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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 www.trentwilson78.com where you can find out even more about this Sydney rider.
Turning that vicious corner
Last time I wrote, I was well into my R&R session after the Giro. I was in Holland chilling out with Russ with the feet up, as well as throwing a few night-time activities in. One night was the Chilli Peppers concert in Amsterdam, with the following night being Lenny Kravitz's concert. With a limited experience of concerts under my belt, these were spectacular. I've always been a Chilli Peppers fan, but now after seeing Lenny, he is a fav of mine too.
After Holland, I was off to Gent to sort a few things out and catch up with a few friends. After living there for the last two years, it was great to be back. Gent is definitely one of my favourite cities in the world. I stayed with my friends Karl and Katrin for the two nights. I did what I had to do, did a few coffee rides and visited a few venues in the centre for dinner and a few drinks.
Three weeks of coffee rides and enjoying myself a little too much, it was time to start turning that vicious corner, and start the second part of my season. I went to visit my good pal Harro down near Leuven, who is riding with Team Cyclingnews this year. It was good to start up the training again with a bunch full of Aussies. With eight or nine Aussies in the team house, 'Chookman' Russell just down the road, and Hilton Clarke living with Jez Hunt and Benny Day in Leuven, you're never short of an Aussie to ride with around that area. I hadn't seen Harro, Chookman and some of the others for quite a while, so there was a fair bit of catching up to do. No better way, than a few long rides to catch up on the goss and let out a few stories. I even threw in a kermesse one day. It was a shock to the system, even more so when I accidentally made the winning break. I did eventually blow, though. The legs were great, it was the lungs and heart rate that was a problem.
Some of the riders I knew and some I didn't, but they're all good guys and it seemed like it was a good atmosphere. It was good to chew the fat with all of them for the week I was there. Hiltz was especially keen to do some km's after six weeks off with a broken collarbone, and seemed to be coming along well. On that subject, best wishes to Harro who took out 10m of barriers last week and broke a bone in the arm.
A couple of days before I left Belgium, Harro and I headed to Geraadsbergen to stay with Nick Gates for the night. Gatesy put on a great feed for us and made do with some good sleeping arrangements, considering the last-minute decision to visit. The next day was a nice brew shop ride with Gatesy and Robbie, and way too many coffees!
One more stop at Gent on the way home to watch the Love Parade (kinda like the Sydney Mardi Gras, but nearly a million people, and not necessarily gay). I've never seen so many people in one spot. We were lucky to get a spot on a wall to watch the 38 floats go past, watching the antics of everyone at 2pm in the arvo.
I flew back to Italy on the Tuesday; thanks to some excellent driving, Phil Thuaux got me to the airport on time. What is normally a 35 min. drive with no traffic, was 30 min. in peak hour. I had to make that flight, and it was no holds barred to get there, good driving mate!
Back to Italy, and what a change in the temperature? The temp in Italy was well into the 30s, compared to a mild 20 or below up north. It was good to be back and eat some good home cooking. I did a few days out training in the bergs, including a 22km mountain pass. First one of those I have done for a while.
The following weekend we were off to Pescara, on Italy's southeast coast, for my first race back... officially! I did these two races last year and they're very hard. When we got there on the Friday, we had a brew stop on the beach after a cruisy two hour ride. It was absolutely sensational! The weather was great, serenity was even better and it was just good to kick back on the beach.
The first race was Criterium d'Abruzzo, UCI 1.3. The course this year was different to last year, starting with two laps of an undulating course, followed by 50km along the beach and finishing off with three hard laps with a nasty 3km climb. Apart from the attacks in the first 30km, the race was controlled all day by Formaggi Pinzolo in the hope that Quaranta would get over the climb and win. That didn't happen and it was harder than a lot expected. After the first local lap, I called it a day and rode home along the beach with Russ to get a good 200km day in. It was a good, hard day in the saddle and a nice way to finish the ride with 70km along the beachfront. Russ even suggested a dip in the water and after a very short thought, we were off for a swim in the beach before arriving home. A nice way to finish a 200km ride.
The next day was Trofeo Matteotti, UCI 1.2. A very hard circuit race around 13 laps of a 15km circuit with two hard climbs very lap. I didn't expect to do much this day but actually surprised myself. I made it to about the halfway mark but the bunch was down to under 80 riders, and with the form I was in, I was pretty content. I headed out for another hour an a half to get another decent day's training in, before heading off to the beach again.
We arrived home to the hotel (fairly late as the photo shows), but the hospitality was unbelievable. We arrived home to two cakes (with an Aussie and Colombian flag in them), water, Baileys and enough fruit to feed an army - for just three of us.
Last week we got stuck back into the hard training again between dodging the rain. A couple of long rides in the mountains and a bit of motor-pacing most days. It was good to get back into a routine of training properly, eating right and everything else that going with the job. The second half of my season has started and the motivation is high. Russ and I had no probs knocking out six-hour rides. The weather was great (when the occasional showers didn't come in), motivation high after a rest and a new bunch of stories to spread.
Between training, we did however get a chance to slip into Milan for the day. Russ and I went in to meet a friend of mine and it was pretty funny. We walked around looking at shops and a few other things, but it was just good kicking back at coffee shops laughing at some of the Italians' dress sense. Some Italians really do rate themselves. So as you can see in one of the photos, Russ and I decided to once again take the piss at innocent bystanders. We bought two sets of five Euro Aviator sunglasses to blend into the crowd.
Tomorrow we're off to Austria for a race, not sure why, when there are plenty of bigger and better races to do here, but we go with the flow.