCC Sunny King criterium. About 20kms into the 90 km race I attacked on a steep climb. My team mate Anna closely followed and we both team time trialled it for the next 70kms. We held about a 20 seconds lead for quite awhile and then it eventually increased to about 4 minutes with 10kms to go. Anna and I crossed the line at the same time (so I was 1st equal). Back in the bunch my team mates had chased down all the attacks and tried to slow the race down, but with 10kms to go my team mate Jade did a hard attack at the bottom of the climb, the riders chased and Lex countered and got away. She then came across the line by herself in 3rd place so we got a clean sweep of the podium! Good way of making up for the night before.



We then packed our bikes up and set off to Little Rock, Arkansas where we stayed with friends of Rachel’s and visited the Orbea USA headquarters as well as an awesome little bike shop called Spokes. (Spokes is the local Orbea dealer and makes some pretty delicious coffee, even for NZ standards). The Orbea factory was also amazing. It is where the top Orbea bikes in America are built, photographed, and sent off to customers. We were also lucky to be hooked up with some Orbea caps, tops and some pretty dam cool orca compression socks. What a day!


The next day we set-off to Fayetteville, Arkansas to race the four day Joe Martin Stage Race. I did this race last year and loved it. Should be another cool few days, can’t wait.

I forgot to mention the amazing accomodation we had in Alabama, Kelle and Clyde were some amazing hosts (and Kelle was a chiropractor, double bonus). Definetely coming back to this place!



Will keep you posted,

Courteney =)

Charlotte Criterium 2012 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/66/Charlotte-Criterium-2012 Sun, 13 May 2012 07:50:00 +1200

A couple of weeks after returning to Asheville we set off to Charlotte, NC for the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium. There was a team of 6 of us, the less experienced ‘new comers’ with no sprinters. So was going to be a good race to practice some solid team work!


The race is known for its huge prize purse and amazing atmosphere. It was a pretty technical course with 8 sharp turns and a lot of cash primes so the pressure was on from the start, then stayed on for the rest of the race. 


The team rode great. Unfortunately Lex had been hit with a cold a week before the race and she was coughing up phlegm most of the way. She managed to hold on and finish with the bunch so was an awesome effort. My left leg was in a lot of pain for the first 3 quarters of the race, had trouble even pedalling at times so the race seemed to go on forever. I think I had straped it too tight so half way through I ripped off the tape and through it at my manager, I was not in a good mood. With one lap to go the plan was to do something if the bunch was together. So I angrily got to the front and did a 100% win or blow attack. Unfortunately it went the blow side but I did get a good gap for just under half a lap and some of the lead out girls had to sacrifice that to chase me down. I then did the blow part and waved the bunch goodbye as I attempted to pedal to the finish line. Jade powered to the finish in 4th place against the top sprinters in the country.


Emma and Annie rode a super strong race and Anna did some awesome attacks at the start. So all in all a great team effort. We may not have got on the podium but we learnt heaps which is all super beneficial for the next race. 

                                                 After the race, having a quick de-brief. 


The 6 of us are now heading back to Asheville for the week for some training and then off to Alabama for the Sunny King Criterium and Foothills Road Race. Looking forward to it!


Will stay in touch =)

Courteney

Time to start racing!! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/68/Time-to-start-racing Sun, 04 Mar 2012 10:02:00 +1300

I have now been in America for just under a month and am loving every minute of it. After leaving California, Emma (team mate), Rachel (Manager) and I flew across to Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is where I will be based for the next 7 months and I could not have come to a better place.

Down the road from where I am living, going to be awesome in summer!

At first I was a little worried when Emma described the town as “full of hippies,” although this is very true it is also full of mountains and amazing super markets. We are living in a cute little house about 2km’s outside of the main Asheville town and about 10 minutes (riding) away from
endless climbing. The first day we got here Rachel took us on an ‘easy’ ride, when returning home I had a look at my computer.. 1000 metres of climbing in an hour and a half!! A little different to Dallas last year, where all the locals couldn’t stop talking about their ‘massive’ hill (this consisted of a 3-4% climb lasting around 300 metres), I would go for 5 hours on what was considered
a ‘hilly loop’ and would return having done about 400 metres of climbing.. This is going to be a good year!


Last week I went on a ride with Rachel so she could show me a good loop to go riding on. A week later and I am still buzzing about how awesome it was! Once we had got out of the town part we hit a 30-40 minute windy and steep climb, once reaching the top (and taking some photos of the
view) we got to a road called Blue Ridge Parkway. This road carries on for 500 miles between Virginia and North Carolina and is wide, smooth, and super hilly (ranging in elevation from 600 to 6000 feet). It is often closed off to motor vehicles it certain parts, which it was on this ride, so Rachel and I got the entire road to cruise on, for about 90kms. It also contains a few tunnels which are good to mix it up a bit, except for the part where you cannot see anything for a split second.. adds some excitement to the ride. During the descent we came across some icicles hanging on the side of the road (so had to stop for some photos.. obviously). Once I arrived home I took a look at the computer, this time I had done 2,200 metres, personal best!! Did I mention I love this place? Here’s a link to the Blue Ridge Parkway website, if you ever want to travel to America to do some riding.. come here! http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

The view from Blue Ridge Parkway, the road follows around all of the mountains.... heaven.

When you look left you get the views over Asheville, when you look right you get icicles.

I have also been doing a lot of indoor training on my sweet new Kinetic trainer.. Usually when I am given efforts to do at home on the wind trainer I get a little depressed and leave training to the last minute, but this new trainer is awesome. It literally feels as though you are riding on a smooth road with no jolting at all, it also came with a super large trainer mat, which we use for gym stuff.. Its about the size of two people. I love the feeling of doing sprints on the trainer and knowing that I am not going to be taking off into the wall on the other side of the room (my one back at home, theres about a 50/50 chance of this happening).

Getting in some trainer efforts on the Kurt Kinetic trainer; http://www.kurtkinetic.com/

One of the many hills I get to ride on every day, if you look closely you can see it zig-zagging down.


I have had the house to myself for the past couple of days while Emma and Rachel headed back to California for the Merco Cycling Classic. This is the first race of the season and we have started off awesomely! The line up for this race is super strong and our girls managed to come away with 4 in the top 10 for the time trial and a 2nd and 3rd in the criterium just yesterday (the winner, Ina Teutenberg is one of the world’s best, and Joelle was less than a wheel away from getting her)! The final stage is today and then they are back in Asheville tomorrow. Then on Friday, the three of us head to Florida to race the Delray beach criterium which is part of the NRC series (National Race Calendar), then we fly back to Asheville, have two days here and then back to California for San Dimas stage race, then to Redlands for another stage race, then Disney Land for my Birthday!! Can’t wait.

Emma and my home made gym..

And just as I finish writting this blog it starts snowing outside! This weather is so unpredictable. One day its 20 degrees the next its negative 5.. Love it!


Will keep everyone updated on how it’s all going.
Thanks for reading,
Courteney

Training camp, Ventura, California. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/69/Training-camp-Ventura-California Fri, 24 Feb 2012 10:58:00 +1300

When I eventually arrived at LA airport I met up with my new team and then Rachel (team manager) picked us all up and we travelled to Ventura, about an hour outside of LA. The next 10 days were spent training, eating, sleeping, getting regular massages and getting to know our team mates. It was amazing. We were handed on head to toe. Adrian, the team mechanic spent hours
and hours getting all the bikes fitted, running perfectly, cleaned and set to ride (there are 12 of us, we have two bikes each that mean 24 bikes, he is amazing.. not to mention the time trial bikes that will be arriving soon). Jeremy, the soigneur, gave us massage, filled and cleaned all of our bottles and provided us with delicious Cliff bars every morning before we rode. Last but definitely not least, Rachel Heal the team manager. Rachel makes everything happen, run smoothly and teaches us everything whether it be on or off the bike. So basically the only thing we had to be concerned about was having a good time, getting to know each other and riding fast.. I could get very used to this.

At the end of the 10 days we had a sponsor evening at the guys house (There are 18 males and 12 females in the Optum Health p/b KBS team). A marquee was set up on the beach with tiki torches around the sides and tables in the middle, with some pretty delicious catering. Was an awesome
evening getting to know the men’s team and all of the sponsers. It was finished off by the guys having a ‘plank off’ where they try to do a plank for 15 minutes, and if they made it then 200 dollars would be put towards World Bicycle Relief. Unfortunately the longest was about 9 minutes.. So Emma and I have made a goal of reaching 15 minutes by the end of the season. We are up to 6 so almost half way.. sort of.

Below are some photos of the camp, thanks to photographer Casey B. Gibson and Emma Grant;

It is going to be one awesome year and I cannot wait to be part of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Thanks to all of the sponsers who make this possible;

- World Bicycle Relief http://www.worldbicyclerelief.org/.

