Trine Schmidt blog: Looking forward to ride for Team VIRTU Cycling Women

Courtesy of (Danish version)

The turn of the year makes a lot of people to look back on the year that has passed these day. Naturally, I have also looked back in my own little bubble – and cycling wise, the conclusion is that 2017 has been good. On the track, it’s much better than what I expected – and there is no doubt that my results have “saved” my year. That’s not to say that the road race season has been a failure, but honestly there has been some time between the successes, and especially the nationals Grindsted was a big disappointment. But – it has been my first real year back at the highest level and it has taught me that things take time. Having said that, it is my clear expectation that the level will be improved in 2018.

And that’s the year we’ve gone into now!

This also means that I have said goodbye to the Belgian team Lotto-Soudal Ladies, and has officially become part of the Danish Team VIRTU Cycling Women. It feels good and I’m really looking forward to wearing the dark blue jersey (which I think is pretty cool) and it does not take long before I can show it off.

In a week, I travel with Team VIRTU Cycling Women to Australia to participate in a series of races in January. I am looking forward to the reunion with this amazing country – even though I’m not just going to be tourist down there. It will be something of an early season start, but I’m very motivated and looking forward to getting started. It will be exciting to meet the other riders and staff on the team – some I know from beforehand and others are completely new to me.

In Australia, Team VIRTU Cycling Women is Louise Norman Hansen, Emilie Moberg, Linda Villumsen, Barbara Guarischi, Kasia Pawlowska and myself. Barbara and Kasia I do not know personally at all, but I know Louise and Linda well. I rode in Emilie’s team for a short while in 2010, and I look forward to getting to know her better.

It will be good to see Linda again. I have known her since I was a junior rider. At several championships we have shared a room and, as time went by, we have developed a warm friendship. However, we have never ridden on the same pro team, so it will be fun.

I also look forward to working with Carmen Small, Team VIRTU Cycling Women’s new sports director. I do not know her so well, but the first impression is promising well for the future.

Obviously, I’m not yet in the top shape, but I hope I’ll ride some races in Australia with a good feeling in my body. In addition, it will also be a good preparation for the upcoming European season – and not least the track World Championship at the end of February.

I have had a fall with a couple of weeks winter break and a couple of unexpected Track World Cups in Canada and Chile. In view of this, I really needed some kilometers in my legs. That’s why I spent 22 days over Christmas and New Years in Spain to train under a little warmer sky. When I have talked to people at home in Denmark, I have not missed the cold winter weather – it has been optimal conditions for me in Costa Blanca and everything has gone as it should. There’s nothing to complain about. The area north of Alicante really invites you to ride with good roads, caring cars, sun and warmth. Additionally, there are good flight options from Copenhagen, and the prices of accommodation are cheap.

However, for the Australian summer, I have been deliberately overdressed on my training rides. The temperatures I face in January in Australia will undoubtedly give me some challenges the first week. I know from experience that it takes me 5-6 days to get used to very high degrees of heat. Therefore, with inspiration from the Danish World Championship preparations in Qatar, I have tried to “heat-train”. My thermo clothing, hats, mittens and shoe wear have probably been cause of some disbelief among several in Spain. And I must admit that I understand if they think I’ve been a fool to look at. But, if it works, it’s well worth it. At least I’ve been sweating a lot and avoiding the ugly bicycle tan lines (I’m sure I’ll get it soon). Nevertheless, it will be exciting to feel if I feel it has some sort of effect.

In addition to road race calendar with Team VIRTU Cycling Women, the special with 2018 is that it is the year in which the Olympic qualification starts. Indirectly, the fight is already going on on the track, but officially it will not start until summer. My dreams are towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and so I am looking forward to the coming challenges.

In December, Team Danmark, in collaboration with DCU, approved the project of a Danish women’s pair in madison. A decision, I think many in cycling received happily, since the prospects for success in that discipline immediately look promising. Denmark has ridden two international races in the fall. First with a fourth place at the European Championship in Berlin, and later with a World Cup silver medal in Chile. Results that show that Denmark – without much specific training – can join in where it’s fun. The decision that Team Denmark will support the madison race has of course also meant that more women have been interested in pursuing the Olympics 2020. I think that is only healthy for the development of Danish women’s cycling – in both the short and the long term. There will be a fight for the two spots.

I believe that Denmark can make a very competitive pair in the coming years towards the Olympics and the project is in good hands with the Danish track coaches – who time after time have showed that they are delivering good results.

Happy New Year!!