Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nordic Combination World Cup

Yesterday we were up in Oberhof to watch the Nordic Combination World Cup which is the ski-jumping and then skiing.  I always thought that people watching winter sport were very excited (or a little drunk) because they were always dancing but after 5 hours yesterday in - 6 degrees (felt a whole lot less with some windchill thrown in)...I quickly realised that people are dancing so they can retain some feeling in their extremeties!

It was great to watch, the ski-jumping is just amazing, it is soooo very steep!  Much steeper than it even looks on tv.

After a great 10 days or so with 'the group'....mum, dad, Sam, Heather, family Kaebisch and I...our group was halved.  Sam and Heather drove back to Rome today and we dropped mum and dad at the airport.  The weather was cold but sunny and we were so tempted to head back up to the mountains for some skiing but we had a quite day instead and we'll save it for tomorrow :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all :)

Merry Christmas and Frohe Weihnachten to all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Christmas markets....

It has been a great week here in wintery Germany.  I have been baking, swimming, bike riding, cross-country skiing and Christmas market visiting.  I have been back to the Erfurt Christmas market and then yesterday we were in Dresden, visiting good friends Angela and Stefan Henig.  I really like the feel of Dresden, it has a good feeling about....but I think many people have the same idea and the markets were absolutely packed.  Trying to move through the crowds with Gluhwein in hand required both an exceptional amount of agility and dexterity.  I, for one, do not have that to begin with...let alone for a few Gluhwein's.  Dresden calls their Christmas market the 'Strietzelmarkt'....none of the German's could tell me what Strietzelmarkt means.  Thank god for Google :)  Apparently, Strietzel is the name of a cake that lent its name to the whole market, the markets originated in 1434, making this one the 574th....quite impressive....I don't think there was much in the way of Christmas markets going on in Australia at this time!
After Dresden we popped in to Freiberg's Christmas market, to see Gunnar's younger brother Bertie who is studying there.  It is a nice town, quite small and the Christmas markets have everything that one could need....including enough space to move :)

Today we headed out on the bikes early, it was a little icy in patches so I was feeling quite brave being out and about.  It was quite magic to be riding with snow around everywhere and this morning the sky was a pinky, orange colour....really beautiful.  After  a hearty German lunch we headed up into the mountains.  The sun had come out which always makes the colours brighter and everything seem a bit shinier.  True to form I spent nearly as much time on my bum as upright...I still haven't mastered the art of being able to stop and remain upright and have to rely on the use of my 'Arschbremsen' - ass brake :)  After several hours out in forest the sun began to set which was a sign for us to call it a day.  Many people were heading out with lights on to make the most of the snow....but we just headed into a Huette for some Jagertee to warm us before the drive home.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Natty's Tour de Weihnachtsmaerkte

Yesterday dawned quite rainy and cold and I found myself disappointed that it wasn't snowing....rather than accepting the weather situation and enjoying the down time, I had that niggling feeling of wanting to get out and enjoy a 'real' winter.  Instead we had a quite morning and then in the afternoon headed out and about.  We drove up to Leipzig to meet some friends of Gunnar and I had my 3rd Weihnachtsmarkt experience.  In Erfurt much of the market is in the Domplatz, the piazza underneath the old, gothic style church; however in Leipzig the market ran down many streets, taking up most of the city centre.  Every street you turned down there was more stalls, more things to buy or eat :)  We stuffed ourselves on vanilla creme waffles and rahmfleck (doughy filled goodness) washed it down with Gluhwein or Feurzangbowle.  It was raining and cold but this didn't diminish the experience, instead it was great to warm up with hot drinks and feel invigorated by the crispness of the air.  It becomes dark around 4:30pm which feels strange to me considering I was in Sydney on Monday night, sitting outside at 7:30pm in daylight.  The bonus of this is that I feel like I've had a real night out by 8pm....we've already been out for hours and by then I am feeling sleepy (haven't quite gotten over the jet-lag yet).
It's been another rainy morning here but now it is clearing and the sun is trying to push its way through the clouds.  We might even go out on the bike for a bit and then head into the mountains so I can have some of my much awaited 'real' winter experience...I've seen photos of people sliding down the slopes in inner tubes and I'm thinking maybe that is the way for me to go.  I have yet to master the art of skiing, and although I've found cross-country skiing a much more successful process of skill acquisition, anyone that knows me well knows that such things are not really my forte.  My sister tried to put it as nicely as possible when she said to me, just a month or so ago, "I'm sure you'll be successful at anything you try in life, just as long as it doesn't require any skill or co-ordination." 