- Solve http://www.solve-ideas.com/

- Schick http://www.schick.com/

- Orbea http://www.orbea.com/

- OptumHealth Performance http://www.optumhealthperformance.com/index.php

- Medifast http://www.medifast1.com/index.jsp

- Mavic http://www.mavic.com/en

- Look http://www.lookcycle.com

- Large Format Graphics. inc http://www.largeformatgraphics.biz/

- Kuhl https://www.kuhl.com/

- Kurt Kinetic http://www.kurtkinetic.com/

- HED http://www.hedcycling.com/

- Colavita http://www.colavita.com/index.htm

- Circuit Global Sports Management http://www.circuitsport.com

- Challenge http://www.challengetech.it/home.php

- Bicycling http://www.bicycling.com/

- Arundel http://www.arundelbike.com/index.html

- Acura http://www.acura.com/

- SRAM http://www.sram.com/

- Champion System http://www.champ-sys.com/

- Lazer http://www.lazersport.com/

- Cliff Bar http://www.clifbar.com/

- Street Factory Media http://www.streetfactorymedia.com/

- Thule http://www.thule.com/en-us/US

- Park Tool http://www.parktool.com/

- Selle Italia http://www.selleitalia.com/

- Xterra Footwear http://xterrafootwear.com/

- Motorex http://www.motorexusa.com/

- Kelly Benefit Strategies http://www.kellybenefitstrategies.com/

- Compex http://www.compex.info

- Optum Health www.optumhealth.com

If anybody is interested here is the link to the team website; http://www.optumprocycling.com/

Watch this space..

Courteney =)


Elite Nationals 2012 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/70/Elite-Nationals-2012 Sat, 28 Jan 2012 01:14:00 +1300

After Vineyards I flew to Christchurch with Emily and Kate to get ready for the 2012 elite nationals. This is my third year of competing in this race and I absolutely love it. The course is awesome with a 1.5 (ish) km climb up Dyers Pas on every lap (7 laps) and the rest on pretty flat roads that are fairly open to the wind. Unfortunately the start list was missing a few big names including Linda Villlumson and quite a few of the track riders, but it still had some pretty good talent including (dear I say it) some bloody good triathletes and also a handful of other International riders.

The race started off relatively slowly with most of the field in no particular rush. Sequoia Cooper and Lauren Ellis got in a break together early on and started gaining some good time on the main field. Coming up to the 4th lap Kate Mcilroy and I decided it would be a good idea to put some pressure on on the hill and try to get a little break going. Kate started the hill off at a good tempo, dropping quite a few of the riders, then half way up the hill I went to the front and had a go, forming a group of 4. We managed to catch Sequoia and Lauren and then dropped them on the hill. Coming into the last lap we had about 2 minutes on a chasing group of about 5. Reta Trotman unfortunately came off coming around the round-about and was unable to rejoin our group. So it was three of us battling it out on the climb. Nicky Samuels was too strong on the last 200 metres of the hill and rode away while Kate and I tried to keep her in sight. The last lap was quite a lot of pain, we worked hard together but were unable to pull her back in. I ended up finishing in 2nd place, which with all that has been going on in the last few months I was pretty happy about. Also, Reta Trotman had an amazing race after falling off. She got caught by the chasing 5 and then broke away from the on the hill finishing in 4th place.. a new rider who is super strong and one to watch for the future!

Need a little more practive opening champagne bottles I think.. a little bit slow.

Still trying...

On the subject of this year, I am now allowed to announce that I am in a professional womens cycling team called Kelly Benefit Strategies – Optum Health Pro Cycling. We will be managed by Rachel Heal who also managed the Colavita team last year (this team is basically Colavita except we have new sponsorship names and have joined up with the already existing men’s KBS team).
Because it is a top team I will be the worker for the year, trying to help out the top riders in the team as much as I can. This is an amazing opportunity and I really cannot wait. I would just like to thank some people who have made this possible for me, Including; Andy Reid, Richard Bates, Craigs Investment Partners, Koops Cycles, Tauranga Cycling Club, and most importantly, Mum and Dad!


I am off on February the 7th (just over a week eek) where I will be flying into LA for a 2 week training camp and then heading to Asheville, North Carolina where I will be based for the 7 months.


Will keep everyone updated!
Courteney =)

Tour De Vineyards http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/71/Tour-De-Vineyards Mon, 16 Jan 2012 14:57:00 +1300

Each year on Boxing day I head to Nelson with the gang (Emily Collins, Kate Chilcott, James Williamson and James Canny) and compete in some pre-nationals racing (and to work off the Christmas fiests). This year it was the Tour De Vineyards which is a 5 day tour consisting of a prologue, lap race, 2 road races and then a gruelling crit-trype race. This tour is a bit of fun
where we compete in it pretty relaxed with the plan of getting a good leg stretch out before the big race on 7th of Jan. I went into the racing not knowing what was going to happen to my leg. It was still very on and off but I am now 80% sure I know what the issue is and with a lot of exercising it is definitely on the mend.


The racing started off with a prologue, half the field went all out on tt bikes, whereas the other half either rolled some clip on bars or just went on the drops. I decided the day before that I should probably pack some clip-on’s, even if I have not used them for quite awhile (it seemed like a good idea at the time). The tt felt very hard and I felt ridiculously restricted leaning over on the bars (turns out putting the seat up and forward is a good idea when putting on aero bars). I gave it everything and ended up finishing 8th, 37 seconds down from Gabrielle Vermunt (1st
place). I was pretty disappointed with the result but I will learn from my mistakes.


The second race consisted of a 46 km lap race. It was a pretty negative race with not many people wanting to do anything. Reta Trotman had a great ride where she got away and managed to stay away until the end with the rest of the bunch 5 seconds behind.

The 3rd stage was the big one. 130 kms of racing finishing up the horrible Takaka hill (which is about 18km of pretty steep climbing..ouch). The racing started slow with everyone trying to save
themselves, it also rained pretty much the entire way which was really great. With about 30km until the base of the climb a group of 6 of us rode off the front with some good riders including Serena Sheridan and Theresa Adam. We got a pretty good gap going into the hill, and I was feeling good. As soon as we started the climb Theresa, Serena and myself dropped the rest of the break with Theresa powering off in front. Then about 2km into it my left leg started playing
up, particularly in the calf area, then next minute it was seizing, getting tighter every pedal stroke. I took the pressure off for awhile as I knew we had a good gap and the only way I was going to finish the race was if I took it easy for a bit and maybe go harder once (if) it stopped hurting. After a few more km’s it began feeling better so I got into a comfortable rhythm and just
rode at my own pace for the rest, finishing 3rd with Theresa and Serena 1st and 2nd. At the top I was border-line hypothermic as I was drenched and freezing. Thankfully the Williamsons were there to warm me up and throw me in the van with the heat blasting. Then Greg Taylor from wheel works gave Emily, Kate and I a ride home from the race.. not too sure what we would have done without Greg and his partner.. We would probly be riding back home from the race, which is about 40km.. in the rain. Very thankful for the wheelworks crew!!


The next day we woke up to some torrential rain and a bit of wind.. So were all pretty excited for a 120km race. The rain did not ease what-so-ever throughout the race, and I couldn’t
really see a thing the entire way. Legs felt a little tired thanks to the lack of warm down the day before, but everybody was in the same boat as it was almost impossible to warm down after that stage. The race had many attacks and also a lot of soft spots. A few of us pushed it hard over the biggest climb of the stage, getting a good gap but because the climb was a wee bit too short and the downhill straight after we got caught pretty fast. It ended up with a bunch sprint with Kate winning and me safely in the bunch.


The final day was a hilly criterium. It started off hard and continued the entire way through with attack after attack. I went about 200metres too early for the sprint (as it finished on a downhill, so I went for it on the uphill before hand and tried to hold on but blew too early). However it
ended up working well because Emily was on my wheel so I gave her a great un-planned lead out and she took the win!

Riding in the sunshine capital of NZ; Nelson... YEA RIGHT.


Overall I finished 3rd and 2nd in QOM. Was a good few days to re-introduce my legs to some racing (I think they may have forgot how to go hard). Now its Nationals coming up and I cannot wait! Working hard on the leg and it is feeling better already so fingers crossed it stays good.

Talk soon,
Courteney =)

(Photos thanks to Richard Spooner, rickoshayphotos-Sporting-Images)

Tulsa Tough http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/72/Tulsa-Tough Sat, 25 Jun 2011 20:12:00 +1200 On June the 9th the team and I headed off to Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 5 hour drive in the pimped out Metro Van (it has two TVs, a Subwoofer and Blue Neon lights). Once we arrived we went to our host house, a really nice old home with a swimming pool!! We were lucky again to have really nice host parents who ran around after us, making us dinner, lunch and coming to support us at the races.

