Lauren Hall

Professional cyclist from the state of Mississippi

Good morning from Australia

One thing I asked for Christmas, more time with mom and dad, it went by to FAST! We had a great visit and I'm glad I had the opportunity to show them around Tucson for a brief couple of days.

Happy holidays!!

We tried some phone app to do this, it works, I guess.

One of Santa's gifts. 

But lets back up to the beginning of December.  I had team camp in Medellin, Colombia and it was amazing! I was a little nervous after learning about the soccer team plane crashing and we were headed to the same location but after knowing the facts and circumstances, I was excited to see a new country.  Prior to Medellin, we spent 3 days in Minnesota with our head sponsor, UnitedHealthcare, and had our team launch(media, photos, meetings).  The team is a men's and women's program so there are a lot of moving parts when you include the staff, riders, management and it all went very smoothly and on time.  Kudos to the ladies that were in charge of us.  

My teammates are so wonderful, everyone is a team player and ready to have some fun racing their bikes.  We have a mix of nationalities - that's the norm on a UCI team like this - New Zealand, Australian, Colombian, American and staff is from England and Ireland and that's just the women's team.

The girls: Lauretta, Ruth, Katie, Rushlee, Tayler, myself, Shawn, Diana.  Two missing: Janelle and Kate. 

One of the camp photos. I'm 3rd from the left.

Medellin is beautiful, the weather was warm and humid, the people were so friendly and accepting of cyclists on the road and the food was wonderful.  Medellin's elevation is around 6,500ft, so that was a struggle but I really had a great time.  

Upon arrival in Medellin, the mechanics were hard at work building all the bikes - men's and women's. 

Every morning, breakfast was flatbread, cheese, eggs and ham.

Our fruit and snacks selection....

Our family dog, Chocolate, he was so sweet.

Waiting for dinner, we colored, yes, seriously. 

Riding around Medellin we got to see a lot on the road, including horses being run down the street.

I love some of the street signs! 

Kitty crossing....


Just some great sights on the road.

At the top of one of the climbs, this is Medellin in the background.

I like how they think of 'grilling'. 

The wonderful ladies of the house making a special dessert that is only served during christmas, it was yummy.

The staff treated us to a once in a lifetime experience.  These buses are popular for festivals and the people on the bus have a big party as the bus goes from town to town, spreading the fun. We had a 3 piece band and we sang and danced on the bus, heading to dinner. 

On the bus..

We ladies went to town one afternoon and enjoyed some local fare, again such a cool experience. 

These are the bunuelos, slightly sweet, mostly savory but so delicious and freshly made. 

We specifically rode to this town to see this massive rock.  What you can't see in the photo is the set of stairs that goes up the side of the rock near the white part of the rock.  Anyone up for the challenge? 

Christmas came fast after camp but Santa was able to get everyone covered and we had a great time, it just went to fast.  

After mom and dad left, Brad and I trained and tried to incorporate some normal people stuff in on the low volume days of training.  One of the fun outings we had, we went to The Mini Time Machine Miniature Museum in Tucson.  I've seen this place for the last three years and wanted to go.  It was fun and way different than anything I've ever seen.  I think it's worth the $18 to see, so next time you are in Tucson and think you've seen it all......

I'm pointing at these to give an idea of how tiny these detailed items are, as big as my finger! It's amazing! Could you imagine how steady your hands had to be? 

Normal size Waterford crystal and miniature size. 

We spent time with friends, cyclists and non cyclists.  Gail and Kevin, our friends for the last couple of years had us over for New Year's Eve dinner and drinks, it was perfect.  Great food, lots of laughs with friends and a little champagne to toast to the new year. I hope you all had a good holiday season as well. 

After the new year, Brad and I had finished our house sitting gig, so we are staying in the Homestretch Foundation house.  It's Kathryn Bertine's new endeavor, supporting female cyclists trying to make it to the elite level of cycling by offering them a free place to train in the winter to propel them into the upcoming season, prepared and ready.  It's an enormous house, lots of space and if you need a place to train, it's available to all athletes, men and women at different times of the year.  I know she is booked right now through February but check out her website for availability and more information. We are there at the moment as mentors for the younger riders who are coming in.  

Even the pros fall down, in the one bit of water in Tucson.  I might have laughed a lot. He was a good sport about it. 

And now the season is kicking off here in Adelaide, Australia.  We are racing the Santos Tour Down Under and Cadel Evan's road race.  My schedule that I know right now:

January 14-17 : Santos Tour Down Under                                       

January 26, 28 : Cadel Evans criterium and road race

March 30-April 2 : Joe Martin Stage race, Fayetteville, Arkansas\

April 8, 9th : Sunny King criterium and Anniston road race, Anniston, Alabama

April 19-23: Tour of the Gila, Silver City, New Mexico

April 30: Dana Point criterium, Dana Point, CA

May 3-7: Redlands Bicycle Classic, Redlands, CA

May 11-14: Tour of California, Lake Tahoe, CA

May 27, 29: Winston Salem criterium and road race, Winston-Salem, N.C. 

June 4: Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

June 9-11: Tulsa Tough, Tulsa, Oklahoma

June 23-25: National Championships, Knoxville, TN

That's all I have at the moment and once we know about set races I will update the blog.  

Reading: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Watching: nothing

Eating: drinking coffee at the moment, from Presta Coffee Roasters

Listening: Stars by Future Generations

Website: uhcprocycling.com

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