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saint Nikolaus Day

Today is Saint Nikolaus day in Germany.  Last night before bed we had to clean a pair of shoes and put them out for St Nikolaus.  The way it goes is that if you have been good throughout the year and cleaned your shoes then St Nikolaus puts a treat in them.  I think this is a big day for the kiddies but I thought it was great as well....what fun....more presents!! 

I must have been good this year because I did well from St Nikolaus, apart from the customary chocolate Weihnactsmann (think chocolate easter bunny but in the shape of Santa Claus) and Lebkuchen (yummy German Christmas time cookie) I got a beautiful ceramic Engel (angel) and a book - 'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  I've been wanting to read some Dostoyevsky but haven't had a chance until now....lucky that St Nik can read thoughts :)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Yet again I begin this blog lamenting the fact that it has been so long since my last one.  So much has happened since I last wrote and I haven't really had the chance to sit down and put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard!

I have now officially retired as a professional last race was the World Championships at the end of September.  Since then I have had holidays in Spain, some time back in Germany, five weeks back in Australia and now I'm back here in Germany for some quality time with my boy, his family and the Christmas holidays.

I expected to have quite an identity crisis when hanging up the bike (not that I haven't been riding at all).  I have been a cyclist for a greater proportion of my life than not, and this has been the guiding force for the twists and turns of my life for the last ten years.  Fortunately, I have found that this hasn't been the case and I have been enjoying the freedom and time to do other things....go hiking for the day, go away for a few days to visit friends without my bike as well as have more time for family and friends.  I'm sure some of the jittery feelings will come back to me once the racing season starts but I have plenty of goals for the future and hopefully after a good bunch ride or two I will be grateful to not be racing over the cobblestones of Belgium.  

I have some work lined up to begin at the start of February but until then I can enjoy myself (although there is much studying to be done!), and enjoy my time in Europe.  I'm not sure when I will be back which is a strange thought in itself!

Here are some photos from my first night back in Germany, at the Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt (Erfurt Christmas markets)....after you've thrown back a Gluehwein (a German version of mulled wine made with red wine which is heated and spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, citrus and sugar) or two, you're warm enough to spend hours walking around exploring the markets.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's next...

