Willo the globetrotter

October 31, 2007


A lot has happened in the past six weeks. It went something like this…

I stepped on a plane from the United States of America to Italy, spent six days, two days in Belgium, four days in London, back to Belgium for a wedding, back to Italy for 10 days, to the Czech Republic for four days and a wedding, then home to Sydney for three days, flew to Melbourne for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and now home in Sydney for the past week. To say I have been busy is an understatement. Add time on the bike, catching up with people, sleep and moving house in three days between getting home and racing - it has been hectic.

Being back in Italy was great, I now realize now that I took that great country for granted. The food, the culture, the language, the wine, the training…its just fantastic! I stayed back in Cossato, where I used to live when I was with Selle Italia. It was great to stay- and catch-up with my Italian family. I took the opportunity to also train with my old training partners and knock up a few kilometres before the Sun Tour.

Next I made a quick stop over at Harro's house in Belgium, before heading to London for my first time just for a look around. Then a few days later I was back for Harro's wedding and bucks night. As I was best man it was my duty to look after the groom, though I didn't do a very good job of that, I did however get him to the alter. The wedding itself was, well, I can't even describe it without anyone seeing the photos, one word…unbelievable!

After the wedding I went back to Gent for a few days where I used to live when I was with iTeamNova. I stayed with Karl and Kat, my good friends, and it was nice to be back there. It was sad to leave Belg again, but I headed back to Italy for another 10 days. I did some touristy things like visit Venice, Lake Como and Cinque Terra (which I must say is fantastic) and ripped into some training on the old training roads. Once again I was spoilt with great food and hospitality from my Italian family.

The last stop before coming home was another of my best mate's weddings in the Czech Republic. My old team-mate, Tommy Buchacek, who has kept in close contact with me since last being team mates in 2001, was tying the knot. The wedding was once again sensational; the Europeans really know how to throw a party. Apart from not being able to speak Czech, it was a great time, just not long enough.

I then flew home and had three or four days in Sydney before flying to Melbourne for the Sun Tour. This was the most hectic arrival at home ever. I had to move most of my stuff out of the house before going to Melbourne because I only had two days to do it when I got home. On top of that, I had to train and of course get over jet lag.

The Sun tour was once again great, this year it was my eighth Sunnie in a row. After last year, I didn't think the team could live up to last year. I'm not talking about results, I am talking about the team moral - last year was unbelievable and we had a ball. The results weren't quite the same this year, but not without lack of trying, though the team moral was just as good, if not better. Rooming with Nick Gate's never leaves you with a dull moment and it was good to really get to know Stuart O'Grady better. Trent Lowe did a really good job to finish third overall and proves he is still one for the future. I also think Pat Shaw is a talent for the future also. Joel Pearson had some bad luck, while Chris Jongerwaard rode great as a domestique. I got up the road on two days, the mountain stage to Falls Creek and the final criterium in Melbourne. All in all it was a great week.

After the Sun Tour I was straight home and back into moving house. Thank god that's over and now I am settled in. Last weekend I went to Newcastle to see Powderfinger and Silverchair and - thanks to Gatesy being besties with the drummer - we got back stage passes.

This weekend is the Noosa Dash for Cash - $50,000 to win! Then it's a few weeks off the bike, but really the offy started a week ago.


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