Sunday, August 27, 2006

Glad to be 'home'

I have just returned from France...its great to be back after a week of crapy accomodation, bad food and no internet access. The racing was good...tough and a bit of a shock to the system initially. It is now a count-down to the World Championships in a months time and so everyone is getting into form.

Yesterday we had a World Cup race in Plouay in France, they have increased the length of the circuit from previous years, 12 to 20km with an extra we battled with 180 starters and 1800m of climbing for the day. Unfortunately I didn't have the best legs of my life...actually I felt much worse than I had felt through the entire 5 day tour we had just something still needs tweaking. We drove back the 1100km straight through the night to arrive here in Holland at I am feeling a little worse for wear and looking forward to a quite day.

Wishing Dad a very Happy Birthday....hope you have a great day old boy :) Also...a big Happy Birthday to Liv for today as is birthday season :)

Shopping in Den Haag

The day before we went to France, Josie and I went for a mini day trip to Den Haag. I thought I could buy Katie an outfit for the post worlds party. Do you think she'd like it??

Whilst browsing in a big department store, we found this little cabinet of goodies...only in Holland :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

They call this summer??

I had many intentions to post a proper blog last week but all that came out were some photos from sushi making....but that pretty much summed up the week! The weather was crapy in Germany (just for something different)...and so in between getting in some long days on the bike and doing some study nothing too 'blog-worthy' occured.
I raced on Sunday in Bochum in the west of Germany. We had a short 73km race that began at 8:30 am....the only good thing about this is that by the time I had properly woken up there was only a lap to go! After that I headed back to Holland, only 1.5hrs away and made use of the blue sky by going out on the bike for another few hours.
Yesterday I picked Josie (fellow Aussie) up from the airport and so our little apartment is full again, as our Polish mechanic also arrived today. On Friday we are driving down to France...I'm not sure how far away it is, I don't want to know anymore...but we're leaving at 8am so I am guessing at least 8hrs. We begin a 5 day tour on Saturday, have 2 days of recovery and then a World Cup in Plouay in France the following Saturday. France is notorious for its extremely crap accomodation and food....and this tour is no different. We stay the whole time in a school with about 20 people in a my guess is that there will be no wireless, hence no blog's from Natty.
My very good friend Sasha is coming to grace me with her presence on my return from France which is something to look forward to. She has never been to Amsterdam so as a local (who has only been into Amsterdam herself a few times)....I must show her the sights. In the last few days I have been spending copious time on the internet, helping to plan Mum and my trip to Croatia. We are heading there after the Worlds in Salzburg at the end of September...first we head to Bratislava (capital of Slovakia) and then fly to Drubrovnik, head up the coast to Split, then drive to Zagreb to fly back to Amsterdam. I'm not sure if holiday planning is a good excuse to not get my uni work done....but one must prioritise.
It is getting to that end part of the season....I can't believe it is nearly there...and everyone is sorting out what to do next year. Anyone who has read my little sister's blog will know that I am moving to 'bluer' pastures next year and joining her at Nurnberg for 2007. It is a good move for me and I am looking forward to it. It will be sad to leave Holland and the many friends I have made in this be swapping stroop-waffles for bratwurst (not a good swap!); bad coffee for bad coffee (ha ha!); rainy, cold weather for rainy, cold weather....hey its not much of a move after all :)
Better get back to that uni work...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

Wild weather

I have enjoyed a week of relaxation in Holland...the weather was terrible all week which was a good excuse to stay inside, hang out with the little sister, do some uni work and get plenty of sleep. Last Monday we went down to Gent to see Gary Sutton, his wife Deb and the Australian Junior World Track Team. Kate lived there in 2003 and so she know's the city and surrounds well...its nice to be in a familiar place. We went into the city, had lunch at her favourite Asian and then coffee at her old haunt. It was great to catch up with Gary and Deb and to see all the Juniors only a few days out from their worlds.

The rest of the week was relatively uneventful. I took Kate to the airport on Thursday for her to fly to the US and join Richie for a couple of weeks....she was very excited to be going :) I did some longer rides towards the end of the week, spending the whole time trying to avoid the wet roads and black clouds but it felt good to get the body going again.

Yesterday we raced in the south of Holland, near Maastricht...the Holland Hills Classic which is probably the only race on the Dutch calendar that involves climbing more than a highway bridge. The course looked to be challenging and our team mission was to try and break the race apart from the start. As it was my job to make the speed on the first climbs I was a tad nervous but our plan worked well....Theresa (our team mountain goat) launched herself and only a few could go with her. There was some disorganised chasing from the peleton and so the gap grew to the front riders. Theresa attacked again and again and was able to go clear by herself. The poor bugger had fallen on the descent earlier in the race so with bloodied elbows and knees she crossed the line solo for a great victory.

I joined Theresa for the trip back to Germany and am here for the week before my next race, a one day race in the west of Germany. I hope that the summer returns for us in the next few weeks, I am not willing to believe that it has come and gone already.

(I have been trying to post plenty of pictures with every blog but unfortunately it isn't always working for me so I apologise for the lack of visual stimulation :) )