Tulsa Tough consisted of three criteriums all around Tulsa. There were about 70 starters in the women’s field including some big names such as Laura Van Gilder, Jennifer Purcell and Christina Smith. Race one started at 7pm in about 40 degrees temp. It started off fast, with a lot of attacks. Someone near the front decided to come off going around one of the corners, making me to do another one of my famous curb hoping stunts. As I jumped the curb a group of spectators had to dive off their chairs as I was heading straight towards them (along with a couple others). In a criterium, when you get caught up in a crash you are able to go to the neutral zone and get a lap out, catching onto the field on the next lap.. I was a bit in the moment and forgot about this option so instead spent the next lap head down butt up chasing the bunch. When I finally got back on we went around the corner and the rest of the crash victims happily jumped back onto the bunch.. Lesson learnt! After a few more laps I felt like I was going no-where, looked down and noticed my tyre was flat (my race number was 13…shows). The rest of the race consisted of my head being elsewhere.. finishing somewhere in the bunch.



On the outside, next to Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/Map my ride) (one of the nicest ladies (and fastest) in the peleton).



The next day I was determined to have a better day (I got my number changed.. quite superstitious). It was again a very hot day with everyone drenched in sweat at the start line. Was a very fast paced race with attack after attack. I chased a few, did a few, and then just focused on my positioning. With two or three laps to go I got caught up in mid bunch, along with my team mate Kate. Kate is a good sprinter when she is in good position so I let her know I was there and pulled her up to near the front so she was in good position coming up to the last lap or two. Once I got that done there was another attack and I spent the last lap suffering quite a lot. Again I finished in the front part (ish) of the bunch, with Kate somewhere in the top 10. The minute we finished, the lightening, thunder and rain started pelting down just in time for the men’s race.

The final day of racing went over the infamous ‘cry-baby hill’ which was something like the Tour De France. The crowd was HUGE with spectators all over the roads throwing water over you, pushing you, it was insane! There was a gnarly downhill with a tight right hander at the bottom. I felt pretty average for this race, so decided to race it hard and attempt a few things rather then just chilling in the bunch waiting for the finish. Mid-way through the race I did a hard attack coming into the hill, I stayed off for about a lap and then got caught coming up the hill again (the teams did not want anyone getting away). After attempting to recover I cruised in the bunch for a bit more. Then with one lap to go there was a NOW rider off the front, I did an attack again going into the base of the hill, unfortunately pulling the bunch along with me. With the downhill just before the finish I was a little sketchy as it was very steep. Finishing again in the bunch, somewhere in the top 20. Attacking the field up "cry-baby" hill. Photo from Jason Perry; http://www.jasonperryphoto.net/

Overall it was not the most successful lot of racing, but I still keep learning more every race and I had a lot of fun. We now head straight to Wisconsin to compete in the 11 stage Tour of America’s Dairylands.

State Crit Championships http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/73/State-Crit-Championships Sat, 11 Jun 2011 13:30:00 +1200 On the 26t,h , 28th and 29th of May the FCS team competed in three Criterium races all around Dallas/Fort Worth area. First up was the Bike the Bricks race, which consisted of a short 30 minute race around the streets of McKinney. There was a pretty big field with 40+ women starters. I was feeling pretty average in this race having had a solid week of training so just stayed near the front, kept safe, followed attacks and had a good all-round work out. To make it even more fun the temperature was a blistering 38 degrees, which Kate and I were not quite used to (yet). After the race Kate and I set off for (what supposed to be) the 40 minute drive back home while Rachel stayed back at the race for work. We had some pretty good directions to get home and felt pretty confident that we would find our way.. Turns out the signing in Dallas is not that great and we drove about 30 minutes past the turn-off (to make it better it was night time, and dark). We decided it was time to stop and ask for some directions so stopped at the closest super-market looking place. Turns out we stopped in China town and ended up in a Chinese market-type place where not many people spoke English. After buying some Chinese vanilla wafers and attempting to understand the directions we set back out on the motor way. We found a familiar looking sign so took the next off-ramp, next thing we have police lights going behind us.. Apparently when you exit a highway your supposed to slow down by about 30 miles per hour.. Woops. We also pulled over to the left side of the road, In America you always pull to the right. I think the police officer felt sorry for us and let us off with a warning; we asked her for some directions and set-off again. After about 30 minutes we found the right signing and followed that, unfortunately the sign we were following was for the 121 North, we were supposed to go south. Everything became familiar all of a sudden and then we realised we were back at the race. So did a U-turn and headed SOUTH on 121, keeping a very good eye out on the signs. 2.5 hours later we were in familiar grounds back home. To top the night off the place we were planning on stopping at for dinner had closed, so we went to a nice Italian restaurant, got take away and got back home.. FINALLY.





On Sunday we set-off to the State Criterium championships at a place pretty close to McKinney. Kate and I were not eligible to win the State Champion jersey however we could still win the prise money and the title. The aim for this race was to work for our team mate Lauren and try to get her over the line first. We did a lot of attacking throughout the race and covered most of the breaks. Coming up to the last lap most of us were still together. I did a big attack but got caught pretty fast with 500 metres (or so) to go. I then quickly got my breath back and with Lauren on my wheel I attempted to lead her up to the front of the bunch, setting her up for the finish. We got to the front couple and she sprinted past, getting 2nd (very close to first). Which was a pretty awesome result considering the sprinters in the field. I finished a few back in 5th. Overall it was well raced by our team, with Kate leading Lauren up toward the front at the start of the last lap and Megan, Rachel, Kate and I covering and attempting a lot of attacks throughout the race.




The next day was the age category state Criterium championships. This is where most of the age groups raced together but there was a separate category winner depending on your age. The aim for today was to get in a break away and make it a hard race. From go there was a big attack, we chased it down and then Rachel went off the front and stayed off for about 3 laps. Just before we caught her Christina attacked and I got straight on her wheel as she was a big threat. We got a big gap on the bunch and stayed away for the rest of the race, lapping about half the field. Coming up to the last 300 or so metres we were cruising next to each other, watching each others every move. Next thing we were going for it, side by side, crossing the line about a cm apart. Unfortunately I was the cm behind so finished 2nd, but having had a great work out! Lauren was able to take out the bunch sprint finishing 3rd.



Overall a good weekend of racing, where we could do some good team racing and have some fun.

On Sunday 5th of June Kate and I will be competing at the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia as part of a composite team. This is seen as a very high level American race where all the top teams compete at from all over the world. Am looking forward to it!

Courteney

Tour De Grove http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/74/Tour-De-Grove Fri, 20 May 2011 09:47:00 +1200


On Thursday the 12th Rachel, KC, Kate and I left for a 9.5 hour drive to St Louis to race the Tour De Grove Criterium series and NRC race. There were 50 starters with most of the top teams there including a full Tibco and Colavita team. The first race was a 55 minute plus 3 lap Criterium in a rectangle shape. We started just before 9pm so it was very dark! Dark clouds were hanging around but luckily we did not get wet. The race was full of attacks, with nothing sticking, finishing with a bunch sprint. Kate and I were hoping to have some sort of lead out but it was pretty hard to actually see who anyone was so we ended up just going for it, finishing pretty much next to each other on opposite sides of the road, with Kate 8th and me 9th. We then warmed down while watching 150 odd pro men racing round the circuit, was insane to watch, with Pure Black totally dominating the race.


The next race was the NRC Criterium around a very sketchy circuit, with lots of corners and metal plates on the road. To make it even better it was raining and the course was very slippery. People were falling off left right and centre, it was more a finish in one piece sort of race. Coming up to a prime I got in a break away of 3 but the Tibco girl had a lot more balls around the last corner then I did, going around it about 5kmh faster. Around the final corner the girl at the front took it too wide and came off, wiping out quite a few people. I rolled over the line some where in the bunch happy to be in one piece. Was not the best day on the bike but was good for my mental toughness! We were not able to stay around to watch the guys as we were completely frozen but got home to find that Pure Black Racing had helped Mike Northey pull of an awesome win in the pro race!

The final day of racing was very action packed! It was on another corner filled, slippery course with a nice up hill to the finish. Again it was raining which added to the fun! 5 minutes to start Kate and I were attempting to de-attach Kate’s wheel from the wind trainer, as it got stuck and we could not get her bike out. I rode to the start line to ask the starter to hold the race for a minute. Luckily we still had time to find the closest male spectator and get him to have a go at getting it off. 2 minutes to go we were all on the start line, to find Kate’s back break was rubbing.. I waved over a mechanic looking person and he fixed it (the wheel was not on properly thanks to the wind trainer incident). We were exhausted with 30 seconds to go, feeling like we had already raced! Next thing we were racing and it was wet! Kate and I both got in almost every break, as that was the safest place to be in the bunch. There was a break away of 2 riders up the road, Kate bridged across to them then another girl goes and I got straight on her wheel. Next thing we were in a break away of 7, including 3 Tibco girls, a Colavita, Kate, myself and another rider. Coming up to one of the primes I went early on the hill, and managed to (finally) win it! The rest of the race was just Tibco, Kate and I working hard to keep the break away. With one lap to go we had over a minute on the field, I took a drink and started to choke on it, not being able to breathe. I was a bout to stop but luckily something cleared and I could breathe again! So I chased back on. One corner to go before the finish the Colavita rider came off in front, I had 2 choices; one was to ride over her and fall off, or jump the curb. I went for option 2 and managed to get a puncture and crack my back racing wheel in the process. With 200 odd meters to go I rode the puncture until the wheel would not go around any more. I then jumped off my bike and ran across the finish line, getting 6th just ahead of the main peleton. I was pretty annoyed as uphill finishes are my strength and I was feeling good.. but that’s bike racing! Kate did awesome finishing second in a Tibco sandwich, a well deserved podium finish!





