Last Wednesday I headed from Melbourne to Europe to compete at the 3rd Para Cycling World Cup and then move on to the World Para Cycling Championships. After meeting with the rest of the Australian Para Cycling team in Singapore we then flew to Zurich where we picked up the trucks and vehicles for the 2 hour drive into Germany.
We have been in Germany now for 4 days while we prepare for the 3rd World Cup in Elzach, Germany. Elzach is situated on the river Elz, 26 km northeast of Freiburg. Our team is staying just outside Elzach in the town of Bleibach. These days have been about getting the bikes put together, getting over the jet lag and having a look at the TT course, along with a few efforts.
We have 12 riders with us, 6 men and 6 women with some new additions to the team. Emilie Miller who is an H1 is here with her mother Donna as her carer and Grant Nichols another H1 who has his wife Trish with him as his carer. We have never had any riders of the H1 category and I am looking forward to seeing them race. Also along on his first National team, although he has done a number of World Cups, is Kyle Bridgwood and he will be riding as a C5. The other riders are Michael Gallagher – C5, Alistair Donohoe – C5, David Nicholas – C3, Nigel Barley – H3, Simone Kennedy – C3, Alex Green – C4, Sue Powell – C4, Bianca Woolford – T1 and myself – T2. Along with the riders we have 2 physiotherapists – Peter S and Eliza, 2 mechanics – Peter G and Dan and our coaches Peter D, Tom, Nick and Paul. We are a tight knit group that are focused on one thing…doing the best that we can!
We start racing on Friday the 24th with the ITT being the first race for all of us. Then we split with some riding the Road Race on Saturday and the rest on Sunday.
Today we headed out to the ITT course and although I had driven it the other day I was surprised at how hard it actually is. It is straight up from start to finish, from point A to point B, however the one thing that I am happy about is that I ride a trike! Our race is only 9km while the 2 wheels ride 18km and it gets steeper the farther you go!
In between training it is all about learning how to relax and with not much to do in this little town we have found other things to amuse us, like the one lane bowling alley in the basement of our hotel! So it was on the other night with a few of us. My roommate Bianca had never bowled and in her words “Good thing I didn’t take bowling up as a sport!” Needless to say the alley took a beating but the the pins were fine!