(I wrote this blog awhile ago but it has taken me some time to post)
The hype of the Olympics is over.....what now?? It is hard not to get caught up in it all
I am now in Italy in the team apartment near Bergamo. I flew down on Friday which is always a bit of an to the train station, wrestle my bike bag and suitcase onto the train, find somewhere I can shove the bike, wrestle everything off the train (hopefully with the help of someone which is really only the case if there is a British person to be found....they will come running to help but the Germans just look at me as though I am a little freaky and could possibly be carting a dead body around in my giant handbag (bike bag))....negotiate the escalators with everything in tow, wait for the bus.....hop aboard the bus for 1.5hrs to arrive at the airport; pray to God that my suitcase does not weight more than 15kg (even though I need everything for 4 weeks of racing a weeks holiday in Spain); clear customs; wait around; hop aboard the plane; pray that even though everyone else from the flight has collected their baggage my baggage WILL be coming; run around the airport at 11pm trying to find my to the team apartment......
All worked out well and I have arrived safely in Italy with all of my belongings. The weather has been glorious (actually really hot). We raced on Saturday in Padova (not far from Venice)....we left early in the morning so we could get there with plenty of time to spare for the race lunch....pasta, bread, proscuitto, big ball of mozzarella, crostata...all very nice and to be savoured considering I don't know if I will ever be doing this again. The race was hot, flat and fast and the whole team tried to make it interesting. Some of the other teams were set on a bunch sprint.....the last break of the day, which had our little Japanese pocket rocket Miho was caught with 800m to go but she still managed 4th. Good hit out for us all and good to get some speed back into my legs after several weeks of training.
Yesterday I headed up into the mountains for a long rollout. It is really beautiful training up here (once you escape the craziness of the flat roads leading to the mountains), and it was a real pleasure to be on my bike. I rode along, taking in the scenery, enjoying the slightly cooler mountain air....and was not too put out when I got a little lost on the way home and did an hour more than I had planned. I stopped for a drink and a snack in San Pellegrino Terme (home of the famous water)....sat on a bench and looked over the river and had one of those moments where I really don't want this lifestyle to be over. Just need to think about racing in Belgium in March!
Now I am trying desperately to get an internet connection so I can get some uni work done. I have two weeks here with a race each weekend and then the Tour of Tuscany from the 16th September for 6 days. We have a weeks holiday on Costa Brava in Spain planned for the start of October, Gunnar, Liv and our Italian friends Barbie and Massimo. Can't wait! Just hope the sun is still shining for us then. It has been a good summer but the seasons change so suddenly from one day to the next over here that you never know.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bates Happy Tour of Sweden

First two photos from CJ Farquarhson ( In the TTT I am 5th in line.

I am back in Germany after a really nice week in Sweden. We were blessed with great weather, good hotels, nice little town near by and close proximity to a lake for a bit of swimming. Unfortunately my health is still not 100%, but my time in Sweden did allow for some good recovery and some gentle rides. I sat out the World Cup on Wednesday in favour of some more days of recovery. I knew that there was little chance I would have had any form after several days off the bike, however it is always hard to stand and watch the racing! I did some time in the feed zone, feeling quite accomplished if anyone acutally took something from me, enjoyed the sunshine and took some photos of the 'decorations' on the climb. As I was strolling around taking photos, some of the girls from my team commented that it looked like I was making a 'Bates Happy Tour of Sweden'...hence the name for the blog.

All in all, it was another successful block of racing for the team. Kori Seehafer had the biggest win of her career, taking out the World Cup on Wednesday for the team. She was in the 'right' break, attacked it at an opportune time and then won the sprint against team Columbia's Kim Anderson. Of course she was stoked, as was the team....and the atmosphere in our room was decidedly brighter from this point on. Our other race in Sweden was another World Cup, but this time a 32km Teams Time Trial. As stated in my previous post, this is quite a specialised event...and lets just say that we used it for experience for the young girls in the team. My body was quite shocked at what I was asking from it after a week and a half of nothing too strenuous. I got through it, our performance wasn't too shabby and we all learnt a little something.

Now I am home for several weeks...I am trying to get some uni work in in the early part of this week so I won't feel so guilty if I spend the next weeks solidly watching the Olympics.....I can't wait!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sweating in Sweden

I am writing from the Swedish town of Alingsas, a nice little town about 50km from Gothenburg. I haven't had the last two weeks I had planned, my body hasn't bounced out of the last block of racing as well as I would have liked and I have been battling with trying to get it on track. I had to pull out of Thueringen Rundfahrt last week, the husky voice courtesy of the laryngitis I seemed to have picked up hasn't been able to do me any real favours.

But despite sickness and fatigue, here I am in Sweden hoping for a small body miracle (I'm trying not to greedy, just a semblance of form would be nice). It is a nice place to be and we're here for 5 days, we have a World Cup road race on Wednesday and then a World Cup teams time trial on Friday. This teams time trial business is always interesting without practice; it requires, of course, strength, speed and skill, but more importantly a co-ordinated team where the riders can use their strengths to the benefit of the team without letting their weaknesses surmount any strengths they bring. It will be an interesting day! In a sport where there is often a whole team performance leading to an individual's result, this our chance to really have a team 'result' in the more traditional sense of the word.

