There’s two days until the first event of the season kicks of and I’m having my first rest day today. The last week has been really solid, sailing nearly everyday, cycling nearly every day and even getting a gym session in. The food has been great with Cuban restaurant quickly becoming our regular again. My boat feels great and I’ve got some really good speed which for me is the most important thing. It really is all in the details, a finely tuned boat, a finely tuned body and a clear head. We have over 170 athletes competing in the Laser class this year which makes it the biggest Laser regatta I’ve ever been in. We had over 100 Laser training with us yesterday which was a bit of a change from the five of us in Sydney. I’ll keep you posted once racing kicks off. So far the forecast looks mixed :/
Where should I begin. The last 14 days have been so insane I’ve barely had time to stop and tell you about it. So I’ll take you back to the beginning.
Firstly we had a living legend come training with us last week. It was the teams final week of training before we all left for Europe so we wanted to make the most of it when out of nowhere Tom Slingsby decides to join us on the water. For those that don’t know Tom is the current Olympic gold medalist and 5 time Laser World Champion. Is was great to have him join us and share his insights into Laser sailing.
Once the final week of training was over I spent the day packing and sorting out my massive amount of equipment that I was to have to haul all the way to Europe. I knew what was coming but I didn’t make it any more fun. When I got to the airport on Sunday I had 55 kg of luggage and I knew I was in for a rough time. The lady at the desk was nice though and did her best to help me out but $750 dollars was a lot of money to part with 🙁
The flights were mostly uneventful thankfully and the train ride to Hanover was easy compared to years past. It was just as tiring though and I was barley able to stay awake when I arrived in Springe, a small town south of Hanover, to meet with Karl, my German contact/friend/van caretaker. The next day was spent organizing my van and packing one of my boats and luggage. By Wednesday I was on the road and smashed out nearly 1000 kms to put myself well into France. This then gave me the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for a very long time.
When I woke up on Thursday morning I was only 3 hours drive away from one of cyclings most famous climbs, L’Alpe D’Huze. 1100m of elevation with 21 hairpins, it’s considered one of the toughest mountains in the world and is always plays a major roll when it’s in Le Tour De France. I’ll admit it was harder than I expected. I was on my bottom gear with my heart rate maxing nearly the whole way. The air was so dry and thin my throat was raw by halfway up. It took me 75 minutes to complete, not a record by any means but I had a big grin on my face when I reached the top. Luckily for me I was blessed with blue skies and warm sun because I the cold would have been unbearable otherwise.
Friday was my final day of driving. I did the last 400 km quite easily and made it to the storage warehouse to collect my Australian boat. Almost the entire NZL team was there with me so I got to catch up with a lot of friend I hadn’t seen in many months. After the pack up I drove to the ferry terminal and checked in my Van. It was supposedly a bumpy ride across but I slept the entire way, waking up at my destination after 5 days of travel. Palma De Mallorca is one of the most popular stops on the sailing tour and for good reason. Cheap food and accommodation, great cycling, great gyms and great sailing. I’m super stoked to be back into tour life and I;m meeting up with old friends everyday. After checking into my sweet ocean viewed apartment I set up my boat and went for a fun, late afternoon cycle with Tom, Ash, Wannes, Rui and Jez before we all went out to dinner.
Plenty of action to come now as the funnest, hardest, toughest part of the season begins. Stay tuned 😛
What a productive week that was! Not only did I get five solid sailing sessions in, two gym sessions and two cycles but I also managed to collect all my ropes and sailing clothes for the European season. I also managed to upgrade a few features on my bike including my saddle and pedals before I get back into the massive mountains of Spain. I should say a huge than you to the guys at Zhik for looking after the team and myself so well. No one makes sailing equipment as functional and stylish as these guys and if you don’t already own some of their stuff I would highly recommend you check it out.
I can’t wait for next week now. This will be my last one in Sydney for a while as I fly out to Europe next Sunday so stay tuned as the important part of the year starts to take shape.