Interviewing Nathan (Chookman) Russell from the Colavita-Bolla Pro Cycling
team. His thoughts on the Wachovia Trenton race - 5th June.
did you prepare for todayís race, head wise, especially after Lancaster?
Mentally the head fell off for the drive home after Lancaster. It was a slap
in the face if you thought your had form, then after speaking to Matt White (US
Postal) he reassured me that it was top notch and some big hitters were shocked
at the throttle being wide open for so long. I gave myself a good talking too
and after an espresso the next morning, I was keen as to play games again at
Trenton. Iíve given up too much of the good life in Sydney to come this far and
not give it a nudge.
Tell me, what was the vibe like sitting at the start/finish line before
It really had the natural endorphins flowin, even without the "final
countdown" soundtrack. Funny how the bigger the excitement, the quieter the
riders are on the line, nervous excitement I guess.
Without talking it up too much, it was pretty cool. Big teams racing for big
money and to be honest I think every US rider was peakin like a beakin just to
have dry roads and some sunshine. Personally I get geeíd to race with the teams
and names that at home are only ever seen once a year on the Tour coverage. Tafi
rocks, all style.....was that his Missus prancing around the start after her gig
in Milan on the Catwalk????
What was your game plan for yourself and your team?
For me when racing at his level I need to keep it real and ride as smart as
possible. Iím no driver SO the best card to play normally on a course like this
is to hang near the front and do nothing, then risk it in the push and shove and
let the 11 bounce you into the coin. Our team is new to the pro ranks and we are
all learning to race bikes at a new level. We all get on and seem to keep the
smiles rolling, thatís hard when youíre all in one house and not making mulla$$.
I saw you talking to Henk (Navigators),† Brent (Jelly Belly) and Matt
White (US Postal) at the start line; how does it feel to be riding with other
Hanging with the boys on the line was tops. The Aussie guys have this laid
back cruzin style, you gotta dig it. After Philly it would cool to go steppin
with the boys to catch up on the season so far..... And boogie, large style. B.
Brooks the Hawk is killer!
...stop kissing me Veronica!!!!
PREACH to your followers Mr. Chook - break it down for me. Tell us what
went down in the Peloton in the first 5 laps?
I have this wonderful talent of finding the biggest potholes in the start of
races, I love my Van Dessel and it loves me! The Kissena boys werenít camera shy
early on and Nic Brown simply likes hearing his name over the speaker system,
nice work Browny. Saturn, Navigators etc., all played games in the first few
laps. Mac Daddy DJ Tafi went for some KOM points and seeing him come back
through the bunch was kinda odd but of course another CSC launched it on cue
making it look easy as usual. It really was a killer field and itís scary to
think what these guys will do over 250k at Philly...help mum! I had the course
sussed on the third lap and found the best spots to move up without pissing too
many people off. Here I am continuously trying to move up while the big guys
pick and chose when to attack and hammer each other and 65kph. Jeepers
So, was there any bitch slappin, toe tappin, barn dancin shenanigans?
Always, I had a moment with Mr. Zanini; yeah, nice one Chookman. There was a
nasty crash with a Nova/Flanders rider and the aftermath was... letís say we had
a moment and he got dark at me. I told him to chill, he grabbed and squeezed my
brake lever and said in broken English, "You got to use dis heh." That was with
two to go and I was getting all keen to play so off on my merry way I went to
With 3 laps to go, what was going on in your head? Can you remember the
last 3 laps? Were you in the "Zone"?
Other than the fact that I might be sprinting for $5000 well they will be,
and that most of these guys will sell their kidneys to get on the podium, I knew
I had to put it on the line. I like to make sure that I have everything eaten
and drunk to ensure I have a full tank. Picking a wheel to follow was a lottery,
and coming in to the pavť section for the last time it was clear that just being
up there was the only way. That or a killer lead out. Mmm maybe a little from
column A ...and a little from column B.
As a pro bike rider, Chookman.......How did you feel mentally and
physically after the race?
I sat on the team chair and glared at the ground, holding drinks, not
drinking them - too soon for something that involved - and processed the madness
and wondering why I didnít pull that 1% extra out and move up before the last
few corners. I watched the winner raise his hands from 20th place and I thought
"the top 5 are right there, so close". More wattage needed and experience, I
guess. The heart rate drops, I guzzle some drinks and after an easy pedal and 30
kids asking me for a bottle Iím changed and in the van. Game over for another
day, trashed but happy to finish in the coin and get my name on list.
Have you got back your MOJO?
If any one can answer that it's you, baby - yeah!
Whatís in store for you and the Colavita-Bolla Pro team, in the next month
This weekend we play in The US Pro in Philadelphia and we all know what type
of day that will be. I havenít raced over 200k since Georgia but I hear the
crowd buzz brings you up a notch, just make it sunny so I can at least work on
Colavita-Bolla will be doing the do in The Tour De Beauce in Canada, which
will be really hard racing with the dust mask on especially in the mountains.
After that we see about some track racing at Trexlertown and local races to help
pay for Veronicaís Sangria addiction.
Roger Rilling, whose least favorite aspect of cycling is living in poverty
Nathan The Chookman Russell
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