Trying to get the organiser to hold the race while Kate tries to distatch her wheel.


The new way to finish a bike race, trying something different. Photos from GoPate; www.flickr.com/photos/gopate







Next up is the Texas Criterium racing series and some good solid training.

Until next time,
Courteney

Joe Martin Stage Race http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/75/Joe-Martin-Stage-Race Tue, 17 May 2011 20:16:00 +1200 On Wednesday, May the 4th, Kate, Lauren, Megan and myself headed off to Fayeteville, Arkansas, a 5.5 hour drive from Dallas, to compete in the 4 stage, 4 day Joe Martin Stage race. We were lucky enough to get another awesome host house and host mum, Trish, who ran around after us like we owned the place!

There were about 40 Pro women entered, including a strong Colavita, Tibco and Specialised team. The first race was a 4km up hill TT. I have only done a couple of these, in my club champs back at home so did not have a clue how to pace myself. I decided going out at about 80% and hitting the 100% mark with a km to go was the best option. It seemed to work and I crossed the line completely spent. Getting 6th place, 24 seconds off first. Lauren finished in 15th , with Kate 18th and Megan 34th . A week before the race I had got myself some Zipp 303 wheels (to replace my Reynold that fell off the roof). They felt so fast, although I am a little scared to use them. Coming back down the hill I felt a little wobbly, thinking it was just because they were new wheels and I wasn’t used to them I carried on. When I got to the bottom my wheel started screeching and the hub was burning up. I went to the SRAM guys and they found out the manufacturers had put the wrong piece in the hub. After a bit of stress I got the new piece in and they are now running amazingly.

The next day was a 100km road race out in the country of Fayetteville. It had some good rollers but no major climbs. There were a lot of attacks but everything got chased, nothing was getting away. 20 kms out from the finish a girl came down a few in front, I had some one on my left and right so had to go straight into her. Luckily I had slowed down enough to falll on her without too much speed. I then jammed my front wheel out of her pedal and timetrialed it by myself for just over 5 kms back to the bunch. Coming up to the finish I tried to get up as far as possible, there was a tight right hand corner and then a 300 (or so) metre little climb to the finish. I started from too far back, not being able to wind my gear up enough, getting 4th place. With Kate in 5th, Lauren 24th and Megan 28th.


Finish of the first road stage, me on the far left (in the red & white)


The third day was a 100km lolliepop race, where we headed out, did 2 laps of a circuit and then came back on the same course. There was again A LOT of attacks, some being quit dangerous with good riders getting some distance. Kate and I spent most of the race chasing them down (if we missed the break). But again all the breaks eventually got caught. With 15kms to go I had a go, getting a pretty good gap. I stayed away for about 4-5 kms, then looked behind and noticed Tibco on the front chasing me down.. that was the end of that. The finish included a winding downhill, that went to a slight false downhill.. So it was going to be fast! Not being my ideal finish, I stayed safe coming down the hill sitting mid-bunch, then crossed the line in 15th.. So a pretty average finish but was happy to get over the line safely! Kate had an awesome finish just being piped at the line by Joe Kaisanowski (Tibco) for 3rd. So Kate was 4th, Lauren 13th and Megan 16th. Me second wheel, behind Colavita.



The final day was an 8 corner, up and down criterium. I went into the stage sitting in 7th place. I positioned myself right up front for the entire crit, chasing quit a few attacks. Coming around the last corner I got on Kates wheel, we started from too far back but she gave me a great lead out, I left the sprint too late and finished 4th (again). Kate finished 8th, Lauren 26th, and Megan 33rd. Overall I finished in 6th place, and 1st in the young riders category. It was a pretty hard few days of racing as Kate and myself had to do a lot of work as well as trying to finish strongly. I learnt even more and had a great time so a pretty successful few days.

On the podium getting the young riders leader jersey.



Thanks for reading =)


Courteney.

Wellington Tour of NZ 2011 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/76/Wellington-Tour-of-NZ-2011 Mon, 21 Mar 2011 20:59:00 +1300 On Monday the 21st I flew to Wellington for the Tour of NZ/Wellington. This year the entries for this tour were amazing, including HTC, one of the top teams in the world, Diadora-Pasta Zara team, some top Australian teams and the usual Giant pro cycling (Chinese), and Japanese national teams. This year I was lucky to be in the New Zealand National team along with Mel Burke, Kate Chilcott, Cath Cheatley and Linda Villumson.

We got there with two days to spear so we settled into the Copthorne Hotel in Masterton and went for a few cruisy rides with the GMC Christmas tree (Gordon McCauley). On Tuesday we spent most of the day glued to the T.V, completely shocked with the news of the Christchurch earthquake. Unfortunately one of the newly made Christchurch teams, Thule/Orbea, had a short trip where they had to return back home straight after they arrived to deal with the devastating Quake.

As bad as it felt we had to switch our minds to racing and continue with the tour ahead. Day one was a 98km road stage from Martinborough to Masterton which included a very steep 1.5 km climb about 20km from the finish. My job was to chase down attacks and try to keep as far up as I could. The race seemed pretty chilled in the first part of the race, no major breaks. Then on the first climb a bunch of about 15 of us got away over the hill, no-one in the bunch seemed to want to do anything so the main bunch caught us pretty fast. On the climb Linda and Cath got in a break away with about 7 others, Mel and I went over the top shortly after along with 3 or 4 others. We did not do any work as we didn’t want to catch Linda and Cath’s bunch, so we cruised along, eventually the main bunch caught us and we rolled into the finish, sitting somewhere in the bunch. Cath got 2nd in the sprint finish with Linda 7th, finishing 35seconds in front of the main bunch.



Tactics Talk.





Getting ready for stage one.



In quit a bit of pain going over the last (big) climb.

The next day was a 114km road stage from Masterton to Palmerston North (via Pahiatua track). Today I had a similar job, to chase down as many breaks as possible. Right from the start there was attack after attack, I followed most of them and about 10km into the race I was pretty stuffed. After a bit of recovery in the bunch another break went. I was a bit late to react so had to jump across to the group of about 6. We stayed away for a few k’s and then got caught. With about 20km to go there was a pretty hard 3km hill to go up, with a stretch of loose gravel 2km before the hill. We got neutralised across the gravel and the minute the flag went down Mel sat on the front and time trialled it while the rest of the bunch held on for dear life. Then we went straight into the hill. I went up relatively comfortably, about 100 metres behind Lindas group, with Cath in a bunch of 3 further in front. On the way down the hill I had a few ‘wimp’ issues thanks to Ina Toutenburg (from HTC team) as she sped around the corners at top speed. I momentarily lost her group but caught back on soon after (thanks to the group behind). Cath finished 2nd to Judith Arnt again with me in the bunch behind, in I think 11th.



Wrtting down the distances for some important parts of the race. With Dad observing.




Christmas tree (Gordon McCayley) giving us the team tactics before the start of stage 2.

Mel driving it at the front, just before the last hill.

Stage 3 was an 85km rolling to flat lap race. Again my job was to chase breaks and position well. It was a real on and off race and I got in a few little breaks. Other then that it was not very exciting; I felt pretty crap. At the end two people in front rode into each other but luckily stayed on their bikes, I finished somewhere in the bunch and Cath got 3rd.
That afternoon was the crit around the streets of Palmerston North. Linda, Ina (Toutenburg) and a couple of others broke away so all we had to do was sit in the bunch and chase down breaks. It wasn’t too fast at all, I finished somewhere in the top 10 (I think).

Stage 5 was the last road race, going the opposite direction as stage 2. I felt really comfortable on the hill, then going down not so compfortable, had to chase for abit, then when I caught we went over a very dodgy gravel section. The person in front dropped the wheel by quit a lot, so we had to chase for quit a bit. When getting back on I noticed the bunch had split up substantially so we did some even more chasing, by the time I was back on the bunch I was stuffed! Next thing we know there were 5 people up ahead in a breakaway which were big GC contenders. So Mel, Linda, Kate and I headed straight to the front and lapped it through for the next 15-20. When we caught the group I did an attack bringing along a few others, unfortunately a couple were reasonably high on GC so I did not do anything (after about 5 km). When the bunch caught, Kate attacked ( team tactics =) ) and a group followed her. Now all we had to do was sit in the bunch, hoping HTC would sit on the front and chase them. With 10km to go Linda, Mel and I went to the front and repeated our chase (passing HTC’s train on the way), at this stage Kate’s small group was still ahead and then there would have been about 20 of us left in the main bunch. With about 3km to go I completely blew up, legs started to cramp and I could hardly pedal. After dropping off the back of the bunch I got a second wind and used the cars to get back onto the bunch. We were a bit guttered we couldn’t catch the front group but we got bloody close! At the finish I was just in the bunch.

