We are getting to the pointy end of my trip overseas this past month, with racing about to start tomorrow, Thursday. I am really looking forward to this!
I spent a week in Nice, France at the beginning of April meeting some amazing people living with MS, sharing our stories and learning about up to date studies involving Multiple Sclerosis. In between the rain, I walked around Nice to only dream of shopping in some of the stores that I saw like Chanel, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Cartier, Tiffany &Co. and Rolex to name just a few. If you had to look at the price tags on the items in the window (some of the windows didn’t have price tags), then you shouldn’t even set foot in the door! When the tags say 1000 Euro for a small handbag or 3500 Euro for a sleeveless dress, then you know you are in a wealthy city. I would hate to see what the cost of the items not tagged were! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best until the last day when I was able to get out and see a few of the sites. But the week was such an amazing week with the number of new friends I made, all with a common fight in life…LIVING an amazing life with MS.
I then headed to Dortmund, Germany for a couple of weeks of training with Hans-Peter Durst the World Champion Male T2 rider. Hans-Peter and his wife Ulrike are always so welcoming in their home and I do get very spoiled there. It was a great couple of weeks of training and he does push me to my training limit at times, but it is all great! Socialising with the friends that I have met through them is fantastic as well and they all make me feel like a part of the family.
I then rented a car to drive to Ostend, Belgium to meet with the Australian Para Cycling team to take part in the first World Cup Race for 2018. It was great to catch up with everyone at the hotel and it is really fun to be back out riding and living with all of them again. We are a family and it is so nice to see that everyone feels that way. It is a culture that has been bred from the top down, by our head coach Peter Day, who has put an amazing team of staff together as well as riders. We are definitely there for each other.
Our week has been an interesting one with horrendous weather…rain, wind and cold! In fact this morning was 4 degrees but felt like 0! Then this morning the power went out in the the big complex we are staying at which trapped a couple of our riders, Kaitlyn and Simone, in one of the lifts. When you have wheelchair athletes who are on the 4th floor it makes it pretty hard from them to get out to train! Luckily they worked fast to get the power restored but now we have no hot water, obviously because it is electric hot water! But all is good because the sun came out and will hopefully be around for the next 4 days of racing!
So this is why I say I have come to the pointy end of the trip. Our job starts tomorrow with the Individual Time Trial (ITT) up first. There are 4 of us racing tomorrow, myself, a new Trike rider Stuart Jones and hand cyclists Stuart Tripp and Grant Allen. The rest of the 2 wheels are racing the ITT on Friday with the Road Races on Saturday and Sunday. This is why I came to Europe, to race and I am looking forward to pulling on my World Champion skin suit, doing the best that I can and doing what I love to do.