Our Internet in Montecatini Terme was crap, so I didn't get a chance to blog. After racing the world cup in Plouay, we drove 6hrs to Paris for a flight the next evening. It wasn't too bad in the van because we entertained ourselves with littering the van as much as possible with all of our road trash, so every time we stopped and opened the door, cans, bottles and wrappers poured out - we are easily entertained. We did pick up the trash and throw it away, just so we could start over and do it again:)
We arrived in Paris, late, so after a long sleep we awoke, checked e-mails and decided we needed a team outing in the beautiful city - Eiffel Tower here we come! We caught a bus into town and walked around for a couple of hours, enjoyed a nice, long lunch, caught the bus back to the airport/hotel and flew out. We were a bit concerned on the bus ride back that we weren't going to be on time due to the mass rollerblader turnout - who knew people still did that???? Anyway, we got caught behind the entire scene but made it back fine....
The flight to Pisa was mostly hot, stinky and uneventful, except that by the time I made it out of the airport, I was ready to punch people! I don't know why everyone has to be so close to everyone else! Walking, sitting, standing, smoking...always running into you - ELBOWS OUT!!
While we waited outside(fresh air far from stinky armpits and cigarettes) for the team car and van, Amanda felt the need to ride the dolphin art(remember we are easily entertained). I don't have a picture of her riding one but I do have a picture of the dolphins below:) Once the car and van arrived, we still had to wait a bit while they unloaded the bikes and put them back on the roof of the car(saves gas if they aren't up there). We weren't in a parking lot, we were on the side of the road in a small grassy area close to an on ramp for the Interstate - we were laughing at how ridiculous that was - again, another picture below.
Then it was a 45min drive to the hotel - Hotel Regina. I think we got in around 11pm, we were STARVING, so after we checked into our rooms, a couple of us walked down the hill to a small shop for some pizza and beer. The first thing I noticed about Italy is that people are still moving and shaking till midnight and not just young folks! Shops were open, food was being served and people were cruisin the streets - awesome!
The race started a couple of days later with a prologue and then 4 days of racing. I set myself up well with an eighth place in the prologue, Megan was second and Amanda was fifth, TIBCO was sitting in great position. The racing in Italy was so crazy, we raced through towns, tight streets, cars parked on the side of the road, roundabouts, road furniture - I LOVED IT! :) Long story short, I took second in GC and had a breakthrough race.
I've always been told, the racing part is the easy part, it's the travel that is the hardest. I learned that first hand trying to fly home from Pisa on Monday. We were on Lufthansa flights and got notification Sunday night that our flight was cancelled due to the strikes. So here we go.....
We still had to drop off 2 teammates at the airport at 6am Monday morning, so Amanda and I figured we would go to the airport, see what flight we could get on and try to get out that day. NOPE, we stayed at the airport for a couple of hours until they put us on a flight Tuesday from Milan, which was find since that was where the team car and van were headed. The 3hr drive to Milan was all rain but once we arrived, we checked into a hotel, took a quick nap, then it was time for a little shopping and walking around in Milan - why not!?
We were scheduled to fly out Tuesday at 10am, so Tuesday morning, Amanda and I head to the airport, only to find that THAT flight has been cancelled!!! OK, can you get us on the United flight that another one of our teammates are on from Malpensa? Malpensa(I learned) is another airport close to Milan - like 50k to be more precise. I know this because we had to pack 4 bike bags, 2 roller bags, 2 back packs and 2 people into a small taxi, pay 150 euro and haul ass to make the United flight. We ran through the airport, they were waiting on us and must have felt really bad for us because they put us in first class!! OK, this is going to be OK!!
After arriving in Newark, I had to buy a ticket from Denver to Durango since Lufthansa couldn't figure it out themselves - pretty sure I would never choose them myself, just saying. $250 later, I'm settling down and getting ready for the flight from Newark to Denver but WAIT, there is weather on the horizon so we sit on the runway for 3hrs, guess who misses her connecting flight in Denver!!!! Another night in a hotel, another cancelled flight on Wednesday, then rescheduled, then re-issued, whatever! I finally made it home Wednesday afternoon from a Monday morning start......
So here I am, Saturday morning, listening to football about to go for a bike ride(track nats is still on the schedule), enjoying being home, getting back on my proper sleep schedule and looking forward to the off season in a couple of weeks.
Enjoy the pictures! It's a lot:)...
Listening: Bulldogs on the radio
Watching: football on the TV