Good news – there is still gelato left in Italy. I couldn’t quite manage to consume my body weight in the Italian icon, however, I can definitely recommend pistachio, coconut, fig, dark chocolate, and nutella as flavours – but perhaps not all at once… While I sit here on the plane and reflect over the past few weeks, it is still with a lot of pain. However, the storm has past and the blue sky is appearing between the clouds. Within the patches of blue is one of my strengths – gratitude. Research tells us that gratitude plays a massive role in happiness, resilience, well-being, physical health, and living a meaningful life. So harnessing this strength, I am grateful for:
- Having the opportunity to represent my country in a second sport, at the world championship level, and donning the green and gold.
- Being able to ride my bike and compete in a sport that I love.
- Being able to ride my bike around Italy and explore rolling hills, valleys, the sprawling vineyards, and sparkling blue of Lake Garda.
- Being able to ride my bike and feel free.
- The support from my family, friends, cycling and sporting communities, sponsors, and coach. When debriefing with Mick, I did learn I am not the only one to have cooked themselves at the start of a pursuit at a World Championship level. While it doesn’t make me feel like I screwed up my race any less, it is nice to know others are human as well 😉
- The amazing Aussie staff on the trip – we were lucky enough to have ridiculously brilliant mechanics, Mikey and Will; our body’s were held together by physio’s Keren and Eliza; our team was managed by Muz; and our resident superwoman was Berthy – The Swanny.
- The friendliness of the staff at Hotel Faro. No request was too big, and the warm welcome every time you stepped through the door was very much appreciated.
- I am still touched by the act of kindness of my roomie and when she hung up my washing after a washing run.
- Putting together some good racing strategies at the National Road Race and Time Trial in Adelaide
Moments from the trip that bring a few smiles:
- Watching my teammates smash out some top notch racing – from Mick and Al battling it out in the 4km pursuit (0.05 seconds was the difference between them), to Kyle lapping the field (twice!) in the scratch race, to our tandem girls nailing their sprint. I also loved watching athletes from other countries battle it out on the boards – the strength and stability of athletes who are missing a full arm/arms and maneuver the bike within a bunch during a scratch race is absolutely insane. I think my attempts at track standing will now be redoubled.
- A few team sayings:
- ‘Shake and bake’: a term used before training and racing to help get g’eed up. Courtesy of Kyle.
- Ergo: pronounced ˈer-(ˌ)gō. Adding a touch of class to the pain machine and the predetermined pain factor. Usually used when Alex and I were coordinating rides.
- The hand position of ‘shaka’: – a combination of a ‘yewww – let’s go’, to a goodluck signal. Courtesy of Darcy.
- ‘Brew ride’: aka, mission to discover Italy’s best coffee
- The sight of the lunch and dinner tables filled with vegetables. I was in heaven.
- Dinner karaoke, spear headed by Dave.
So, what is on the horizon? Not Captain Jack Sparrow but I now know that the 2017 Road World Championships will be in South Africa next year. Other good news is that if they use the same course as they did for the World Cup, they will have some hills. Awesome. The World Champs however are still a long way off, so for now, it will be some time off the bike to get hungry again/recharge/refresh/restore, maybe be a bit ‘normal’ for a week or two, spend time with family and friends, and continue to count my blessings and breath.
Until next time,
Ride with a smile, ride with a purpose, ride in the moment,