That was basically the tour finished. Cath finished in second place with Judith Arnt 1st and Ruth Corsett 3rd. The last day was a criterium, which was not part of the tour; instead it was just a separate race. It started off fast, with Kate doing a spectacular crash half way through the first lap bending her front wheel in half. The rest of the race I went hard, it didn’t finish how I wanted but lasted about half of the race. It ended up being only 4 riders left, Cath, Judith, Amanda Miller and a Jayco rider, with Amanda wining and Cath finishing second.

Another great experience with some awesome people!

Rev 120 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/77/Rev-120 Fri, 04 Mar 2011 01:04:00 +1300 The week after Bev’s tour I was back on the start line, this time in Hamilton for the Rev 120. Unfortunately there were not enough elite women entered for a separate race so we had to start with the elite men. It started off fast, with the guys playing there tactical games while us girls sat in the bunch getting a nice wee ride. Then about 30km into the race we hit French Pass, a nice 3(ish) km climb. Going over the hill us girls stayed relatively close together, with Emma Crum about 100m in front, then Mel and I neck and neck with Emily and Kate about 100m behind. Emma managed to get onto a little bunch of guys over top of the hill so Mel and I spent the next 20ish km working our buts off trying to chase them (just the two of us) but the bunch had too many legs to get away. Kate, Emily and Acky(?) caught us at about half way, so the rest of us worked hard together until the end. I managed to win the bunch sprint by about a millimetre, with Emily 2nd, Kate 3rd and Mel 4th (the guys weren’t allowed to get in our way at the finish so they just cruised in). Overall I was 2nd place in the women’s as Emma had a great ride finishing ahead with a bunch of guys. To see photos of the very tight finish you can go to http://www.supersportimages.com/ click on the rev 120 and type in Lowe under surname.

Am heading off to Wellington in a couple of days for the Tour of NZ, can’t wait! Will keep you posted on the happenings over there.

Courteney
Bev May Tour http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/78/Bev-May-Tour Fri, 18 Feb 2011 00:38:00 +1300

It’s that time of year again! The Bev May tour, my favourite tour in New Zealand.
This year the entry’s for the A grade were very good, especially with the likes of NZ (and American) road champion Catherine Cheatley.

I came into the tour pretty cooked, having had a very hard couple of weeks training. This race was basically for some good hard training and fun. The first stage was a 21km rolling time trial. I felt pretty good for the first 3 quarters, then stuffed for the last quarter (which I think is a good thing). I had recently got set-up on my TT bike. Still a few adjustments to be made as I seemed to spend the whole race falling off the front of the seat and hitting my elbows with my knees, although other then that I felt really good (and aero). I finished 3rd behind Cath and Mel Burke.



The next stage was a 75km circuit race with a few rolling hills. The race was really good! Mostly everybody pulled through hard and made it a relatively hard ride. We dropped about half of the field, and I finished 2nd in the bunch sprint at the end (to Emily Collins).

The next day we had a pretty hilly 80km stage. This was around the Bell Rd circuit in Morrinsville, 6 times! Each lap on the big(ish) climb Emma Crum, Cath and I got a break on the field, we then stayed away for a tiny bit but because the bunch was working so well together we got caught each time. It ended up finishing with another bunch sprint, finishing second, again to Emily. Stage 3 sprint finish, me on the far left.

The last stage was a criterium, it was very hot. The race was pretty on and off, with attacks coming most laps. On the last few laps Cath did an attack and brought along Sarah Williams, then when we almost caught, Pip Sutton went off the front and caught Cath. The bunch did not react soon enough and Cath and Pip got us by about 50 metres in the end. I was pretty stuffed by the end of the tour, finishing in 3rd place overall, 8 seconds behind 2nd place. Overall was a great weekend for training! Going round one of the corners in the crit (me at the front of the photo).

I have the Rev 120 this weekend and then heading off to Wellington for the Tour of NZ on Monday. So all is on!!

Will keep you posted,
Courteney

Elite Nationals. http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/79/Elite-Nationals Wed, 26 Jan 2011 00:23:00 +1300

A Week and a bit after Tour De Femme was the Elite Road Nationals. The Women’s field was one of the strongest fields we have ever had, with 48 starters. Our Waikato/BOP field was also very strong with riders like Rushlee Buchanan, Kaytee Boyd, Sonia Waddell, Jaimie Neilson and Sally Fraser.

The race was a total of 123km, with 8 laps of a very challenging circuit. 7 out of the 8 laps we had to ride up a 1.5km very steep hill called Dyers Pass. The race started off pretty fast with Chubby Hale attacking as soon as the neutral flag came down. Three riders stayed off the front for a couple of laps, and then once we caught them Cath Cheatley rode off the front on the climb. By about the 4th lap there would have been about 20 riders in the main peleton with everyone else dropping off on the hill, and Cath about 50 seconds in front.

Going through the drink station someone decided to attack so I missed my drink bottle, the next lap I had nothing so made sure I slowed right down to get one on lap 5. By doing this I dropped off the back of the bunch by about 50 m but getting the drink was very important. Just before I got back on the bunch Rushlee Buchanan attacked bringing along Serina Sheridan. I knew once I had got back on that that break would stay away, and although Waikato had a lot of strong riders in the peleton we were not supposed to chase as Rushlee was our team mate. The next few laps were very frustrating as we sat in the bunch unable to do much at all.

Throughout the race I felt very comfortable going up the hill, usually being in the top 2-3. However going down the other side I was much too cautious and was not confident at cornering at all, which I think was from crashing the week before. Therefore I would drop quit a bit on the decent and then have to chase straight into the head wind at the bottom of the hill, this happening on every lap. By the last lap I was stuffed. At this stage there were 3 off the front including Cheatley, Buchanan and Sheridan and we were in a break away of 8. I felt ok going up most of the climb, although was struggling quit a bit toward the end. Then with 100 metres to go I blew up. The bunch was very close going down the other side but I was unable to close the gap as I struggled too much with the corners, and then chasing straight into the headwind at the bottom. Jaimie Neilson and Jeannie Kahujak caught me just after the bottom of the hill and we worked hard together but could not manage to catch the small bunch ahead. At the finish I sprinted Jeannie getting 9th.





Climbing the hill, with Cath Cheatley powering ahead..

I was very disappointed with the race and with how I had gone, but just makes me more determined to go faster, and to get my down hill confidence back. Next up I have the Bev May Tour, and recently I have been selected to be in the NZ team for the tour of NZ. This race is at the end of February and will have teams from over the world coming to race. Then in Mid-March I may be heading to Texas to race in a team for 3-4 months. Will let you know more when I find out.


The next day Emily, Kate and I supported the guys race, which was an awesome event to watch. The hill was crammed with people, looked something like the Tour De France and was a very exiting race with Hayden Roulsten being too strong and smart for everyone.


Kate and myself supporting the guys.. we made sure we were nice and visible for them to recognise us!


Untill next time

Courteney

Tour De Femme http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/80/Tour-De-Femme Tue, 25 Jan 2011 23:42:00 +1300

On Boxing Day I headed down to Nelson to compete in the Tour De Femme.
The Tour De Femme is a 5 stage tour completed over 3 days, including an 11 km hill climb up Takaka, a 48km circuit race, a 70km hilly road race, a 19km time trial and finishing off with an 80km road race. The field was pretty big for a women’s race with 50 riders starting and it was a good warm up race before nationals as there is not a lot of racing around NZ at that time of the year.

Stage one was the hill climb, the conditions were terrible, raining and very windy. The race had to be delayed about an hour as the weather was quit dangerous toward the top of the hill. Once it was underway it cleared but roads were very wet. I did an alright hill climb, getting a 3rd place, think I may have taken it too easy for the first half, not knowing that the second half was not near as steep and there was a slight tail wind.. Then going back down the hill I slipped on some diesel, ripping my skin suit, and bending my derailleur. Other then that just had a few grazes so was pretty lucky!

That afternoon was the circuit race. By now the sun was shinning and it was hot! The race started off slow, with no-one wanting to do anything. On the second to last lap Jeannie Kahujak attacked and I went with her, we got away for about half a lap picking up some sprint points. When we were caught Dale Tye attacked and no-body wanted to chase. With half a lap to go a few of us went to the front and put the pressure on, the sprint started pretty early with everyone having a go, I managed to get a pretty good position and won the bunch sprint, but 2nd in the stage as Dale was about 2 bike lengths in front at the finish.


Me at the front trying to put pressure on the bunch along with Emily (right) and Kate (left). Photos from Lucid Design.

