The Mehlting Pot: New Beginnings

I like new beginnings. At the start of every New Year I don't buy in to making resolutions, but I do love sitting down at my desk on the first work day of the year and letting that feeling of fresh opportunities wash over me. The range of possibilities is endless! Of course reality sets in within a few days and by the middle of the month the papers pile up and that good feeling of renewal is but a distant memory..but it was nice while it lasted!

I now have a new beginning with Astana Cycling Team. I must admit waiting, hoping, and dreaming of being hired to write for Johan's new team was a little unnerving at times. My husband even claims I was somewhat grouchy during December. I don't believe this to be true, of course, but I will fess up to being more than a little distracted while I tried to be patient and wait for things to be sorted out by the higher ups of the new Team Astana.

Quite truthfully it was nearly unbearable to think of not moving to Astana Cycling Team. After working for Johan and the stellar staff he builds around his teams I just wanted to still be part of it. I wanted to be in on the ground floor of the start of a new adventure led by Bruyneel and friends, it was just that simple. Looking back to see how far he took US Postal and Discovery Channel was easily enough to convince me that great things are possible with this brand new effort. Now I can proudly say I am part of it, along with my mentor and friend Chris Brewer. I guess I have to say, "Happy New Year to me!" I think the pod of dolphins I photographed swimming near our boat on New Year's Eve brought me and the new Team Astana good luck for 2008! Never underestimate the power of the pod...

With the Tour Down Under added to the Pro Tour calendar the season opener is now less than a week away. Under the guidance of DS Sean Yates the team will take to the roads of South Australia as the new Astana Cycling Team. I imagine that the riders sense the significance of the moment too as this restructured team takes center stage to show the world that teamwork, grace under pressure, a competitive spirit and the desire to succeed will drive the team all season long. It will probably take several months of working together before the team feels like a cohesive unit, but the moments will happen at race after race: the "old" guys will perform for the "new" guys, or vice versa; the sacrifices will pay off in a well-placed contender; an all-out team effort will shake up a race. The moments will add up as the new team is solidified and we will all be there cheering loudly for the riders - old and new - as we get to know the new Astana Team.

Up-coming live action for me will be a few days at camp in Albuquerque and then the entire Amgen Tour of California, so with much to look forward to I say, "Welcome to the 2008 Professional Cycling Season and to the new Team Astana!" First race reports will be from the Tour Down Under which runs January 20-27th.

(Now all I have to do is learn to spell Albuquerque and Kazakhstan without using spell check every time!) - Cathy