From Cambridge to Gold Coast via Abu Dhabi

March 16th, 2015 by

Lisa Norden first off the bike in Abu Dhabi

It was the long way to Australia from New Zealand this time. A stop in Abu Dhabi was certainly not enroute but as my gold status with Star Alliance runs out next month I try as I hard as I can on accumulating miles. Or no, actually no I don’t.

I don’t chase miles for a living, I chase points.

Eventually wins.

And after having chased around on a few conti points in NZ the offering in the UAE was humongous in comparison. But it was a gamble. My achilies said enough was enough after the race in Takapuna and I had only been able to do “runs” on the crosstrainer to conserve my fitness. And it’s not the same. It’s like trying to swim a 400m pb doing breaststroke only. It’s close to impossible. But the flights were booked and there was that chance that I could hold it together.

I survived the 22hr long travel only to be told my bike did not. After a few days I found out it had decided to stay in Sydney. I don’t blame it, Sydney is a nice place. But while it (the bike) was eating Tim Tams drinking Foster Specialized was scrambling for a spare bike for me in Abu Dhabi. They found one (heros) and slowly I started to feel more comfortable looking at my racesuit.

The course was technical and eventually it would show that chasing a mountain biking boyfriend offseason was well invested time for me. Even if I (more than occasionally) get told off that my cornering skills are questionable and my lack of keeping speed and choosing lines could be about 99% procent better – I still hold my ground on the ITU circuit.

I had a good swim and could quite quickly bridge up to the front group together with Flora. I knew she was the wheel to suck going through the technical bits – and without planning it we got a gap on the front group. A little breakaway, when did that happen last? Probably in Lausanne 2010 when me, Daniela Ryf and Moffat got away in the sprint world champs. I won the title that year. But then I had two good achilies and lots of running in the bank. Different story.

But it’s a great form of racing, its hard but fun and it normal pays off.

Rosie Hall bridged up to us and eventually also training partner Lindsey Jerdonek and Katie Zafares (who unfortunately – for her, did get dropped on the last lap). We made up a lot of time on the last lap and had just short of a minute to the main group hitting T2.

I was first in – and first off. 

After the years being away from the circuit it was such a good feeling to find myself back in this position again. 

I was here, I was racing  – and I belonged.

That is until everyone started running. Achilles, right I remembered…

I did get through the 5k’s but not much more. Coach would have cringed if he saw me out on the course. Luckily he was spared and the cameras had shifted their attention to the pointy end of the race. 

Where Flora was flying the breakaway flag high claiming 3rd place (well done Gwen for yet another monstrous run).

I finished 21st – and I did manage to get some points.

Mission completed.

After a day at the Yas Island beach I got back on the plan to catch up with the coach and the rest of D-Squad at the Gold Coast.

Two weeks of training (and mainly rehabbing) before surviving another one of these in Auckland end of March.

Better things to come


Lisa Norden biking in Abu Dhabi

Enroute to course training with my borrowed Specialized tarmac.


Lisa Norden and Calle Friberg

With stand in coach and boyfriend calle friberg post race