The next day was the 70km very hilly stage, finishing on a 1km very steep climb. Again it started off pretty slow. When we got to Spooners (a 3km relatively steep climb) everyone was trying to get up the front. Karen, Emily, Emma and I attempted a few attacks, each time dropping a few people. The signing was not very good for the King of the Mountains and after coming round the corner I saw a large group of people so went for it, then realising there was still 300m to go. At this stage there was 3 of us away, I was stuffed after my little burst so I could not sprint again for the actual kom. We were now in a break away of about 15. The rest of the ride was pretty hard, everyone working well together. At the start of the finishing climb Emma Crum and I rode off the front, we got a pretty good gap on everyone else. I managed to out-sprint Emma at the line, although it was very close.

Coming upto the finish of the 3rd stage (on the right). Photos from Lucid Design.

That afternoon was the time trial. I was pretty tired from the morning’s stage, and it was really hot! The course was hard, with a few rolling hills and false flats (and wind). I was not able to bring my time trial bike down so I used clip-on bars on my road bike. I put all I had into it and finished 3rd, with Jaimie Neilson and Dale Tye in front (both using time trial bikes).

The last road stage started off well with Team Fresh Choice (A nelson based team) doing lots of attacks trying to get their rider Jeannie some sprint points. Kate Chilcott (a good friend of mine) was also going for Sprint Ace and with 2 km to go Jeannie was off the front and no-body wanted to chase. I went to the front and went as hard as I could to catch up, with Kate on my wheel. Jeannie had a bit too much distance but Kate managed to get 2nd over the line making her win the Sprint Ace overall. The rest of the race was very on and off with lots of attacks but also lots of slow patches. Over the second to last climb about 8 of us got away, we worked really hard together but somehow got caught by the bunch. Coming into the finish I went about 100 metres too early, blowing just before the finish line. Karen Fulton was on my wheel and passed me just before the line, with Kate 2nd and me 3rd.


Emma and I getting a little gap on the field on the last climb. (I’m second wheel with the under 23 leaders top on). Photos from Lucid Design.

Overall I finished 2nd to Jaimie Neilson, 1st in under 23 and 2nd in King (Queen) of the Mountains.

For more information on this tour or for any photos visit; http://www.nelsonevents.co.nz/TourdeFemme.htm

NSW Grand Prix Series http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/81/NSW-Grand-Prix-Series Tue, 25 Jan 2011 18:55:00 +1300 In Late November I got a call from James Canny, an inspirational Cyclist from Invercargill, asking if I would be interested in joining a team of NZers to go over and compete in the NSW GP Crit Series in Sydney, Australia. I was a little unsure at first as I was not very experienced at Criterium riding and the event included the top Australian riders as well as Americans and a Russian. After talking with my coach we both decided it would be a great idea to build confidence and to learn from the best of how to ride a criterium. So with 2 weeks of Criterium base training (short, sharp efforts with very little recovery) I was off to Sydney along with; Kate Chilcott, Emily Collins, Alex Ray, James Williamson, James Canny, Joe Chapman, and Sam Steele.

The series consisted of five criteriums held over 5 days all over Sydney, including; Bathurst, Parramatta, Gosford, Coogee and Cronulla. We were treated like royalty from the race organises, giving us cars to drive, always being available to help and staying in some very nice accommodation. We travelled with our new friends ‘Vanderkitten Racing team’ who are an American based team specialising in Criteriums. We were also lucky enough to Get John Vande Velde as our driver who is Christian Vande Velde’s dad (who got 4th overall in the 2008 Tour De France).

Race 1; Bathurst

On Wednesday morning we drove to Bathurst from Sydney. In Bathurst we stayed at an amazing place right in the middle of the Bathurst racing track called Mirvac Hotel, Mount Panorama, Bathurst. We were told that the Hotel is booked out for the next 10 years around racing time.

After doing a lap around the track (which we had to have a look at) we headed out to the race in the main town of Bathurst. The course consisted of a square around a little grass field, being a total of 400m a lap! At the start line I was basically shaking with nerves, the field was very good and I was very nervous! Once it had started I calmed down a bit, there were 43 starters, which were a lot on such a small course so it was very important to stay as close to the front as I could. It was a very fast race; I was definitely struggling but managed to stay on the back of the front bunch at the end (dropped about half the field). At the end I was stuffed. Emily had a great race finishing 9th with Kate close behind. Emily and Kate are both very strong Crit riders so it was good having them there so I could try and stay as close to them as I could knowing that I would be following a good wheel.


Above; Standing at the top of Bathurst Track. Below; Emily and I riding Track before we hed to the race.



Race 2; Paramatta

The morning of the race we went for a ride around Bathurst in very wet conditions. My legs felt a little sore but loosened up after awhile. We finished the ride doing another lap of the Bathurst track and taking photos at the top. I am now going to watch that race with a lot more interest as the descent they have to do was unbelievable, very steep and sharp corners… I was scared to ride down it at 20kmh let alone race down it at 100+.

After the ride we got cleaned up and Drove to Paramatta for the next race. This Criterium consisted of an up, and a down. It was kind of like an oval where the finish line was on the up part, and then you would turn left, go down and swoop down to the left and back up again. When we stepped out of the car we got a shock with the heat. Bathurst would have been about 25 degrees, and Paramatta was at least 35-40. We walked straight to the closest café and sat in it for about an hour making the most of the air-conditioning and cold water. Once we got back we had a small warm up and lined up at the start line. Again the race was very fast, although this time I felt a lot more confident and was able to easily move my way toward the front each time we went up the hill. The last 4 laps were VERY fast, with team Honda pushing the pace. I managed to stay in the front bunch again with quit a few people dropping. Overall Emily, Kate and I managed to all finish in the top 5 with Emily 4th, Kate 5th and myself 9th. So was quit a good day. Honda’s Rochelle Gilmer got her second win, showing everyone why she is one of the top sprinters in the world.

Race 3; Gosford

Straight after the race we headed to Terrigal, a nice little town with a massive beach! We got a wee bit lost but eventually got to our Hotel at about 10pm. There was a little family owned Italian Restaurant that were just closing when we got there but luckily the Mother of the family felt sorry for us and demanded her Son and Husband stay open if we agree to only order pizza. Besides the angry Husband and unhappy looks from the Son in the kitchen the meal was pleasant and the lovely lady was still smiling when we left. The next morning we went for a stunning ride around the waterfront and hills of Terrigal and then had a look around the shops before heading off to Gosford for race 3.

Gosford was a hot-dog shaped race where we raced on the waterfront up and down a parallel street and then did two 360 turns at each end. We started later on at night so most of the race was done in the dark under street lights, which was a pretty cool experience. I felt really good for this race positioning myself near the front for most of the race. Coming up to the second to last corner I was near the front until a certain Australian decided to cut me off, I had to brake and then she dropped from the bunch so I then had to pass her and chase the girls up ahead. This was not what I wanted to do with less then a km to go. Just before the last turn I got onto the back of the front bunch and sprinted as hard as I could to the finish. The series leader Rochelle Gilmer did not keep her line and went into the Russian who flew off her bike. I just managed to miss her lying on the ground and got over in 9th place. Unfortunately the Russian messed up her face quit badly and had to get plastic surgery the next day, but other then that no bones broken. Rochelle got DQ’d from that race which put Emily into 2nd place and Kate into 3rd (and me 8th) which was an awesome result, showing the class of these two riders. After the race we watched the guys and the prize giving, by the time we left it was about 10.30, and we still had to ride 10km back home. So in the pitch black we rode back to Terrigal with John Vande Velde driving behind with the high beams on and us pretty much sprinting with fear for the 10km journey home. Once home everything was shut, so we had to resort to Delhi rolls from McDonalds (much to Kate, Emily and my disapproval). We then got back to the Hotel and were in bed just after midnight.

Race 4; Coogee
The next morning we packed up and headed to Coogee, a very popular, up-market beach. It was absolutely packed, you could hardly see a space of sand or grass free from sunbathers. This was definitely the coolest place I had been to. We got our bikes out and warmed up. This course was also like a hot-dog but went up one side and down the other. It started off at a comfortable pace until a couple of riders went off the front. I did a few attacks to chase them down as the strong, Honda dream team were just letting them ride away as they had one of their riders in it. After my attack Kate and Emily had a go and managed to get a gap on the field along with 2 or 3 others. After this I sat back and tried everything I could to slow the main bunch down so that they could stay away. This pretty much worked with the bunch being just in front at the finish, but they were not able to catch the front few. Emily finished 8th with Kate 9th. I think I came 11th or 12th. After the race we watched the guys and then chilled on the beach for the rest of the afternoon. Then headed back to our initial accommodation just passed Sydney. Thanks to James Williamson our 1 hour trip took about 2-3 hours. But eventually we got there just before it got dark. Trying the beach out at the end of the crit. With our American friends.

The packed Coogee beach.