After this block it is home for a bit of recovery and to get my body working in top shape again. I have done so much racing in the last few months that my hard training days have been few and far between. It will be good to get back into a rhythm (at least until I get restless enough to be back on the road). I will be 'home' in Germany to watch lil sis compete at her second Olympic Games....I am saddened already by the thought that I won't be there to watch as I have tried to be at as many big events of hers as possible over the years....luckily I will be there in spirit and there are many other Bates's travelling across the seas to support (visa permitting!).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Victory in Italy

My resolve to post every Monday has obviously not come about but I have now found a relatively quite moment to write a post. Unfortunately the time I often have does not coincide with internet access and my computer has been less than is hanging on to dear life by a thread.
I am back in Germany after a satisfying and successful few weeks in Italy for the Giro d'Italia Feminin. We started the tour in Mantova, 2 hours south of Milan near our old Aussie base in was hot, flat and windy for the first few days of the tour....a shock to the system but the racing surprisingly not super fast due to the conditions. My Rome-based friends Sam and Heather drove up to watch the first few days, with dogs in tow and they too sweated the way eastward to watch some not terribly inspiring racing. Luckily it got better after that! The first days we stayed out of trouble and made sure our trusty leader Fabiana stayed out of the wind and also out of trouble and didn't loose any seconds in the crazy last kilometres that the bunch sprinters love so much. We then moved south to Tuscany for just one stage there, but what a stage it was. After covering the attacks and the fast-paced action on the flat roads before the climb (as well as crashing after 1.5km!) we hit the hills. Some of the hardest climbing I have done all year, and that wasn't at the business end of the bike race.....these climbs were long and steep but the home terrain of Fabiana and she was able to work her magic and dance her way up the climbs to take the win and the pink jersey.
We then moved back north for a short flat time trial that didn't see any real changes in the GC. The next two days were tough tough tough....again long, steep climbs after flat parts of the race that saw us averaging 45-6kph on the flat before the climbs. We did our best to make sure no dangerous attacks went and that Fabi could use all of her energy for that dancing up the mountain she does so well.....again she did what she does best and put more time into the competition. The last day was relatively flat, but fast and windy and with the legs tired from the previous 8 days, it felt like it would never end. But end it did.....ended in lots of pink....a great result for Fabi and the team. I have been very lucky to be part of a team to have won Tour de l'Aude this year and then the Giro....a very satisfying feeling after working hard for the result.
Katie was also there racing under new 'Team Columbia' colours, they also had a very successful Giro with four stage wins and it was good to have her in the bunch....I always like to have her there.

After a celebratory party in Italy on Sunday night, I headed back to Germany and stayed with a good friend, Angela for a couple of days. It is good to have some time with cycling friends away from races, time just to chat about other things in life and relax. Now I am back 'home'...the next racing starts on Tuesday....not far from home this time with the tour in Thueringen but 6 days of what I am sure will be tough racing. It is some of the last racing before the Olympics and many girls will be coming into very good form and will be keen to use it....ouch!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The way home....

Photos courtesy of Mitch Friedman:

The journey begins for me to come home at last…..I have had a full on last two months it seems and now finally from Prince Edward Island I can make my way back to Germany. It is quite an arduous task….a 17 hour bus trip, 3 separate flights, then a car drive….home is still 2 days away but I am heading in the right direction.

I have had a really good solid block of racing that has been on the most part very successful. In the last month and a half with the team we have won Bern World Cup, Tour de l’Aude, 2nd in Montreal World Cup, podium places in Montreal Tour and then a clean sweep of the Tour of Prince Edward Island….1st, 2nd, 3rd on General Classification, Mountains Jersey, Sprint Jersey, 4 stage wins and numerous placings… is such a good feeling to be part of a successful team that is working well together. Nothing has come too easily, we’ve worked hard and so are very satisfied.

