New Zealand omnium rider Joanne Kiesanowski wasn't planning on spending part of January in Beijing.
The Chinese capital's climate is not the most hospitable at this time of year, with temperatures often south of freezing, but it will now be the next stop in Kiesanowski's Olympic build-up after an eighth-place finish in the last round of the World Cup in Cali, Colombia.
Kiesanowski went into Cali underdone after suffering from a dose of the flu, which forced her to pull out of the second day of the omnium at the Oceania championships in Invercargill, something she hated doing after being in second place at the halfway stage.
It wasn't a disastrous result – Kiesanowski won the elimination race and did a personal best in the flying lap at Cali against a world-class field, but her final placing was lower than she had hoped.
Most of the New Zealand team who competed at Cali, and who are considered the front-runners for Olympic selection, will race at the London test event next month.
The Beijing round, which starts on January 13, will offer Kiesanowski a chance to continue the gains she has made in the six-race, two-day omnium event.
"It's a change of plan from what I originally thought, but I'm able to change my focus or my mentality or whatever and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm able to get five days of training on the track down here before I go, so that's perfect," she said.
"I think a lot of people are doing what the New Zealanders are doing and going from Cali to London before worlds. It will be interesting to see who goes to Beijing, but in saying that, it's an Olympic year so competition is tough at all the world cups because everyone is trying to qualify. Most of the countries will be there, wanting to race and get qualification points as well."
At Olympic level the women's omnium includes three timed events – the flying lap, 3000m individual pursuit and 500m time trial – and three mass-start events – the points race, elimination and scratch race.
Kiesanowski knows that to lift herself from a rider who is in the world's top 10 to a medal contender she can't afford to have a bad race.
"It's all about being consistent in the omnium. The people that are winning them are very consistent, to get a high placing you need to be consistently in the top five."
The BikeNZ team for Beijing has been in a week-long training camp in Invercargill preparing for the next World Cup meeting.
Kiesanowski, who competed at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games on the road and will be attending her third Beijing World Cup on the track, is coming off a two-week break, which she spent with her husband at their Colorado Springs base.
With the city cloaked in snow she was able to spend some quality time away from the bike, although she did do plenty of hiking and logged some time in the gym.
Being back in the New Zealand team ahead of a big 2012 was a good feeling, Kiesanowski said.
"Everyone in the team is really focused and driven and it's just great to be a part of such a professional team atmosphere that we have here, with all the athletes and staff wanting the same goal of winning medals at the Olympics."
Article courtesy of The Southland Times