It’s Spratty here. Long time reader, first time blogger for Voxwomen during the 2023 season. What’s the saying? Never too old to learn new tricks… 😉
To set things straight from the get go – I’m Aussie and we are generally comfortable with going to nicknames pretty quickly. I feel like in the cycling bubble I would be better off changing my name to Spratty Spratt. Amanda just feels odd. Even my Mum will yell “Go Spratty” at any bike race she attends. I will even let you in on a little secret… If you’re in a race with me and call me Amanda I will immediately know you’re not my friend… try Spratty and we might have more to talk about 😉.
With that introduction and important topic off my chest let’s get back to the 2023 season. I already have 9 race days in the legs which started at the Bay Crits on January 1st but more importantly than that I have some amazing memories with my new team that give me all the happy feelings heading into the European season.
As most of you would know, after 11 years with GreenEDGE cycling I have embarked on a new adventure with Trek-Segafredo. As new seasons go, this one has been pretty great so far. The Aussie Road Nats were my first official race with Trek-Segafredo and we had a small but mighty team there in Brodie Chapman, Lauretta Hanson and me. Led by our fearless leader Koen de Kort making his DS debut, we sorted out our race plan and logistics sitting in the local pub enjoying a carb-heavy meal the night before the race. No beers in sight but plenty of motivation for what lay ahead.
As DS debuts go, this was a great one for Koen. The race played out into our hands and we could make the most of it with Brodie crossing the line solo to become Aussie Champ. I’ve raced alongside Brodie for years but only been teammates a few times on National team duties. I was SO excited to see her take the win and felt like it was a really just reward after years of working tirelessly for her teammates. She even backed it up with a bronze medal in the ITT which keeps Koen’s DS record at podium level. No pressure next time…
Next up: Tour Down Under. To sum this up: let’s talk about 1km shall we. Stage 2: caught with 700m to go. Stage 3: caught with 1km to go. Let’s just say I’ve started a petition to have these finish lines shortened by 1km next year and your support would be greatly appreciated 😉.
What was so special about TDU was the chance to integrate fully into my new team. Race alongside new teammates, meet and work with different staff and get to know how everything runs. It was an amazing race with my team and even though we didn’t finish with the win (kudos to Grace Brown and FdJ) I think we threw everything we had at it. I was so proud of the team and grateful for the belief the team had in me.
Interesting observations coming out of the week were that Germans are not always as punctual as they make out (I will refrain from naming the rider 😉), Italians will always be crazy about coffee (Yaya even brought her coffee and mokka pot from Italy), koalas will always be one of the cutest animals you can see in the wild (even for an Aussie) and Geerike, our swanny, would definitely win the World Tetris Championships (who knew that four people, a large dog, 2 bikes, 2 bike bags, 3 big suitcases and 2 backpacks could all fit inside a medium car).
Last on the Aussie trip was the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Another hard fought battle and another 2nd place for me. I have to admit I felt a little frustrated after the finish line and disappointed I couldn’t get the win after the hard work of my team.
Two moments from after the race stick out to me. The first was seeing Val Ryan, the wife of Gerry who owns GreenEDGE team. It was such a happy moment and heart-warming to see how happy Val was for me even though I am in different colours now. It was a great reminder to me of how far I’ve come but that just because you may change paths it doesn’t mean people stop supporting you.
The second moment was walking into the accommodation to the happiness, cheers and hugs from my teammates. My mood immediately lifted and I felt so happy and grateful to see how proud and happy for me they were. They gave everything out there on the road, and so did I. Even if it didn’t end in the win. I’ve always been such a big believer in surrounding yourself with good people. 2023 is only just beginning but I am so happy and grateful for all the new people that have entered my life over the last few of months and can’t wait to experience the highs and inevitable lows with all of “my people” over the coming year.
Until next time,