So this trip should have started to go the right direction. First of all I got all my luggage, amazing. But that is where it ended. Do to some miss understanding and confusion we sat at the airport for hours. Eventually we started to make our way to Piacenza, about an hour and a half drive away. My van was the girls van, just happened that way, and our van made it all of 50km. Then it broke. Fully gassed and pedal to the floor we were going nowhere. Good spirits and many laughs later Pablo, the tow truck driver, helped us negotiate with the taxi drivers to get us back to the airport to pickup another van. We made it to the hotel 12 hours after landing in Milan. This was really the only thing that went bad for the week of Piacenza.
One week later…
I am write this is Italy with a big grin on my face. I am racing in gorgeous country side and eating great food. I have just finished a regional Paralympic Cycling competition in Piacenza, Italy. Men and women from the same disability classes started together and I stayed with the men for more then half my race. So jazzed that I am getting stronger and able to hang on, granted I was just hanging on by threads but I was.
The team and I are currently headed to Rome for a World Cup. We will race an Individual Road Time Trial and a Road Race.
When in Rome…
When we arrived in Rome, all vehicles arriving together, things were looking to be not so good. Pouring rain and find out that TT course is not where it was suppose to be. I think it was an upgrade if you ask me, we got to ride along the coast instead. Getting out of the city is rare when racing but to be racing along the coast was beautiful. The weather stayed beautiful and the company was in good spirits again. My TT did not go as well as previous but I have figured out some weaknesses that will only make me a better racer once I over come them. I was finished 2nd only 20 seconds behind first and 40 seconds ahead of 3rd. Still happy with my performance I went into the Road Race with only one thing on my mind, victory!
The Road Race was more my cup of tea, rolling, turning, and fast. As a group, three of us split the field into many little parts but even that took a couple of laps to happen. By the mid point there was just me and Denise from Germany up at the front. I was pushing a hard pace but knew I would have to be smart in order to win the race. Which is exactly what happened. It was awesome to hear the staff yelling loudly at the finish line after I sprinted away at the final corner.
After the races concluded I got to go see all that Rome has to offer. Thanks to Sam and a handy city map I got to see a bunch of really cool historical site that makes the US’s history look like a blink of an eye. I am know going to be reading all that I can about the places I got to see.
At this point I thought every thing was good to go. We had a plan of attack to get to the airport with all of out gear and I had a plan to get one last Italian coffee and breakfast before getting on a plane bound for the Americas. That didn’t happen. After being dropped off the wrong terminal we as a team got organized to make the trip with all of our gear over to the right terminal just to find out you can’t walk there. Next plan, turn the passenger van into a cargo van and move all o the luggage in that and people take the shuttle. Success. By the time I started to check in the second group of athletes arrived to the airport, they left the hotel an hour after we did. Baggage charges, security checks, and non accessible buses later we managed to hold the plane long enough to all get aboard and set off.
THE FUTURE… (still not totally predictable)
After the Rome World Cup I will be headed back to the States to get ready for the final team trials and last qualification opportunity for the London Paralympic Games. The trials are in Augusta, GA on June 21st. I will know then whether I’m going or not. Fear not but as of right now I will be qualified and have already set plans to be in London come August.