Personally for me, I am so glad to have survived the block. I had a good Tour de l’Aude, an okay rain-drenched Montreal World Cup, an average Montreal Tour (I came down with a tummy bug) and then a successful PEI. I finished 2nd on GC and took away the Mountains jersey. Despite the lengthy travel to this little island, the quality of the racing due to the terrain and conditions is really good. We were able to dominate which is a nice feeling after being thrown around on the roads of Europe in the spring.

I am putting the finishing touches on my final essay for uni for this semester so I can go home and really relax. I won’t know what to do with myself! I am going to have a few quite days, with a few off the bike and then begin again recharged at the end of next week. I can’t wait to be in one place for a few weeks and spend some time quality time with my loved ones in Germany….I wish I could duck home to Australia for a week or so….just need to investigate moving our big island a little closer to Europe.

Next race on the agenda is the Giro d’Italia at the beginning of July. This is a very important race for the team, being an Italian team with Italian sponsors, and we have some girls who have the ability to go for the win. Hope I am firing on all cylinders then….

Monday, June 02, 2008

Racing, racing, racing

I am in Montreal at the moment doing a block of racing. It has been a big month of racing so far with several weeks to go before I can head back 'home' to Germany and take a little rest. It has been a successful run and it has been great to be part of a team getting results, what do they say, "winners are grinners". The good run started off when Susanne won the very tough World Cup in Bern Swizterland. She showed that the form was good for more than one day by taking a commanding tour of what is considered the hardest tour on the women's calendar, the 10 day Tour de l'Aude. I had started to get some good legs, after a slow start to the season after illness and I was able to help quite a bit and really feel like part of the winning team. After very few days rest and lots of travel km's we arrived in Montreal and had the joy of racing a water-logged World Cup on Saturday. Fabiana was our girl of the day and she finished a very respectable 2nd behind current World Cup leader Judith Arndt. So all in all, May has been kind to Menikini.....fingers crossed we can continue in this fashion.

Here are some photos of Tour de l'Aude courtesy of CJ Farquarhson from

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happier times..

Things are starting to come together for me over here, I have had a really nice couple of weeks. I am enjoying my time in Italy and last week was especially good as Gunnar joined me down here. He came down to the World Cup in Bern (not a career highlight for me but great for the team as Susanne won), and we drove back to Italy, staying two nights near Varese then heading down to Novellara. Novellara was great, it is always good to spend time with Barbie and Massimo as well as getting out for some really nice training rides and enjoying the cuisine of Novellara. Every time I come back here, it is straight to one of the restaurants for a balsamic steak and then on to 'Il Fiore' for the best gelati in the world. Gunnar headed home on Friday after dropping me at the team apartment, I won't see him for a few weeks as I have a lot of racing ahead but it was great to show him a part of Italy that I know.

Training and racing in the sunshine makes a world of difference and I have been lucky to have several weeks of great weather in a row. I am hopeful that it will continue in this way, at least for Tour d l'Aude...arguably the toughest tour on the womens calendar for the year. It begins this Friday and there are 10 days of racing over very hilly terrain to cover. I have done it several times, it is always a bit of a grovel and I will try and get through as well as I can, being as useful as I can. I think the legs are coming good, I was 2nd in a race in Switzerland on the weekend so that is a good start.

After the tour in France I am back to Italy for two days then off to Montreal for a World Cup and a tour, then to Prince Edward Island for another tour. It is a big race program ahead for me but I do like these races and hopefully I can stay strong throughout the next month. The next two days I am trying to get as much study done as I can. I have a research project due in a month but with all this racing I think perhaps my brain will be a little too fried to be able to put something together that makes any sense.

Happy Birthday to little sister for five days time :) Hope I can be in contact but you never know in France!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Too few and far between...

