The off season is calling but first we gotta “work work work work” for those stripes

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As the season begins to draw to a close, I find that I’m reaching some of the hardest weeks of the year. I can almost smell the hamburger & bravas, and taste the cider on my lips. The off season is calling, a mere few weeks away, but I need to stay focused and motivated for the biggest task at hand: the World Championships in Qatar.

I am focusing all my energy and emotion into doing everything I can physically and mentally do, to help Australia achieve those rainbow stripes. I’ve been pumped up about these world championships for the longest time now, because I truly believe we are sending one of the strongest, most capable teams suited to winning on this course.

I’ll be racing alongside past and present teammates from trade teams, as well as good friends, which makes it that more special in my eyes. We’ve all come up together at roughly the same time, all growing, learning and fighting to wear those green and gold colours. To be the best.

For me, I’ve been fighting all year to make the team for worlds, through highs and lows, I’ve actually done it. I’ve achieved the first step. Now, I just need to line up on the day in the best possible form and head space, that’s the easy part now, the majority of the hard work has been done.

It’s this time of the year, that I begin to reflect on the season as a whole. Firstly, sport related, did I achieve what I wanted to achieve? What were my biggest highs and lows? What could I have done differently? What areas can I improve upon? What do I want out of next season? As a person, have I grown? Have I learnt more about myself, than I knew last year? Am I proud of myself and my achievements? Can I do more? A trap that I often find myself falling into, is having these grand ideas, big plans, and then never being able to follow through on all of them. That is one thing I aim to improve upon leading into 2017. Set big goals, however, be realistic, set time frames, and stop over committing to too many things, and people. I joked just the other day that I wished I could be 5 different people so I could do everything I wanted to do in my head.

So, you might be thinking, what about post worlds? What are the things I’m most looking forward to? Well, I’m planner, so through the past few months, I’ve been planning out my few weeks off. And they are rather jam packed, just the way I like it! I’ll be getting back on my bike and resuming my training in South Africa this year, which is something new and exciting for me.

Here are the 5 things I’m most looking forward to in the off season:

1. Getting inked. It’s happening people! Anyone who knows anything about me, knows all about my best friend Carlee, and our antics. Well, on October 17th with my bff, PIC, #myperson, Carlee Taylor and I are getting matching tattoos. We’ve been planning this for a little while now, and have committed. It’s happening people. Carlee and I are taking our friendship to the next level.

2. Getaway. Post worlds, it is tradition that my bestie and I go on a little getaway to celebrate another year of racing, another year of friendship, and just to let our hair down a bit, and explore this amazing world…without the bike for once. The deal is, whoever doesn’t race worlds, has to plan the trip. So, the pressure in on Carlee for this one…don’t fail me now Carlee. I’m dropping the hints that I want to head to Budapest, or Prague for a quick getaway. Lets see if she listens on this one.

3. Getting “frocked up” for Girona gala charity dinner. This is the first year I’m hanging around Girona a bit later than previously. For me, Europe feels like home, and home is where your heart is…and my heart is definitely here now. On October 22nd, a friend of mine, Nathan Haas is hosting a gala in Girona, to raise money for the charity “Quebeca”. You can click through to purchase tickets, and come join us pros for a good night out raising funds for a great cause.

4. Heading back to the homeland. I’ll be heading back to South Africa for the first time in over 10 years to visit my extended family, and spend some quality time with my parents. From JoBurg to Capetown, I’ll be exploring SA on my bike, and motor bike with my dad. Any one reading this from the Cape or JoBurg, and wants to take me out riding, hit me up!

5. The Aussie summer. Home is such a loose term. I feel like Girona is home now, however, the Gold Coast will always have a part of my heart. It’s where everything began for me, and it’s where some of my dearest friends and family live. However, I still get this feeling of displacement…This year will be different though, as I’ll be bringing back a little slice of Europe with me, my boyfriend Hannes. It’s his first time down under, and he really has no idea what to expect. Summer in Belgium vs. summer in Australia are two very different things. Did I mention he isn’t a fan of the heat? Nothing like 5 a.m. wake-ups to meet the bunchies, 30-35 degrees with 80-90% humidity before 9 a.m., to settle in post jet lag.

This list of what I’m most looking forward to is being put on the back burner for now. A nice thought to have in the back of my mind, however, it’s full steam ahead in preparing for the final, and most important race of my season, the World Championships, where we have a red hot chance at those stripes!

Loren Rowney is a professional rider for Orica-AIS. The South-African born Australian lives in Girona, Spain during the European cycling season.
Pictured: Rowney during the 2012 UCI Road World Championships in Valkenburg.

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