My trip to south Africa was great!

Team USA had a great group of riders that had been training hard for that event. It all started with 11 of us (4 guys and 7 girls), so let’s just say the ladies had the upper hand – haha. The flight started in San Diego to San Fran, then from there we had a long burner from San Fran to Dubai … talk about a LONG flight, with some very strong B.O.(body odor) from the locals.

We were all pretty tired when we got there but we had a 15 hour layover in Dubai and everyone wanted to go out in the city to see all the sites. As soon as we walked out of the plane the heat and dry air slapped us in the face and said "Welcome to Dubai."

Our trainer Sean Dwight set up a tour for us with one of the worse bus drivers they could find. This guy was on and off the gas and he loved the break. I’ve never been car sick til’ I got in that van. As we drove, the driver kept saying "this is the biggest in the world"  I think he was trying to say everything was better then America -haha.

We finished that up and all everyone could think about was sleep. Truth is, I think we all slept for about 5hrs because of the time difference. Me and my roommate Corben Sharrah were staring at the ceiling waiting for breakfast to open so we could eat like we never ate before. After "breaky" (as my uncle Jason would call it), we all headed back to the airport to get ready for another long flight to Durban.

When we got there, we all got off the plane saying "welcome to Durban in Arabic accents" – even tho we were in south Africa – haha. Down in baggage claim, we had tons of bags all over the place and began looking for the UCi guy, Ken. He had organized our whole trip and when the bus showed up, they had these little (REAL little) trailors hooked up and everyone looked at each other like "this isn’t gonna work." 

We somehow manged to get most of the bags in the trailor and some in the bus. As usual, the black guy gets stuck at the back of the bus. I think it was a race thing, even tho everyone said it wasn’t – haha.

We took an hour drive to Pietermaritzburg,South Africa and arrived at the EasyStay hotel super tired; just ready for a good night of rest so we could start off to a great week in South Africa.

Day 1 started off at 4am because that was as long as me and Corben could sleep. Good thing breakfast started at 6, because we woke up stravin’. I’m sure everyone else didn’t have a problem sleeping; well, i know Alise didn’t because she is just plain lazy – haha.

After that, we pretty much rested up and tried to stay awake all day so we could sleep at night. We had a wonderful lady that cooked us dinner every day that we were there. Day 2, I woke up at 4am again and did the same thing everyday, because I was the only one the whole trip that couldn’t sleep past 6am. It sucked. Sucked super bad.

I started running out of things to do because I had so much time to kill being up so early. So me and Corben went for a ride to the track. We were both kinda nervous because we didn’t know if we were gonna get kidnaped – haha.

The weather was nice there for being winter time.

The rest of the group woke up and wanted to go ride the local track that they had there. That track was really small but had a long first straight with jumps and a long rhythm section. We all had fun making up new lines and trying some crazy stuff.

Those who know me, know that l have very bad OCD, and my bike was super dirty from the red dirt, so when we got back to the hotel, I had to get my Flight bike clean and running good so she could treat me well during the race. (Yeah, that’s right Sam – my bike is a "she".)

As race day got closer, everyone started to get more focus for practice so we could do what we came to do. Practice went well for the whole team and we all set our goals for the weekend. Time Trial day came around and I finished 23rd overall. I had a great lap and was just happy to make it around the track. Afterwards, we all had a good dinner and a good sleep – even tho, once again, I woke up at 4amon race day.

Motos came around and i had some great laps! I was feeling good around the track. I was confident that I could make it all the way to the main ..until i had some bad luck in the quarter.

But overall, I’m happy on how I rode and I’m ready for Chula Vista. I had a great time in South Africa and it was a great trip with the team.

–Denzel