The Scott Sunderland Diary 2002

Had enough of it

Belgium, March 22, 2002

Seriously, I've had enough of it, training that is.

It feels like I've been training since the beginning of time, and I've been through every stage of the process: The feeling-sorry-for myself phase, the anger phase, the impatience phase, the "CBF" (couldn't be f****d) phase, the irritation phase, etc.

Kim Andersen has kept in touch all along and I think he felt it coming too. He's held a spot for me in the teams scheduled to do the last couple of races but it would have been suicidal for me to enter competition any earlier. I'm eager but not a total yobbo.

My legs are now crying out for the sweet pain and punishment of racing and my head is starting to think ahead of my physical condition: I want to race!

Since the end of last season, I have raced four days, in the Tour Down Under. And as those first races didn't really match racing over here in Europe, it honestly feels like I have been training for the last four months!

Now training is good, training is fun, especially when you can train with guys who are at your level of fitness. But I can tell you, since I got back on the bike late February, all I have been doing is trying to catch up to my training mates. Serge Baguet is flying at this stage, and so are Peter Van Petegem, Geert Van Bondt, Andreas Klier and the rest of the blokes.

At first, I was sitting on the rivet just riding alongside a cruising Van Petegem, but the last few rides have been a lot less strenuous for me. I'm not completely wasted after training like I was last week; and I feel I'm recuperating faster also. I even had enough breath to laugh when the guys were telling jokes.

"Baguetje" reckons I'll have enough form to start racing end of this month - it's always good to hear someone else's comments, especially if they're good - well, next Sunday (Brabantse Pijl) that might just be the case. I've had a meeting with Kim yesterday evening and we worked out my program for the near future.

I have to say, I've been an amused spectator during these first couple of months of competition; it hasn't been boring!

The other day, I got a distressed call from new-pro Trent Wilson, riding for the Australian He and the other neo-pro's in his team had been racing some cobbled sections in Wanzele and Nokere Koerse (1.3) and he was all shaken, literally and figuratively.

I'll try and join them on training in the near future and teach them a few tricks of the trade; that is, if there are any to pass on concerning riding on the cobbles. On thing not to do is to watch a Museeuw, Tchmil and a Tafi on video floating over the cobbles as if on air. It would completely do your head in.

Sean Sullivan, riding for "Bloksweiler", on the other hand seemed to have found his niche right away. After arriving in Europe only a few days before, he managed to put in a fantastic ride and was victorious in the infamous Kattekoers (1.6) in Ieper. Good on ya mate!

So, what's on the agenda for the coming days and weeks?

I'm definitely going back into competition. It looks like my friend and business partner, Lawrie Cranley, from Bikestyle Pty. Ltd., will have to take on a few tasks that were sort of scheduled as mine during the Classics Period, but as I'll be in Belgium during the second half of the trip, we'll have plenty of opportunities to catch up.

Michael Stechow, someone who has suffered immensely after being the victim of a drunk driver, has developed this great plan in co-operation with Sabine and Lawrie. Michael, a lawyer working with the UN in Kossovo, came over to Brussels to renew his passport and he picked up the gloves I promised him (see last update). We met up for a few rides, got talking and over the three days he spent in Belgium, we realized we had a lot in common.

He's mad about cycling and he's found a way to bring seven Kosovars, of different ethnic backgrounds, to the Ardennes Classics! All this in an attempt to re-establish the cycling scene in the former Yugoslavian country. Michael has direct access to the highest level of Sport Authorities in Kossovo and his love for the sport has given him the courage and stamina to pull of this stunt in a matter of weeks!

In case you happen to see our group alongside the parcours of the Ardennes Classics, in Yellow (Rain) jackets and with Red Caps, give them a friendly welcome.

Needless to say, Lawrie, Sabine and myself, along with Gerard Knapp, Dr. Jones and the rest of the crew from Cyclingnews, feel very honoured to be part of this project, which is supported by the United Nations and which we hope gets full co-operation during this embryonic phase from the Belgian Cycling Federation and later on from the UCI.

So people, I'll end this update informing you that Brabantse Pijl will more than likely be my first race back. I finished second in that one last year, was on the podium next to Michael Boogerd and Axel Merckx. This year, I'll be happy to finish! After that I'll be riding Paris-Camembert (3rd in 2001), Route de Adélie (near Rennes) and then GP Rennes (2nd in 2001).

Give me some time to get back into the swing of things. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Team fakta website revamped

Finally, our team's website - - has recently undergone a facelift, and is now "unofficially" live. The site has both Danish and English sections, which are regularly updated. You'll be able to find the latest news and results of the team, details of our upcoming races, team and rider bios, photos, sponsors, links and contact information. Take a look for yourselves.

Your humble diarist,

PS: For your information, your Cyclingnews editor Dr. Jones is one of the few cycling journalists I know who are actually quite skilled at riding a pushbike. Jeff arrived in Belgium on the 20th of March. The day after, we bumped into him riding alongside the Kanal. He rode no less than 100kms that day; without having the appropriate clothing to ride in the Belgian spring weather; very impressive!

Editor's note: Thank you Scott :-) After coming from 30 degree temperatures in Sydney, I consider myself extremely fortunate that it didn't rain, unlike today...