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Posted on 12/15/2009 12:59:00 PM

Well, I didn't win...AGAIN! But Nationals was awesome!

First off, I was wished well in each airport on my way. Bilbao, Frankfurt, Dulles, Portland...It was pretty cool to have strangers walk up to me and tell me that they were hoping for me and that regardless, they were psyched with my 8th place at the World Cup last weekend and my results this year and the years past. Me too! So it was really nice to hear. Neat feeling. Then, I arrived to 2 members of the Planet Bike family, who had driven all the way to Portland to pick me up so that I didn't have to spend the night there before catching another flight in the morning. The whole Planet Bike team is just plain nice. Supportive, encouraging, fun, nice...They just create such a great atmosphere. I don't think there could be a better team. Really. I shared a suite with Bob Downs, the owner of Planet Bike, who wouldn't move from the sofa bed and gave me the king size in my own room...Where do you find THAT???? hmmm...owner of the company that pays my bills and for the hotel is now sleeping on the couch.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to Bob coming over to Belgium to hang out and do some racing toward the end of January. From the first morning, I didn't go anywhere without someone wishing me luck or THANKING ME for coming all the way to Nationals or telling me they were proud of my results this season...literally hundreds!! I was trying to explain how the enormous the positive atmosphere and all the people felt this year to Cori...It wasn't possible I don't think. You had to be there to see it and hear it but I want to thank every single person that came to talk to me because it was really unbelievable. It was a great feeling. For the first time, I felt like people, a LOT of people, really understood what I was doing. How hard I work. How dedicated I am. It was an amazing feeling! I am not forgotten in the USA while I race in Europe...I just didn't realize how many people actually follow me and care!

THANK YOU!!! (maybe this Facebook and Twitter stuff IS a good thing...:-)) and then AT the venue...I had THOUSANDS of fans! I couldn't believe it! Each year I seem to have more and more fans. More and more cheering. Louder and louder. This year REALLY topped it. Many of my sponsors were there, including of course Planet Bike (they are the reason I can race my bike for a living), Blue (who I got to discuss more with about a future in the sport, which of course makes me smile), Edge (who really showed me how comitted they are to sponsoring me), Shimano (who got me hooked right up with the parts I needed to get the bikes running smoothly again), Vermarc (who took us out to a fantastic dinner), HSP (Toddsky there to rev me up!) and Specialized (who had new shiny shoes waiting for me when I arrived). I had tons of friends and family that came out too and TONS of people I barely know or have never met!! The people in Bend were awesome! Everyone who traveled in was awesome!! All the cheering was UNBELIEVABLE!!! I felt welcome! I felt liked! I even felt LOVED!!! Thank you all SO SO MUCH for all the cheering and support and congratulations...

I also want to thank all the fans that were sitting in front of their computers on Sunday from around the WORLD!!! I've AGAIN received hundreds of emails and notes on Facebook from all different countries and so many messages on my Belgian phone that I've run out of money on it!! I can't thank you all enough for making this the most fun Nationals I've ever had!! !!!! Lots of work to get there and all but you guys really showed me that I made the right decision to come!! Now I am in Arizona for a couple of days of family time and sun before I head off to Belgium for the next World Cup this SUnday...Keep the support coming. I really do appreciate it! I'll try to pull another good result off in the coming weeks and then focus on the Worlds! I'm off on a coffee shop ride with Cori now.

Until Sunday...MY SUPPORTERS RULE!!!!

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