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All American Gal: The Kimberly Baldwin Diary 2005

Last year wasn't one of her best. After a close call with cancer at the end of 2003, newlywed Kim Baldwin (nee Bruckner) was hoping to come back and represent her country at the Athens Games, but apart from a podium finish at the Tour de L'Aude, 2004 didn't quite live up to expectations. However, cycling's all-American gal is looking to the future with new objectives and a new-look T-Mobile cycling team. Let's see how she goes...

December 14, 2005

A new team with the old gang

My greatly coveted off-season has come to a close. (Well, it actually came to a close a few months ago.)

I'd say it was a successful one too, as I got in an entire first season of LOST and Desperate Housewives, a mountain bike trip to Crested Butte, and one more surgery to help my feet look a little nicer. Now it's time for the work to begin.

It was a bit of a nerve-wracking few months, as I didn't know what my team situation was going to be for 2006, or if I would even HAVE a team situation. But the sleepless nights and patience paid off... more than I ever could have imagined. Deutsche Telekom came through with flying colors... or should I say flying pink and black?

For the past three years, our sponsorship money has come from T-Mobile USA. This would no longer be the case, as they wanted to put their marketing dollars elsewhere. So our never-failing manager, Bob Stapleton, flew to the head offices in Germany, and convinced Deutsche Telekom that he could put together a kick-ass team with their support. And they went with it!

Now it's as if the old gang is getting back together, with other great riders joining as well. I'll be riding alongside my old Saturn teammates Judith Arndt, 2004 world champion, Lyne Bessette, and Ina Teutenberg... a indomitable force right there. Returning from last year's T-Mobile team, besides Ina and myself, will be Mari Holden and Rebecca Much. And rounding out our international roster is American Kim Anderson, French superstar Magali LeFloch, German wunderkind Christina Becker and Canadian Amy Moore, a girl I've always wanted to be teammates with. For a team that came together rather late in the game, it's an amazing roster and one that T-Mobile is really excited about. Oh yes, did I mention how excited I am too?? Talk about giving me motivation to train!

The team headed to Munich the first weekend in December for a photo shoot and get-together with the management team. In his email prior to the trip, Bob wrote to remind us to look sharp. I was hoping they'd hire a good make-up artist because I never look super sharp after a ten-hour flight and eight-hour jet lag. The travel was a little rough for some of us, a little rougher for others. Ina traveled the farthest as she's spending the winter in Sydney, Australia. I was on my way to the Denver airport that morning to head to Munich when I got a message on my Blackberry from Ina. "Bloody hell, I've already traveled 14 hours and I'm only in Bangkok!" I just hoped she had some good sleeping pills.

I've got to say, I absolutely love the German work ethic. As soon as Amy and I stepped out of customs, I saw a guy holding a "T-Mobile" sign. They whisked us off to our swank hotel in downtown Munich and before we could even check into our rooms, they had us down in the "fitting" room to pick up our new clothes. We were fit for our riding kits for the upcoming season, and then given a nice collection of Adidas casual wear. I love Adidas! Since Amy and I were the first to arrive (Ina STILL hadn't made it yet), we took the extra time to walk downtown and find the Christmas market and gluwein stands that everyone had been telling us about. Gluwein is this hot wine mulled with spices, and they were selling it everywhere along the Fussganger zone.

Later that afternoon, we had our first meeting as a full team. The vibe was great. You could just tell. This is going to be a very fun group of women and a great team. As someone told me, "There are no bitches on this team!"

Saturday was picture day. And yes, thank goodness, there were not one but two make-up artists to help us look beautiful. The photos were really fun and the clothes were great. I have no idea where these pictures might show up, but I really can't wait to see them. Some of the shots were quite interesting!

It was a super brief trip but really fun. T-Mobile is a great organization and such a supporter of cycling. It's an honor to be a part of this team. The potential is great and we're being given every opportunity to succeed. Anyway, here's to a new racing season, a new team, and all the anticipation and excitement that comes with it.

Happy holidays and we'll see you racing soon!