I am sitting in a little AirBnB Bungalow in the rural community of Erm in the Netherlands, having arrived yesterday after about 27 hours of travelling. I stayed at the same place last year when I was travelling around with Hannah Dines of GB. I’m on my own this year but only until I meet up with the Australian team towards the end of July. I’m going to be away the longest time I’ve ever been away from Russ and Jack. I know that right now it seems like a long time…almost 3 months, but I am sure by the end of it I will think it has flown by. Not sure if Russ and Jack will think it has flown by though!
I’m in the Netherlands for the second World Cup of the season to be held in the town of Emmen and this will be where the World Para Cycling Championships will be held in 2019. I’m looking forward to racing here, I had great races here last year (although the Time Trial course has been reversed this year), winning both the Road Race and TT, so I am hoping to do the same thing again this year. There aren’t many of us in the Women’s T2 category entered, just 5 of us, but we have a new woman from the USA starting and we will welcome back Marie-Eve Croteau of Canada. At this point I am probably at the fittest level I have ever been (especially in the gym) and I’m feeling good leading into these races next week.
Once Emmen has been raced I will be flying to Italy where I will make my base in Gavirate at the Australian Institute of Sport, European Training Centre (AID-ETC). I spent about 3 weeks there last year and it gave me such a good base leading into racing, so I am hoping that it does the same thing this year leading into Worlds. From the AIS-ETC I will be meeting up with the rest of the team in Milan and we will then head to Maniago, Italy for our World Championships. This will be my 7th World Championships and I am so honoured, excited and proud to be part of such an amazing team!
But it doesn’t stop there! From Italy we (the team) will be heading to Baie-Comeau, Quebec in Canada for the 3rd and final World Cup of the year. Baie-Comeau is about a 10 hour drive from Montreal, really in the middle of nowhere! But it is a beautiful spot. I’m not sure how many of my competitors will be attending at the 3rd World Cup as it is so far from anywhere, but I’m hoping that they will.
So when in Canada… I have to go home for a visit. I haven’t been home in just over 2 years when my dad passed away. So this homecoming will be quite different in that it will be a time for celebration, catching up with friends and more importantly family. Then with one last stop on the way home, in Kelowna, British Columbia, to see my good friends Deb and Vic who I haven’t seen since 2012! What a reunion that will be.
It is a long time to be away from home but I will come home with amazing memories from all the different places I will have been. I know I have said this many times before but I still can’t quite believe that at this time in my life I am living this amazing life. It certainly wouldn’t have been happening if I hadn’t been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 20 years ago. So if I had the ability to go back in time and be able to to make the choice of getting my diagnosis or not…there would be no choice. I wouldn’t change my life or diagnosis for anything. MS has given me an incredible life, some good and some not so good. It’s not what happens to us in life but more importantly how we react and do with the hand we are dealt.
For now I’ll just soak up the incredible cultures, landscapes, riding and people I meet on this amazing journey for the next 3 months.