So after a few days in London, it was off to Melbourne for a couple of days stopover. My flights were hard enough to find, and fortunately it worked out well with a stop in my favourite Australian city. I was also the courier for one of the Aussie girls TT bike. I was a bit of a mission to pack it, as I had the bike, a set of TT wheels, disc and tri-spoke, and two sets of Zipp 440’s, and a TT helmet and bag to pack all in the same bike bag. I was really sweating this time flying out of London, as my luck in not paying excess baggage is soon to run out. My bag allowance was already taken with my suitcase, as most nine months on the road demands a certain level of comfort. When she asked me to put the bike bag on the scales, luckily it couldn’t fit under the barrier they had over the scales. Sweet, now for the sweet talking. I was waiting for the call to get it weighed, but she was just asking what it was, a bike, a lightweight road bike, I replied. Yep, that’s sporting equipment, and we don’t charge for that sir. Nice one, as I had it weighed as I left Holland, and it came up at 24kg’s, think that would have broke the bank if I had to pay for it.
Arriving in Melbourne, I caught up with my Singlespeed buddies, Ugly and Scooter. Way too jetlagged the next day, we headed into the Aussie bush for a bit of a mountainbike ride. What a blast, a great forest, a singlespeed Cyclocross bike, some awesome trails, plenty of rocks, skinny tires, no sleep, sun beating down on me, dehydrated body, this was going to be tough I thought. And yep, it was, I had trouble focusing, the heat was killing me, but I survived. I took it real easy, and sorry boys, but I felt like a real beginner, they were waiting for me every few km’s, and I was asking for them to wait a bit for me to get my shit together. It’s nice to see how the other side live occasionally, brings you a little bit of reality every now and again.
That night I had a nice meal with my new Director, Anna Wilson, it was nice to meet out of a race envoiroment for a change. I handed over the goods, the massive and fat bike bag, and my chores were done for this season. The bike will be used by Alexis for the Aussie road nationals, early January, and the wheels we will use for the Geelong tour, the first race for the Women’s season. Think also Oneone Wood is also racing nationals, but she flies over from her current home in Spain a little bit later. Maybe even Kate Bates might be racing, but think she is racing a bit of track cycling on the same dates.
Now for the short trip home, only four hours, sounds too easy. And for the first time I can remember, no bike in tow either. It doesn’t feel normal, but is sure easy getting around the airport. I was about to check in, and I came across the mother of all lines, almost three hundred people waiting, this was not looking good. So I started walking past all the punters, all of them looking anxious, as it was not moving very fast. I spied an empty set of lanes they weren’t using, so casually walked through it to the start of the line. In a minute or two, there was about ten other people that had followed me through as well. I strolled up to the desk, and the guy behind the counter asked what I was doing and why have I come from that line. I shrugged my shoulders and said some guy sent me this way, and he was making another que, I was just doing what I was told. He processed my ticket, handed me my boarding pass, just as I saw they were closing off the new line and sending all my followers to the back of the huge que. I walked quickly away, sweet, mission accomplished.
A nice bit of art, for all the pacific nations that made it to our fine shores. Just up the road from where I am staying.
Flying into Auckland, the captain was happy to tell us that there was rain, and clouds, and a high of 14’c, damn it, it’s supposed to be summer. Hanging my head out of the window I could see my beautiful country approaching, even though it was raining, it still felt pretty good seeing it for the first time. After almost a year away, and many countries in between, it was nice to finally be home. It’s always the best part of the season, when you finally get though customs, gather your bags and head through the gate. Now for some summer fun, time to see my bikes and my friends, and of course getting to ride parts of my own country, even I have not ridden before.
Don’t go away, I will keep this blog running till next season. There are plenty of good stories to come, and a few others yet to discover. First race starts early January, the ‘Tour Down Under’, this time with T-Mobile men, should be a nice new experience for me. And of course plenty of local race action in between then. I just found this cool site, with plenty of pics of my city, Auckland
city, have a look, until I get a few shots of my own posted.