Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
So in the past few weeks I have had to learn how to let go of making plans or knowing what is going on. Things change here...pretty fast. If you thought you knew what you were meant to do the next day...eeerrr...YOU RE WRONG! You could go to bed planning your day and thinking about the other things you might like/need to do, whether it is going to the post office, bank, grocery store or meeting a friend up for coffee, and get neither of them accomplished. All of the things I am used to doing at home are practically unexisting here. Even your "alone" time is cut off if you are needed for something, driving the car somewhere picking up something from the shop. It is almost frustrating that I have been here for almost 2 months and have yet to walked in the proper town of Lucca. THAT IS BANANAS TO ME. Look at this place! it is surreal! I want to see it..ALL OF IT!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Oh yeah the pure greatness of a new bike ;o) they are custom made italian bikes called SWITCH, with PROLOGO saddles, FSA bits, and D/A SHIMANO components(and no its not the 2009 bummer) VUELTA wheels(these are our training wheels in the pic). LOVE IT! The hard part was to convince the italian management that I need a compact! ha! the response :"IN ITALY, WE DON'T USE COMPACTS" ...lol In Italy, they don't to a lot of things that most places do to make their lives easier, better ;o) ....they told me that I would get popped on the first climb and that I wouldn't be able to motorpace. After a LOT OF CONVINCING they managed to get me one! YAY! I was sooo excited and surprised that I managed to get my message across and that they actually decided to meet me half way. So step #2 was to prove to them that it was the right decision to put me on a compact... and I think that they liked what they saw ;o) so we are all good now ....me+compact=better riding !
So this is pretty much what we do when we get back from training ...EAT or I should say MANJA!Rosane Kirch is our team captain or CAPO in italian...and the little one is Samantha...Sammy!
I am realizing that even the smallest things take sooo long here in italy. Our entire day is filled somehow...not to mention that the entire town closes down for siesta..from 1 til 330. Nothing stays open, from gas stations to post offices LOL not even our own bike shop! Basically you just can't get anything done. So wierd, sundays and mondays are totally dead days as well. It is like dead city..total opposite of the US. Most of our day is consumed with training, stretching, doing laundry, cooking, visiting sponsors, etc. It is definitely hard to understand where our days go! We have one vehicle to be shared amongst the 4 of us who live in the team house. One of our teammates doesn't know how to drive. The other one has to be dropped off at 330 mon-fri where she works a fews hours to make a few more euros...guess who ends up doing all the running around?? lol...yeah...seems silly...but that's how they do it...it's the italian way...the hard way!
THIS IS HOW WE DO IT BABY! AARRRH I almost almost lost it... completely when we had consecutive days of rain...and I mean butt cold rain! Sadly that's how had to do most of our training..trainers not even rollers to keep you focused. This is my teammate Guilia Lazzerini, she was on the team last year ....she is great ;o) and so is her english speaking abilities...that comes in handy when you are ready to loose your marbles! It was incredibly hard to spend several weeks without my "normal" life. At home, rain or shine, I have my own car, my own routine, alone time, etc. Here I have none of that, aside of the cultural differences the most difficult thing is let go of what you know as self and have to re configure to something completely new, adjust, adapt, survive.....
Monday, February 23, 2009
wow...aside from the major cultural differences Italy , well...LUCCA, is beautiful. The riding here is amazing. For those of you who know me well enough to know that i can get lost on a straight road, italy is definitely not the easiest place for a gps-less, italian-less person to get lost! the good thing is you might end up doing circles around yourself...some smaller, some bigger, sometimes all you gotta do is remember which direction you took on the "rotonda" lol!! I hope I can in time! ;o)
...and then there was sun and blue skies! yay! So i guess I brought some cold weather with me?? from cali...we have had several weeks of rain and really low temps, kinda put a damp on our training camp and training, which was really unusual for this time of the year, so was said to me. So when the rain finally gave us a break I was able to see what was surrounding me! wow! so beautiful that mountain in the very back is Alpe Apuane, and the closest one is the Matraia, super awesome climb right in our backyard...WAY COOL!love it love it! thought I would share it with you ;o)
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Even though I felt a little tired from the flight and the long to do list ( and very little time to get it done!) me and my new teammates ( Carmen Small(USA), Carly Hibberd(Aus), Rosane Kirch(Bra), Sara Grif (Ita)i ,Serena Mensa(Ita) and Samantha Galassi(Ita) went on a 3hr ride on the most epic climbs and scenery I had seen! We were by the sea and the mountains and it was just beautiful! I could careless at that point if was just to go for an easy spin...I wanted to go and see all that this place had to offer!Viareggio is very popular place for vacation amongst the italians and cyclists for training camps because of the nicer weather. Unfortunately this year it hasn't been so nice, it has been raining off and on, actually more on than anything else. Let me tell you ...it is very hard to be confined in a hotel room with people right up in your face questioning you about the way you do everything you do ! I guess I was feeling the same way about them!
So they had carefully arranged that the foreign riders would be placed with the italians so there wouldn't be any segregation of any kind from the beginning. I was rooming with Samantha Galassi and Alessia Quarta. Very nice girls, as were are the rest of the girls on the team. I was a bit jet legged but there was an endless(felt like) things we (I ) needed to get done. Specially since I arrived a few days later, the camp started on tuesday and I arrived on thursday. First I had to put my cleats on my new shoes and get my bike somewhat fit for me so I could ride it the next day, and oh yeah dinner at 8...I arrived at the hotel at 5 I had a 20 some hours flight and was famished and didn't think I was going to make to 8o'clock! Which for me is waaaay to late to be eating dinner!Ok so that was the first difference! they eat dinner late. As time went on and I started to reduce the amount of things on my to do list it was almost time for the "capo" (boss aka Brunello) to arrive tha's why dinner was so late! Every night we had to wait for him to get off of work and join us for dinner. The first thing that was put in front of me was a huge bowl of risotto of some sort...but I was eyeing the veggie and salad buffet. I just couldn't stomach a bowl of rice right off the bat! So difference number two....they all stared at me as I got up and made myself a big plate of salad and veggies. Apparently you re supposed to eat you "primi" (pasta or rice) first, since its hot ( i don't care either way, cuz I that's just now how we do it at home!!) then they serve your "secondi" meat of some sort along with you buffet of salad and veggies. So all the foreigns were criticized and judged by the locals! I could careless but by the end of it I must say I was a bit annoyed that they can criticize the way we eat saying that it is wrong and tha's just not how it's done in Italy! oh man I have heard that one too many times in the past 15 days!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
WELL ...How can I start? 2009 had barely started and I was off to embark in a great journey in my life and cycling career. It was all very different from the VERY beginning. As I landed at the Pisa Airport and had the team DS, who does not speak any english pick me up, had a hard time communicating since I couldn't not come up with any italian at all!! I had only english in my head! But somehow we managed few lines were understood such as I am thirsty and I need to "pee"!! So we rushed off to the hotel where we were staying for team camp, but before that we made a quick to the Brunello's shop so we could quickly pick up the temporary bike I 'd riding till we got our new bikes....well ...I was on the count down!! I just could NOT wait another 2 mins I needed to go pee!! Noticing how uncomfortable I was the DS said...5 mins and then 5 mins after that he said 5 mins! Once we finally arrived at the hotel, in Viareggio, tuscany, I ran inside,desperately asked where the bathroom was and the lady looked at me sorta funny then I realized she didn't understand a word that came out of my mouth! I asked then for bano(haha in spanish) but I think she got it and pointed me the direction as I rushed there I realized I had used the men's room instead of the ladies room, but it was a little too late for that!!
Relieved I went on to meet the rest of my team.....