(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 epic...drive 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 ride....drive 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.