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What a way to kick off 2017 with the Colavita/ Bianchi crew. It was an incredible week getting to know everyone and bonding over some comical times.

I am currently blogging from Tucson, Arizona where I will be staying for the next few months. The legend Kathryn Bertine has put together an amazing athlete house under the name of the Homestretch Foundation ( I feel so fortunate to be based here and even more so after what was a challenging winter back home in the UK.

2 months ago I had surgery to repair my iliac artery. The walls of the artery had thickened, narrowing the vessel resulting in a loss of blood flow, a condition called iliac artery endofibrosis. Blood flow to your legs isn’t overrated in this sport… The surgeon chopped open my iliac and femoral artery and patched them back together using a bovine patch (a piece of cow heart believe it or not). I spent 4 days in hospital bringing the average age on the vascular ward right down. The next 2 weeks were spent hobbling around like a hunch back. I found joy in all the first timers; like putting my socks on and mustering up the strength in my abs to brew coffee in my aeropress!

After 6 weeks of sedentary life and strict instructions to keep my blood pressure low I was able to get back on the bike for a whole 20 mins. By the end of the first week I flew out to Phoenix to join the team in Scottsdale, AZ. I had to keep a tight rein on my heart rate during camp, capped at a leisurely 130bpm allowing me to take in the scenery and cacti! I was able to tag onto the back for the easy rides then jump into the van.

During camp we were thoroughly spoilt by some of our amazing sponsors. Watching the sunset whilst dining at Orange Sky was a really special treat from Colavita. Another highlight from the week was the team building at Escape the room. We may have been locked in but only because we are collectively too smart that we overthought it…

<em>This year we will race our hearts out for Ellen Watters who tragically passed away in December. Heart shaped stickers on our top tubes will remind us to keep fighting and finding new limits. Let’s make #EllensLaw a reality, she will not be forgotten.</em>