My Blog

Day 2 - Finale Ligure

15 May 2012

403385 10150800563846003_584566002_10129432_1576476028_nI have been in Italy for my 3rd day now.

It already feels like a week.

I have to keep asking myself what day it is...and yet it feels like a forever away until race day.

 

Its Tuesday 15th May, 8:54am.

This morning we were organised and actually had breakfast and coffee at our apartment.

My breakfast consisted of an entire punnet of strawberries chopped up with some cereal muesli flakes and yoghurt with a strong coffee made in the good old italian stove top thingies.

Norm had poached eggs, thick white bread, tomatoes and fresh basil and prosciutto with coffee.

I must say whilst the fruit filled croissant of day 2 was delish its not a good way for a mountain biker trying to prepare for a 24hr race in a few days.

 

Sleep is back to normal, we got to bed after a late dinner, as is the norm here, by about 11:00pm, and woke up at 6am. Our bed is actually really comfortable and I am sleeping really good.

 

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day.

It started out with a morning walk with Neil and Sue Dall in Finale along the water front, looking for a cafe. Morning cappuccino and pastry was had. Then a big walk to old Finale, what an amazing place, small alley ways, cobbles everywhere, ancient buildings, just beautiful.

I bought a big punnet of strawberries from a local grocer in the market place within the village and ate them whilst we walked.

Within these 4-5 story high walls are homes, people living and working and being part of their community. No one owns a big car, some are 3 wheeled motorbikes with small ute like bodies put on top which seem really good to have for local commuting and getting from a to b.

 

We then went shopping in the supermarket, there are some english words on big brand items, but mostly I was very slow making sure this is what I really wanted or needed. It took some time, much longer than going to my local Woolworth's store. There is a lot of the dry crispbread stuff, crackers etc...its big! You can buy horsemeat too. Jams are huge as is hazelnut spread, of course no vegemite and one option of peanut butter.

After reflecting on my shopping experience I realised that in Australia we are very much influenced by many cultures that is true but much to my surprise I realised that we do have a big American influence with a lot of items.

It also seems that in Australia we have created our own style of living altogether, an eclectic mix of all cultures made into something uniquely Aussie.

 

On that note, every time we have spoken to an Italian about the fact that we are from Australia they are very excited, they want to move here, want to know more, have heard great things etc..etc...

I can understand this, even though I have been here for 3 days only, I do really like my way of life in Australia despite all its shortcomings.

 

Traffic is amazing, people just pass you whenever they feel like it and the cars on the other side just move over to make room for oncoming passing traffic – its totally mayhem but everyone knows this and the traffic just moves along without a gliche. Norm even passed a slower car last night “italian style”.

 

The buildings, the way things are done, all just seem so haphazard, I used the term, “better done than perfect”. If something needs doing, it just gets done, slap some paint, fix some concrete, whatever...just do it, and somehow the problem gets solved. In Australia some of the buildings, architecture and roads etc...would cause massive liability issues, building permits would not be granted, law suits would follow, and years of legal proceedings to get approvals would entail.

 

We rode the 24hr of Finale SOLO lap yesterday, well not all, but most of it, approx. 11km of the 18km. Its fun, not technical as such but some rocky climbs that require good line selection and some steep pinches that may require hike a bike later in the race. Most crashes will come from having too much fun and then putting on the brakes too suddenly or losing concentration on the fun stuff. Lots of rocks, great views, beautiful trees, like a course I have never ridden before.

 

After our lap Megan took us down a great trail back to Finale, which meandered around little farm cottages and restaurants, a grotto where they used to mill olives for their oil (amazing!) and then down a very fun technical gravity fed trail back into town. I had a smile from ear to ear wishing I could do that all over again.

 

Once we got back to town, we regrouped with Norm and Sue, and we had afternoon coffee, hot chocolates and beer. Norm had the coffee, Megan and I had the custard like Italian Hot chocolate, Sue and Neil had the beer. Sitting in the sun, soaking up the day and it was 4pm!

Time to go back – freshen up and get ready for an 8pm dinner.

 

Now today, we go back, this time taking it easy up to the race centre, riding all the way up the climb. Seeing if we can ride the entire track and ride back down the awesome descent, this time a slightly more technical one. Cant wait.

Meeting up with Rachel Edwards, Matt Wallace, Megan Dimazantos, Neil Dall, Norm and me!

Be in touch soon with pics and update of today.

 

We really are blessed to be able to travel, experience life in other parts of the world, connect with people who dont know about you, your life in Australia and why you are here even.

 

Do you ever wonder that?
What is someone, somewhere else in the world, doing right now?

What is their biggest issue right now, their greatest fears, their successes, what do they dream or hope for?
It would do us good to stop and contemplate this every now and again, to realise just how insignificant our 1st world problems really are in this big wide world....our MAIN priority is to connect with people, to love, to forgive, to nurture, to dream, to create, to BE!