Thursday, May 31, 2007

Images of 'home'

Last Sunday after spending the afternoon inside watching live coverage of the Giro d'Italia and watching all those men suffer in the hills we decided to get out and get some fresh air ourselves. The area in which I live is home to the "Drei Gleichen"....three castles dotted on hilltops that form a triangle. Only one of the 3 castles is still standing, the other two are ruins and we decided to explore one of the ruins. The history of this castle is unknown and the first historical record of it is 1089 when it was mentioned somewhere....(my recall is astounding as you can see)..It was a good climb up the hill and the view from the top is great.

It is a pretty time of year, everything green and in flower and many many poppies growing by the roadside. Here are two of the photos to get a bit of an idea of what the countryside is for training every day.

Tomorrow I head to Canada for two weeks of racing, the bike has been packed, suitcase again :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gunnar's Grad

Those cobbles are nasty in heels!

Gunnar had his uni graduation ceremony and ball yesterday after completing his degree in 'Wirtschaftwissenschaften'....what a word! That means Economic Science for the rest of us who enjoy a language where the words are a little bit shorter and easier to pronounce!
It was a good excuse to put on a pretty dress, wear some high heels and attempt to understand what was being said. It is unseasonally hot here in Thueringen and yesterday was a very sweaty 33 degrees or so....there was not much air to spare in the Grand Hall where the ceremony was held. The university in Jena is one of the oldest in Germany, it was founded in 1558 and so I think there have been many many ceremonies held in this place :)
This weekend I am at home, a bit of a luxury in the racing season. There is no racing on that is in the vicinity and so I trained this morning with the local Saturday morning bunch (a little different to Universe or Coluzzi!). Tomorrow I will join the old men for a Sunday loop and then some extra km's, and enjoy some coffee and cake in the afternoon.
I leave for Montreal next Friday in order to race the World Cup on the Saturday (ouch!) and then there are two, four day tours in in Montreal and one in Prince Edward Island. Ever since watching Anne of Green Gables as a little girl I have wanted to go to Prince Edward Island....I never imagined it would be on a bike!

Monday, May 21, 2007


I am lucky enough to be on ‘training camp’ for a brief 4 day trip to Majorca. This island off the east coast of Spain is a favourite training place for German cyclists in particular. All the other girls in my team have been here between 10 and 20 times each and find it unbelievable that I have never ventured to Majorca to train….but I don’t have a winter to escape, and I have to say Sydney offers many of the same draw cards of Majorca…warm weather, beaches, good roads to train on, mountains to venture into. So far I have seen many British pubs and restaurants but not much traditional Spanish fare. We are on the east coast of Majorca, about 80km from the capital of Palma and apparently very popular with German and British tourists….many of them older than 60 and with skin that I would have to say is on par with well-worn leather. Many of the old men are wandering through the hotel in their speedo equivalents, bellys hanging out and looking at us like we’re freaks as we are decked out in our lycra….quite funny!
We are here to attend a seminar by German doctor, Dr Strunz about “Creativity and High Performance”…or that is as what my translation of the whole thing is….we train in the mornings and attend the seminar in the afternoon/evenings. We are staying right on the beach, I am writing this, watching the Giro d’Italia live on tv and looking out at the blue/green water. It is lovely to be back on the coast, breathing in that lovely salty air….something I have missed since living in the middle of the European continent.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Heading east

I am home again after a 4 day tour in Czech Republic and Poland....with 425km of racing under my belt, 1800km or so of driving and 7 new stamps in my passport :) What a week! I am really happy with how the week turned out, despite the 10 degrees and rain that we raced in yesterday! There was a good field, some tough racing, pretty countryside in the mountains of eastern Czech Republic and some steep uphill finishes. I am starting to feel as though it is coming together after a bit of a sluggish start to the season.
The first two days were hillier, and I was happy with my climbing legs. On the first day, a group of 8 were away and my team-mate Steffi Pohl was 3rd. The girls helped me to the bottom of the last cobbled climb and I was 5th out of the bunch..not too bad a start. The second day was the toughest I've had in a while, with the knowledge that the last 1km was a steep climb...couldn't spend all my cookies too early and I managed 7th up the climb. The next day was a TT in the morn, I was a bit disappointed with my result as I thought I could do a little better and my 11th place moved me into 8th on GC. The next two stages were circuit races around Orlova, the town that we were all staying in. Rain, small roads and some tight corners made for some interesting races and Flexpoint played it perfectly both days to take the win on both stages. I survived, had a decent last stage and finished 7th overall on GC.
I am home now until the weekend, there is a World Cup in Bern, Switzerland on Sunday...hopefully my legs are still good there. The weather is cold, windy and rainy here, perfect recovery weather and good for some study which really needs to be done.
The photo is from the time trial last weekend in Holland, its from

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Catching up...

I am a little behind with my blog news after some travel time and not much computer time. The weekend before last I raced my first Bundesliga (German National Series) race, because I am a foreigner I can't gain points in the series and was kind of racing as an individual, hence a national team jersey. It was a pretty tough little race, with some good climbs and nasty bits of road. From Karbach in Germany we drove across to Belgium last Sunday to get ready for Fleche Wallone, a World Cup race in the Wallonie region of Belgium. Wednesday's race didn't quite go to plan for the team and I didn't have the best of races....without Rob and Jude standing on the final climb cheering hard it didn't happen for me. I drove straight back after the race...650km which has become the standard drive...everywhere is about that far away.

Last weekend Gunnar and I travelled to Holland...this time a shorter trip of 570km for a hit out in a time trial which is a rare occurence. It was a lovely, warm weekend and we enjoyed being near the coast and being back in Holland, if only briefly. We travelled straight back and the last few days I have enjoyed not getting in the car to go anywhere. Tomorrow I drive to Czech Republic for a 4 day tour which has a time trial on the 3rd day in Poland. So two new countries and some new experiences for me I should be interesting and I will be sure to take many photos :)

Lots coming up for me...from Czech back here, then to Switzerland, Mallorca for a week, home for a bit before Canada for 2 and a half weeks or so....its a good life :)