Race 5; Cronulla

The next morning we woke up to very hot and sunny conditions. Kate, Emily and I were lucky enough to be given the Bates Bikes kit to wear on the last day, to make us look like a team and show off an awesome kit. This race was slightly longer then the rest of them; it finished on a downhill and had a couple of up hills around the back. It started hard, and then continued throughout the race. I felt very confident now and spent a lot of time near, or at, the front. Unfortunately my legs were not feeling very fresh and were not happy with the sudden sprints. I stayed up with the front of the bunch for most of the way and tried to block any wind from Emily as she was pretty close to coming top 3 overall in the series. Then on the last corner before the descent I got boxed in, on the downhill I got beside Kate and finished pretty much next to her. I think we got 11th and 12th with Emily in 4th.

Us in our cool new Bates Bike kit, looking like a proper team.. and the awesome fluro socks.

The Last stage, If you look closely you can see Emily with the fluro yellow socks, I am 3 ahead of that on the right.

Overall the trip was awesome! I learnt heaps, gained a lot of confidence and had heaps of fun. Thanks to Bates Bikes and the team and James Canny for the trip. Will definitely be going back to that one!!

Untill next time...

Courteney

Taupo http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/82/Taupo Tue, 25 Jan 2011 18:44:00 +1300 After worlds I had a few weeks recovering as the ‘cold’ decided to hang around for awhile. Then first race back was Taupo. Instead of doing the lap around the lake the elite women completed a shorter 80km course which started in Taupo, then toward Turangi (going the opposite direction to the normal Taupo course) and then turned around and came back. It was a relatively flat course except for the Hatepe hill on the way home and a couple other small rollers.

The start list was very good, with the likes of Rushlee Buchanan, Cath Cheatley, Sonia Waddell, Serina Sheridan (etc). Although the race itself was pretty slow as everyone was waiting for Hatepe hill do anything. I felt pretty good coming up to the hill. Cath attacked from the bottom bringing along Emma Crum and they got a pretty good gap on the field. Sonia went to the front and grinded it up with me on her wheel, we dropped the rest of the field and caught up Emma. With about 100 metres of the hill to go my legs decided they had had enough. I tried to ignore the pain but it just was not working, I had not ridden a hill like this since Worlds and I think they had forgotten how to do it. I slowly dropped off the two and went back to a now smaller group. At this stage it was Cath, Emma and Sonia off the front and then our group about 200 metres behind. We all worked hard to catch them up and at the bottom (thankfully) got back onto them. Coming upto the last 2km I felt really good. The pace was on and I was sitting in next to Sonia and Cath. Then next thing I was on the ground wondering what the hell happened. Some rider a couple in front decided to swerve in the middle of the bunch and take down the person next to her, then I went straight over the top.. Literally. I did a nice superman move over the top of my bars with arms out in front. Rushlee and Serina had also come down, as well as Sarah Morrison and Gayle Brownlee. As Rushlee pealed me off the road we eventually got back on and rolled over the finish line, well back from the winners. Luckily my bike was ok!! I just had some road rash and quit a sore knee which would have happened from the impact. Nothing broken or seriously injured so was very thankful, unlike Sarah who dislocated her shoulder and Gayle who broke a rib. However getting back I had found out a good friend of mine, Kate Chilcott had won the sprint over Sonia Waddell and Cath Cheatley. This was a massive win for Kate with such a strong field, she is definitely one to look at for the future.


Climbing up Hatepe. Sonia Waddell at the front, me 2nd wheel, Emma third.


Overall, the race was a disaster. Good fun though.. Crashes are just all part of bike riding!

Thanks for reading =)

Courteney

World Champs! http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/84/World-Champs Sun, 16 Jan 2011 21:51:00 +1300

In early September I was selected to compete at the UCI Road World Cycling Champs in Geelong, Australia, along with a very strong team of; Cath Cheatley, Linda Villumsen, Serena Sheridan, Toni Bradshaw, Emma Crum and myself. When I first took up cycling I dreamt of competing at the World Champs at about the age of 30 and then to be selected at 19 years old I was totally overwhelmed and excited (and bloody nervous).

A week before Geelong (Worlds) was a race in Ballarat called the World Cycling Classic. This was basically the warm up race, where mostly everyone doing worlds would compete at. The race was insane, lining up with over 100 of the worlds best cyclists. I felt really good for most of the race, felt confident in the bunch and even went off the front for about 100m on one of the hills. It started off relatively slow, as everyone waited for someone to do something, then with about 2 laps to go the pressure went on with over half the field dropping. At the end I finished in the middle of the bunch (about 33rd out of the 100 odd riders). This race gave me a major confidence booster, I had an awesome time and it was pretty cool riding alongside the worlds best.

The next week everybody settled into the hotel in Geelong, where we rode, ate and slept. Emma, Serina and I had the perfect room looking over the tt course. We were not supposed to do much before the race so we would sit on the deck, watch them ride past then turn and watch it live on the TV.

I decided to get sick 4 days before the race. It got worse as the days went on, feeling terrible when riding and having no energy. I loaded up on as much Vitamin C as I could but think it was too late, although I stayed positive telling myself it would be gone the next day. On the morning of the race I temporarily lost my voice.. but I did feel better! Toni also managed to get sick with a chest infection, not the best start for the team. Other then that I was still very exited to race! Out for a training ride, trying to chase Mark Cavendish who was also out on a training ride 100 metres in front.

Riding out to the race was awesome, the atmosphere was incredible. Massive crowds were lining the streets already, with flags from all around the World. While in the riders area there were camera people everywhere, it felt so professional! We had the team presentation where we signed on and stood on the stage for photos, then had a little warm up and headed for the start line. Each country got called up individually, with New Zealand being toward the back.




Our names up on the start list.

Getting called up to the start.


The race consisted of 8 laps (127km), including 2 rather steep hills each lap. The first hill was just over a km, getting upto about 24% gradient. Then it descended for 2.5km and went straight into another steep, but short climb. On the first lap up the hill there was a small crash in front of Emma and I, I had to put the breaks on and go around it and then sprint to get back onto bunch in front. Luckily made it back up before the top of the hill, although was not feeling flash and HR was already about 5 above my maximum. The next couple of laps I felt comfortable in the bunch but as soon as we hit a hill I was suffering. Toward the end of the 4th lap I completely blew on the hill, the legs didn’t feel too bad but I was suffering to breath. I eventually pulled the pin. As gutted as I was to have to pull out I did have a great time and knew that there was nothing more I could have done. Linda and Cath had a great race finishing in the front bunch with Toni and Serina not far behind.

Overall the whole trip was an experience of a life time that I will never forget, and hope that one day I will be right up there with the top girls.



The Team before the start, me looking abit too serious. (photo from RoadCycling.co.nz)

Courteney

Garmin http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/85/Garmin Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:07:00 +1300

Would like to say thank you so much to Innovations In Motion and Garmin for sponsoring me an awesome new Garmin 500.

This little computer has made my rides a lot more entertaining!! It has so many interesting features including;
Heart Rate Monitor
Cadence
Speed
Distance
% Gradient
Total Ascent/Descent
Elevation
Power (Wattage)
Lap Time
Temperature
And much more!

It’s got a nice big screen where you can view up to 8 data fields at one time, and then after your ride transfer it all onto the computer and review it. I have had absolutely no problems with this computer at all, absolutely love it!

For more information on the Garmin 500 or other Garmin computers follow the links bellow;

http://www.innovationsinmotion.co.nz/ or
http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/us

Auckland 1000 http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/86/Auckland-1000 Wed, 24 Nov 2010 16:26:00 +1300 The Auckland 1000 is part of the National Point series and is around the Karaka circuit in Auckland, where the 2007 National Champs were held. The elite women had a 78km road race which was 3 laps of the rolling circuit. The race started off slowly, with every one gradually pulling through. The first time up the hill (a reasonable hill, half way around the circuit) I did a small attack with the aim of tiring any slow ones and hoping they would drop off. Paula McCoy and I got a little break which lasted a few km’s, we then got caught by a slightly smaller bunch and worked well together. Half way through the second lap I did another decent attack on the hill and this time Mesh Holt and Jeannie Kuhajek came with me, we worked hard together and got some good distance on the rest of the field.



Our little break away



On the same hill, but the last lap I did another attack, getting away by myself. I went as hard as I could over the climb and kept going, looking behind I noticed Mesh had droped Jeannie and was chasing me by herself. I felt pretty good but knowing the 3 times elite time trial champion was chasing me down was a little daunting. With about 1 km to go Mesh caught me, and then attacked, I managed to get on her wheel (just) and pass her at the line. Was very happy with the race, legs felt fresh and fast! Now they just need to stay like that for the rest of the year..!


At the finish line, my lovely/relieved facial expression.

Tour of Chongming Island http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/87/Tour-of-Chongming-Island Wed, 24 Nov 2010 15:40:00 +1300 In early April I got selected to represent NZ at the Tour of Chongming Island and the World Cup. The team consisted of; Emma Peterson, Toni Bradshaw, Cath Cheatley, Meshy Holt and Rachel Mercer.

