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The Adventures of Nathan and Veronica: Trenton
By Staff
Date: 6/11/2003
The Adventures of Nathan and Veronica: Trenton

Interviewing Nathan (Chookman) Russell from the Colavita-Bolla Pro Cycling team. His thoughts on the Wachovia Trenton race - 5th June.

How 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 the race?

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 Aussies?

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 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 creepers!!!

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 the front.

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 or so?

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 the tan.

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.

Gustavo Artacho

Roger Rilling, whose least favorite aspect of cycling is living in poverty

Nathan The Chookman Russell

Visit the Colavita Bolla team site here.

Related Articles
Wachovia Cycling Series: Trenton
The Adventures of Nathan and Veronica: Lancaster

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