More than another month has gone by without a blog....what happened to my weekly routine?? Unfortunately things haven't been going as smoothly as I would have liked and to sit down and write about it hasn't improved the situation so I have been using the avoidance strategy.

It is a sunny, 18 degree day and I am in Luxembourg with the team for a race this afternoon. It is my first time here in this little country but it is a nice place to be and we are staying in their national 'Institute of Sport'....think AIS but on a much much smaller scale! We raced in Belgium on Wednesday in Fleche Wallone, a World Cup that finishes on the infamous Muur de Huy...this climb is steep steep steep and comes at the end of a hilly race which makes for a tough day. I haven't raced for several weeks after getting sick again almost as soon as I had managed to get healthy. It was a real lung opener of a race, with nerves making the heart race as much as the fast speed was. I finished the race, not overjoyed but happy enough for where my body is at the moment...and Gunnar was there at the finish which is always a treat. It was his first time in Huy to watch the race and I am pretty sure he enjoyed the atmosphere with all those crazy Belgies on the hill.

After today's race we drive straight back to Italy...I have packed my bags now for two months on the road...always a little bit of a scary thought but I am sure the good weather, food and coffee in Italy will make up for it. I am hoping that Gunnar can come down and join me in Italy after a World Cup in Switzerland next week and I can show him Novellara, but more importantly he can meet Barbie and Massimo, my good Italian friends.

I hope everyone is well :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Check out my hot buns :)

Happy Easter to everyone! It is not very spring-like here in Germany, instead there is a lot of The trees adorned with Easter eggs are surrounded by snow which makes them appear very Christmas like.

I have not been very well the last few days, after feeling really not like myself for over a week. I took myself off to the doctor on Wednesday and he diagnosed an ear infection and inflamed tonsils. I have antibiotics to take and am staying put in Germany, watching the snow from the bedroom window.

I ventured out of bed to bake and made my first attempt at hot-cross buns...they didn't go to badly at all and were well received by the family. They were not quite fluffy as one would find at home but still very tasty and I will try again soon.

Today I should have been driving down to Italy to race the first World Cup in Europe for the season, Trofeo A Binda-Cittilgio in the north of Italy. Instead I will be reading the Cyclingnews report and I am very sorry to miss it...I think it will be a great race on a tough course. It is always hard to hear about the racing, it is better to be out there racing but there is not much to do when the body is not healthy. I will take the time here to get on top of everything, hopefully I will be back into full training soon and I can race in Italy next weekend...fingers crossed :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Training in Italy

Thank God the sun has come out to greet us and we have been able to get out on the roads for some nice training. Today was a glorious day, I went out in the thermal kit but quickly warmed up. We headed north from where I am staying and after 40mins or so turned onto a 12km climb...nice to have the hills so close. The photos are from the top, it was a lovely view. I can't wait to get to Germany and fingers crossed that the weather will be this good (think I am dreaming there!)...but there are plenty of other things that will make up for it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Rain rain go away....

It has been under a week since I left home and I am missing things didn't take long! It has been a bit of a crash course of a week since I arrived home from New Zealand last Monday morning, left for Europe on Wednesday and arrived in Milan on was 0 degrees but sunny and dry. Since Thursday I haven't seen a glimpse of blue sky and the last days have been a bit of a blur of team presentation, lots of driving, 3 races all raced in the rain and what feels to my body like less than comfortable conditions for a human to be racing in, throw a new bike into the mix which always feels odd until the body perspective on things is also a bit off thanks to a decent dose of jet-lag. This morning I woke at 7am which is much better than the 4am dark mornings that I have been waking to.

I am currently in the team house in Italy, I thought it would be okay to be here because the weather would be better than Germany but alas not and I am longing for my German home. This time next week I will be waking up there which is a very comforting thought as at the moment I am feeling a little discombobulated...lots of adjustments to be made, new team, language that I haven't used for some time, new dynamics to contend with. Luckily I am very behind with my uni work for this semester which only began 3 weeks ago and so I can play catch up before heading to Belgium on the weekend for a race up there.

