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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

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Photo: © Bob Bykerk

Moving on up: The Trent Wilson Journal 2004

After being one of six iTeamNova riders who made the cut last year when his Aussie Div III team merged with RDM-Flanders to form Flanders-iTeamNova, "Willo's" earned a place in Division II with Colombia Selle Italia in 2004. Follow his progress and get a taste of Aussie humour as he lights up the road in Europe. Trent also his own web site at where you can find out even more about this Sydney rider.

Italy, March 17: Trofeo dell'Etna

Not your standard weight-loss program


Now that's art!
Photo ©: Trent Wilson

Last time I had wrote I was in Sicily and had just finished Calabria, and form looked like it was coming along fine. The race finished down in the big toe of the Italian boot, as it's called. We had a three hour drive including a half hour boat trip across the ocean to Sicily. The weather turned bad and that's the way it stayed for the next 24 hours. We had a day off between the two races, and it was spent mainly in the hotel room giving our DVD collection a nudge. The rain didn't let up all day.

We woke up on the Monday to nice weather for Trofeo dell'Etna. I rode this race last year and didn't have fun memories of the last 40km (I blew big time, fell out of the convoy's limit, and rode in with the traffic on the autostrada). After a pretty fast start, the boys slowed down and cruised for a while. We hit the first climb after 30km and the big guns lit it up. I felt good but wasn't too confident this early on. I decided to nudge it over the top of the climb and I bridged the gap to the front group of 25 riders on the descent after pulling more than just a few risks. The heart was in the mouth a few times while giving it everything with damp patches on the road from the rain the previous day. The group all put in and we gained seven mins after 20km. This was the move and we had three in it.

I was doing a fair share of the work so Freddy and Marlon could save their legs a bit. We climbed over the volcano, Mt Etna, all together, a gradual 40km climb. We hit the last climb with 50km to go and I felt really shabby, not in the legs but in the guts. I had this sugar drink and I think it made its way into my feed bag from Malaysia. It came down to a 15-up sprint and Marlon was third, with Freddy winning the KOM prize and finishing in the top 15. I blew big time after the last climb and was in an absolute state coming into the finish. The remnants of the main group picked me up 4km from the finish and I couldn't even hold the wheel. I knew something was wrong, more than just pushing myself hard.

After a shower we jumped on a bus and headed to the airport. I was that sick, it was unbelievable. I filled two Coles shopping bags full of... you know what! We got to the airport and I looked like Casper, I was so white. I have never felt so sick and all I wanted was a bed. People were starting to get real concerned and after another Coles shopping bag was filled, the medics were called. A shot of something in the butt and everything was supposed to be OK. Not to be though - another episode on the plane and thankfully that was it. Not the way I really wanted to get super lean, but after a 210km race, being sick and not eating for close to 18 hours, breakky tasted pretty damn good...

Willo looking groovy
Photo ©: Trent Wilson

We've moved up to a town called Fossano, about 60km from Torino. Nice place but a lot colder than San Remo. How can 100km north make a 10 degrees difference? I shouldn't complain though; it's cold here but from the sounds of it, its got nothing on Belgium. After speaking to Benny Day, Chookman Russell and Dave Harrigan, it sounds like we aren't doing it that tough. The first few days here I didn't do much; it seems that being sick took more out of me than I thought. I had a day off after Etna, and the next two or three days were spent on the bike with no energy whatsoever.

We checked out the local towns and the local talent for few afternoons. I bought a few things I really shouldn't have, but they're cool. A set of white leather Italian shoes and cool-looking jumper later, and the bank account had yet again taken a hit. Oh yeah, and a set of hair clippers... so with my latest buy I had to break it in. I started off giving it a run over on all the Colombians hair. Then I went to town on mine, along with a bottle of bleach. First time I cut my own hair with my trusty assistant, Russ. Not a bad job; maybe it's a career for me after cycling. The other night the team went out to a local pizzeria. There's nothing like a good Italian pizza!

It's funny watching the way people eat their pizzas. I eat it in pieces, going clockwise. Some eat it with the crust last. Russ, however, goes crust first, carefully carving it into an art form. From the picture shown, you can see we take a piece of Aussie with us everywhere. Russ carved his pizza into a map of Australia - even making Tassie with a piece of artichoke. Of course, after taking a photo, he ate New South Wales first and left South Australia till last, taking it all the way down to Adelaide.

The last few days I've stepped the training up, doing a few long rides. Heading out somewhere and trying to lose myself for a few hours. I always seem to make it home though, and within the time limit. Funny how it always works out that way. Yesterday we had to do a VO2 max text, not usually on the top of my "to do" list, but for once I think I tested OK. It's been a while between drinks since I've done one of them. I still remember the first one I ever did in Brad McGee's garage at 17 years old, and in the 10 second test I put out something ridiculously low that now I can hold for almost 10 minutes. Remember that Macca?

The Colombia-Selle Italia team
Photo ©: Trent Wilson

Today started off early with a team press conference for the Giro, but the whole team wasn't there. The team was looking fresh and slick with their new hair styles. A few photos, a few speeches and a few more photos and that was that. This afternoon though, was a big morale booster for me... sunshine all-round! I went out with a few of the boys for a four hour ride and it was great to head out the door without gloves and booties. I just like to feel my handle bars while riding and see where my feet are positioned. Outta nowhere, the temperature has jumped 10 degrees.

Lets hope it stays that way. It makes my job easier and my motivation 100 percent different. Next up in a week's time is the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale, starting on the east coast in Rimini and finishing near Modena again, I think. A five-day tour with five hard road stages and a team time trial. Should be a hard but nice tour.