After leaving the team in Belgium, I travelled to Dortmund, Germany with Hannah Dines of Scotland. We drove her car, which is a right hand drive car on the right hand side of the road. Talk about weird! But it is amazing how you can get used to something, now I will just have to make sure I’m on the left side of the road when I get home!
We spent a wonderful 2 weeks with Hans-Peter and Ulrike Durst. They opened their home and their hearts to us, making sure that we wanted for nothing. We were able to train in the area without any problems and even played the tourist through the city. We were welcomed in their friends homes and even though some of the words were lost in translation we had a lot of laughs!
Our time in Germany finished with racing in Cologne at the Cologne Classic Europe Cup, which also was the German National Para Cycling Championships. I raced at the same races last year so it was great to be back racing familiar courses. The Time Trial was factored so that meant that men and women T1/T2 all raced together. I had a great race and was hoping that I had pipped Hans-Peter but unfortunately he got me by 12 seconds after the factoring was put in place. On a great note Hannah took out 4th place beating all the men home apart from Hans-Peter. So that was a great race for her.
In the Road Race I finally felt like I got my tactics right. As we all started together I was able to work with the men and came home with a win in the Women’s T2. It was a great weekend of racing, the weather held out for us and I even came home with prize money, which certainly helps when you are travelling through Europe on a budget!
Hannah and I then headed to Switzerland to stay the night with friends I had met last year, Sue and Willem Toet. Sue a Brit and Willem an Aussie both working in the high end car racing business in Switzerland gave us beds for the night and some great hospitality. It was then on to Gavirate, Italy and the Australian Institute of Sport, European Training Centre.
We arrived here on Tuesday with a lovely welcome sign and have made ourselves at home here at the ETC. The Senior Australian Rowing Team is here, but just a couple of familiar faces from my rowing days.
The riding over the last couple of days has been magnificent with incredible views from the top of climbs and it certainly makes training feel like a breeze! We have another 2 and a bit weeks here before moving on, although I am flying back to Germany tomorrow for an IPC athletes forum. I am very honoured to be representing the Australian Paralympic Committee and giving a presentation on Communication and Athlete Engagement within the APC. But then it will be back to training before heading to the 3rd World Cup.
I certainly can’t say that I am doing it tough right now, the weather has been perfect, the company great and the riding amazing! I could certainly get used to being a full time cyclist! Ciao for now.