It has been almost 2.5 years since I’ve seen my sister.  It was when our father died in March 2016.  So when I invited her to come and see me in Italy for a week I was so excited when she said she would.

We all have busy lives and no more so than my sister Cindy.  She runs her own production company as a film maker and it is a really tough gig!  She goes from one film to the next in a tough industry just to make ends meet.  So a few months ago she decided she had had enough and at the age of 55 she is moving on to a new life teaching yoga and as a counsellor for addiction abuse.  I can’t tell you how proud I am of her making a huge change in her life.  She has had 25 years of stress, running her own business, being a single mom, raising and putting through university 2 amazing young people and not really thinking about herself.  Now she has time for herself and time to reinvent herself.

I was in Gavirate, Italy which is about an hour north of Milan right on the Swiss boarder to train and wait for the Australian Paracycling team to arrive so we could head to the north east of Italy for our World Championships.  I had a good week of training before Cindy arrived and then when she did it was full on for me!  With training in the morning and then playing the tourist in the afternoon I certainly had some good nights sleeping!

But what an amazing week we had.  Actually it gave Cindy the time to do Yoga and stretch for hours on end, something that she doesn’t have time for at home.  It also provided us the opportunity to spend some quality time together, just the two of us and to be honest I don’t know if we have ever been able to have that much time together ever!

When she was asked by a staff member at the Australian Institute of Sport what the highlight of her trip to Italy was and she said “The honour of riding with Carol around the lake”, I was stunned.  It was wonderful to have her ride with me…even if she did yell at me with about 3km to go!  I was worried I had killed her, even though the stubborn Banks streak in her wanted to ride the 28km around the lake (she doesn’t ride very often!) and I suggested we turn back at 7km, she refused and needed to finish.  So I was very impressed that she did the entire 28km on an oversize bike and no bike shorts!!

So what did I learn about my sister?  Cindy is one of the most beautiful, stubborn, insightful, spiritual and thoughtful person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Not that I didn’t know that before but I got to experience it first hand. 

You know that old saying “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends”, well I am so lucky that Cindy is not only my family but my friend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I will always be so grateful that she took up my offer of coming to Italy.  I was able to share part of my cycling life with her and know fully that I am so grateful that she is MY sister.  Love you sis!