As soon as I crossed the finish line at nationals I jumped straight in the car and drove for about 5 hours to Auckland (From Hastings). Arriving at about 10pm, I packed my bike (well Dad packed my bike, I directed) and then got to sleep at about 11. Three hours later I was up and off to the airport.

The racing consisted of a three stage flat tour called ‘the Tour of Chongming Island’ and the UCI World Cup road race, which took place in Chongming Island - about an hours drive from Shanghai. This was my first proper overseas race with the elite women and I was both exited and nervous.

The first stage was called the “Shanghai Fusheng Cup” and was 72.5km long. We woke up to rain, cold and wind, which slightly lowered my excitement levels. The whole race I was concentrating on positioning near the front and keeping out of trouble, which was highly likely with the rain and narrow roads. There were many attacks with some people dropping off in the first km. At times the bunch would be strung out, single file and other times we would be cruising along all bunched up. The sprint started very early, just before the last corner 4 girls came off right in front of me and I managed to bunny hop over one of their back wheels, only just staying on my bike. The last km seemed very long as I tried to chase back up to the front part of the peleton, along with 40 others. Cath Cheatley was the best placed rider in 10th place with Emma and Rachel in 14th and 15th.

Finish of Stage 1, when it rains in Chongming, you get quit muddy.

The second stage was called the “Industrial Zone Cup” and was 80km long. The weather was a lot kinder to us with sun and warmth. Today I felt a lot more confident in the bunch; I started off near the front, feeling good. However when it got to the more narrow roads I spent a bit of time in the last half of the bunch, here I need to be more aggressive and push my way into gaps.. One thing I learnt is that cyclists are not polite when racing, you don’t let people in where you want to go (unless they are your team mate). Once again there were many attacks and surging but the bunch managed to stay relatively together (dropping a few). In the last 20 km I got to the front of the bunch thanks to Meshy Holt helping me out, she blocked the wind for me and sat in a position that no-body could push me around. She was basically teaching me how to hold my place and how important it is to stay at the front when coming close to the finish. On the last corner the speed went up dramatically, there was a big head wind to the finish and everyone took off, I went as hard as I could finishing about mid bunch. Cath was best placed Kiwi again finishing in 18th.

The third and last stage was called the “Chongming Xincheng Cup” which was again 80km long. This was a circuit race where we did laps of the city. The weather was again nice to us with some sun. It started off pretty fast, with lots of corners and attacks, luckily only one minor crash which the team managed to miss. Throughout the race I attempted a few attacks, one I got a small lead on the field with a few coming with me, but then no-body pulled through so the bunch caught us pretty fast, the other times also being unsuccessful. In the last 5km the pace was on, with the Cervelo team and HTC Columbia driving at the front (Ina Teutenberg from HTC Columbia and Kirsten Wild from Cervelo were almost on identical points so this was the deciding sprint to see which one would win the tour). I again finished in the bunch with Cath finishing 10th and Ina winning overall.





End of stage 3, last stage.



After the race we rode back to the Hotel and Cath managed to get hit by one of the crazy drivers. (I don’t know how the rest of us managed to stay on our bikes, the driving from China was insane). At the time she was by herself and ended up in the bush, luckily she was ok though, except for being knocked.


Just before start of World Cup, was freezing!! Getting some warm stuff rubbed on from Justin.


The next day was the UCI World Cup which was a 140km out and back race over this massive bridge. The majority of the race was pretty flat, until half way where we climbed just over 2 km on the bridge, then descended, turned at the bottom of the decent and went back up. The conditions were terrible, it was freezing, pouring down and windy. The whole race was extremely dodgy, I couldn’t see a thing through my glasses, they were covered in dirt, but I could not take them off because I would be able to see less. So I spent the whole race following outlines of people, I’m not too sure how I didn’t fall off. There were again many attacks and a few breakaways. Mesh got in a break away on the way back where she stayed away for a very long time, the bunch got caught with about 20km to go and from there the pace went on. At the finish Emma and Mesh got an awesome 8th and 9th place, with the rest of us finishing safely in the bunch.

Freezing cold after the race, sheltering infront of the van from the wind with about 20 layers on.

The next day we went for a trip to Shanghai, where we had a look around the shops and Rachel went up to the top of the tallest tower (it was a bit high for me). We then came back to the Hotel, packed our stuff and drove to the airport to come home.

Another amazing experience to add to my 2010 year, and a lot more learning completed.

Until next time

Courteney

Rotorua Tour http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/88/Rotorua-Tour Wed, 24 Nov 2010 15:08:00 +1300

The next weekend was the Rotorua Tour, another fun weekend which included 2 road races, a Time Trial and a Criterium.

Stage 1
This stage included a 60km road race. It was a relatively fast paced race with a few attacks, none being successful though. Was pretty much a full peleton sprinting for the line, I got boxed in with 300m to go, then did a bit of cross country over the grass and managed to push to the front to take the win.

Stage 2
This stage was a 10km Time Trial which started at the top of a relatively hard hill (about 1km long). Was very hard, going full gas for 10km and then crossing the line having used every last bit of energy. I got the fastest time at 13 minutes 39 with Ashleigh Neave a close 6 seconds behind.

Stage 3
Stage 3 included a 20 minute plus 3 lap criterium. It started off hard, with attack after attack. I got a few points throughout the race and then somebody hit my wheel with one lap to go which knocked my derailier and I got stuck in my hardest gear for the rest of the lap. Then coming around the last corner I was too far back and finished 4th.




Stage 4
The final stage included 5 laps of a 15km, relatively hilly circuit. This was a pretty negative race with no body pulling through. A group of about 5 of us did most of the pacing and attempted many attacks which people chased, then sat on. So getting away was pretty hard. We dropped about one third of the bunch and then Georgia Williams did an amazing sprint finish to win the stage, with me getting third.



Overall I won the tour by a close 13 seconds with Georgia Williams 2nd and Ashleigh Neave 3rd. Another fun and hard weekend of racing.



Untill next time =)


Courteney

Te Awamutu Tour http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/89/Te-Awamutu-Tour Wed, 24 Nov 2010 14:39:00 +1300 The Te Awamutu Tour is the first tour I had ever completed back in 2006. It is a great few days of racing with the top junior riders from around the country. Usually I would be doing it with the hope of being selected for the junior team to race in Canberra and Adelaide, but because I’m not a junior anymore it was just a good blow out before nationals. It involved 2 road races and a time trial with an overall Queen of the mountain and Sprint Ace winner.

The first stage was a typical women’s race with everybody ‘saving’ their legs and sitting on. A few of us had a go at getting away but were not successful. I managed to take out all of the QOM’s (Queen of the mountain) and a few points in the Sprint Ace, and then just managed to outsprint Courtney Grenfell for the overall (was very close).

The second stage was a bit more exiting as it had a few longer hills out Wharepapa South ways. Haley Mercer did a solid attack on the first climb which broke the field up. I then counter attacked her and a group of 7 of us got away. For the next 2 laps the 6 of us (we dropped one) worked well together, gaining about 7 minutes on the next group of riders. I also managed to take out all of the QOM points and most of the Sprint Ace points throughout the race and then outsprinted the bunch at the finish, which gave me a 5 second overall lead.




Finish of stage 2.

The next day was the Time Trial which was a 15 km out and back course. I put all I had into it and finished 2nd to a very strong Kerri-Anne Torckler. This putting me in second place. Overall it was a fun few days of racing, coming away with the QOM and Sprint Ace jerseys and a 2nd overall.

Sisterly bonding right before the start of tt, probly telling

me how bad my glasses look and that I should give them to her..

While dad gives me a leg massage.

Till next time,

Courteney

New Blog http://www.courteneylowe.com/blog/90/New-Blog Fri, 22 Jan 2010 20:18:00 +1300

Ive decided to start a blogsite to keep everyone updated with recent cycling results and doings.

Abit about my cycling;

Ever since I was young I have had a huge interest in sport and competition, then at age 14 I was introduced to cycling, and became completely obsessed. Heres a quick summary of my 2009 results;

- 1st overall in the Te Awamutu Junior selection tour
- 2nd in the Queen of the mountains (elite women grade)
- 3rd overall in the Elite women
* 1st in the timetrial in the Rotorua tour – elite women grade
* Selected for the New Zealand junior under 19 team
* 4th overall in the Canberra Junior tour- under 19 grade
* 1st overall in the Adelaide tour – under 19 grade
- 2nd overall in the elite women grade
* 1st in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty half distance champs- elite women grade
* 1st in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty timetrial champs- under 19 grade
* 1st in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Road champs - elite womens grade
* 1st in the National time trial championships – under 19 grade
* 1st in the National road cycling championships – under 19 grade

This year will be a good learning curve for me as i step up into the elite women. My goal is to make that transition as seamlessly as I can, doing the hard training work and to learn as much as i can, as well as i can.

until next time

Courteney