Neal Kindree back in the race 

2012 Olympics likely impossible at this stage, but working way back to national team

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOERN ROHDE, WPNN.ORG - saddle up Neal Kindree, pictured racing in the 2011 B.C. Bike Race, will enter this season with new gear and a snew sponsor.
  • Photo BY joern rohde, wpnn.org
  • saddle up Neal Kindree, pictured racing in the 2011 B.C. Bike Race, will enter this season with new gear and a snew sponsor.

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"The goal is to absolutely be part of the selection process for the world championship team, and get selected the right way that nobody can appeal. That's where I'll be eligible to earn carding and a spot on the national team, and from there it all falls into place," said Kindree.

Kindree is confident that he can pick up his career where it left off.

"I think it's just a matter of staying happy, staying health and training smart, and then it shouldn't be a problem," he said.

Kindree isn't currently working with any coaches, but said he's learned to be his own coach over the years. "I've been doing it long enough and I know my body and how it responds to certain training loads, and when it's time to do a big load and when it's time to let up," he said. "I have worked with coaches, but I find it's difficult because instead of listening to your body you're trying to communicate what's going on to another person who will tell how to react. If I listen to my myself and take it from there I do a better job of resting when I should and riding when I should."

As for the knee, Kindree says it seems to be getting better over time. "I don't notice a difference week-to-week or even month-to-month, but it's definitely getting better and it's not impeding my ability to train or race at all," he said. "The only time it bugs me is when I'm walking or standing on concrete for extended periods. I'm better off hiking a technical, rugged trail than trying to walk down a city block — figure that one out. I can't understand it, but if I can ride then I'm happy."

Kindree said he's overwhelmed by the support he's received in his community, from local bike shops to the free massage therapy from Susan Chappelle, although it does make him worry sometimes about letting people down.

"It can make it a little stressful sometimes," he said. "But I wouldn't be able to do this without the whole crew and community behind me. So yeah, I'm lucky and I hope I can do good things with that."

From Specialized, Kindree will get two bikes this year; a Specialized S-Works 29er for trails and a Tarmac race bike for the road. Although Kindree likes riding hardtails recreationally, he said there's no comparison for a dual suspension for speed on the downhills. And 29-inch wheels are becoming more common, especially with taller riders like Kindree.

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