Et oui! Et il fait beau, et j'ai mange de crepe, et j'ai vue les Pyrenees!
Well, my pro-cycling adventure has started today. After some frantic last minute packing last night, I took an early morning Ryanair flight into France (Carcassonne) today to take part in a French race, the GP de Chambery on Sunday. I'm staying in beautiful Limoux, in a beautiful house and I've already fallen in love with this place. I'm being taken care of really well by Chris, who picked me up at the airport and who brought me and a number of Lithuanian juniors on a little training ride today in the beautiful sunshine and warm air (no arm warmers!). Chris also runs a cycling holiday company here with his wife - definitely a place to be consider to go if you like the good French life, a huge network of quiet country roads, a great choice of hills, castles and lots of cute French stonehouse villages with central plazas and cafes, good cheese and wine..... Ryanair flies to Carcassonne, which is really close, and you can see the ancient walled stonetown from the airplane. Carcassonne airport is also probably the tiniest airport I've ever seen!
Training this winter had been going really well in Gran Canaria, one of my favourite winter training destinations, although I felt that I'd been training blind since November, as my powertap wheel had been sent off to get fixed and I only just got it back. (How do people train without one these days???) I haven't done any testing yet, but Ryan thinks I'm riding better than ever - I hope he's right, my legs today didn't feel great, but then they never do after a flight.
After super training in GC I went back to Ireland for two weeks to tidy up some loose ends (like printing and binding and handing in the final hardbound copy of my thesis) and of course I got floored by the flu (the "real" flu!). This somewhat derailed my perfect stretch of training, and I'm still trying to get rid of the cough now, but hey, in the big picture it's really just a minor hiccup.
I'm staying in France for the whole week (mainly because I couldn't find other cheap flights that worked), then 2 days in Ireland and then I'm off to the States, where I will take part in my first race with my new team, the San Dimas Stage race. Tomorrow is an early start to drive up to Chambery where we will stay overnight for the race on Sunday.
For now I say bon nuit as I'm tired after this long and exciting day!