I have heard that the sun was shining brightly in Sydney on the weekend....I am sure the weather is laughing at me but I hope it continues for the Sydneysiders who have missed a lot of sunshine this summer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Here we go again....

It has been a long time since blogs (it seems this is the way that I begin most blogs these days). It has been an eventful summer that has nearly come to a close. The racing has begun for the season and we are now OS for the first week of racing. Luckily OS is only across the seas in New Zealand so we can warm ourselves into the season with the luxury of English tv and good weather. In contrast to what we would all expect the weather here is decidedly better than it has been for most of the Aussie summer with blue skies, sunshine and so far not much of the infamous Wellington winds.

So where to start….a brief summary of my summer….I was lucky enough to have Gunnar here with me in Sydney for nearly 2 months which was fantastic. He was a little disappointed at the lack of sunshine and good waves at the beach but it did make training a little easier than some of the harsh summer days we have had in the past. Gunnar had his bike out here and together we covered lots of km’s on Sydney and surrounding roads, we did some rides that I haven’t done in years and also a little club racing. Gunnar really enjoyed the club racing and being fit at this time of the year is something he hasn’t experienced for quite a while.

On the family front, little sister Katie got engaged and so a wedding for October 2009 is in the planning. My cousin Jane was proposed to just last Tuesday and so it seems another wedding on the books in which I will get to be a bridesmaid….bring on the peach taffeta J

In general life has been great and it is always with a mixture of emotions that I pack my bags for Europe. I am excited to be heading back to racing and the season that determines so many decisions that are made throughout the year. I can’t wait to see Gunnar and his lovely family again but of course it is sad to leave. I feel bad to pack my bags and say good-bye to friends and family that I love so dearly in order to chase my dreams but that is the life I have chosen for now at least.

So last week I packed a small bag, jumped on the plane to Melbourne and headed out to Point Lonsdale where we were staying for the week of the Geelong Tour and World Cup. I was joining my new team, Menikini-Selle Italia-Masters Color, an Italian based team with girls from my different countries to make things interesting. In Geelong there was Suzanne Llungskog (our Swedish addition), her partner/our mechanic/manager Klaus, Japanese Miho Oki, Italian Marian Romoli, the president of our team Italian Walter Ricci and then the three Aussies...Olivia Gollan, Rochelle Gilmore and I. I will summarise to say that it was a rather succesful first week of racing...Suzanne finished 3rd in the Geelong Tour before being brought down by a nasty cold which kept her out of the World Cup and off the bike for a few days and Rochelle finished 4th in a strangely played out first World Cup of the season. I feel like I had a decent start to the racing, being in an early break in the World Cup and having a few decent hit outs in the tour. On the day off between races we were able to escape for lunch in Barwon Heads overlooking the water....a magic spot that we got to share with Liv's aunty Jude, uncle Wayne, cousin Mel and her 2 year old daughter Lucinda.

We are now in New Zealand and racing has started. The weather has been very kind to us so far, although the hills not so much today. I had a good start to the tour being in the break in the first stage, a 1 hr +3 lap criterium yesterday...I sprinted poorly but it was good to have one of us up there. Today my legs deserted me on the main climb of the day and I was in the second bunch chasing the front but our little pocket rocket Miho was in the front and finished a very commendable 3rd. The big climbing day is tomorrow so after posting this I will head to bed and try to get as much recovery as possible. It is good to be back into the swing of racing, and I hope to find some good form to convert into results in the next few days :)

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year's Eve

New Years Eve on Sydney Harbour. We had prime position looking straight across

to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It was a lovely evening, nice and warm with only some scattered clouds and the words 'Jesus saves' sky-written...mmmm....not sure who was responsible for that one. The fireworks were very pretty indeed and it was a great way to usher in the new year. All the best to everyone for 2008....may it be better than all the years before :)