May Update | Europe

Our Europe trip started with a long, long flight via Dubai, but with staying on the plane in Kuala Lumpur while they refuelled it. Then on to Brussels and a car ride to Ostend in Belgium. Accommodation was at the seafront, and adjacent to the race course and start/finish, which allowed us to watch racing from our balcony. All the teams stayed there. 

My first event, a Time Trial, around (too) many corners, but I came second behind the reigning World Champion. 

My sister Diete and my nephew Birger, who I haven’t seen for 7 years, drove over from home in Germany, and spent a day and evening with us. It was good that they were able to watch me racing.

The road Race was again many corners, but a straight where you can put the power on. Another podium, second again, but this time I beat the World Champion. 

At the end of the first week , a long drive to Southern Germany, Elzach, a small town in the Black Forest. 

First race was again a Time Trial, a slight uphill course which is just my kind of course, but unfortunately after a great first half, I suffered a bad attack of ataxia, and got to hit the crash barrier 3 times, as I was unable to steer properly, but managed to  just  keep pedalling and finish - ahead of the World Champion. It was a bit of a surprise as the last couple of km, I just crawled to the finish. Another silver medal. 

Two days later, the road race course was through the town but technical with lots of corners. However there was along straight up a hill and after holding the wheel of Shelley Gautier the world Champ, on the first of 4 laps, I attacked up the hill and was able to drop her. Lap by lap I increased my lead. Satisfying to be able to formulate a strategy and successfully execute it. Again it was silver, the fourth in four races, as gold was taken by a rider formerly classified as T2, (and before that C3) , now classified as T1, like myself. She actually won medals last year in world cup as a T2, and it’s not surprising that the rest of us in T1 can’t compete against her. Thats para-cycling! 

It was a great team trip, well organised by our new manager, Ryan Hollows, where I felt really supported and included, so I thoroughly enjoyed it . The organisation was superb, flights, seats booked, arrival time, cars and truck waiting, accommodation room, meetings and communication , the tops. Lessons were learned  for example the race preparation by the team,  for my road race after my ataxia episode were perfect. As a result, success and a great team spirit. 

We stayed in a hotel in the country outside Elzach , which was very nice , and we self-catered much of the time. Unfortunately I also had to celebrate my 60th birthday! Ryan my manager organised a big Black Forest cherry gateau see photos! 

When the rest of the team left for NZ via Brussels airport, we drove 960km to Limoux in south west France, our well-used cycling destination over past years. I am enjoying continuing my training, in beautiful weather on fairly quiet country roads, and enjoying coffee in the square , as ya do !

We are now in Limoux again, been here for 10 days. The weather was fine and hot, and was 30 or 31 deg much of the time. Which is great for cycling, so long as you dont leave it until after lunch!  

One more day of this , then a short visit to Girona, Johns daughter and partner Greg Hendersons place, then calling at Johns other daughter in Switzerland, en route to Frankfurt to spend time with our friends.

I am looking forward to more competition in Canada, in August, if selected to represent NZ at the World Cup in Quebec, and at the World Championhips in Baie-Comeau.

Bye for now - Eltje


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