4 countries in 4 hours

So a big part of this job is travelling and often spending hours on the road. We left England late on Monday night, it’s now day 3 and we still haven’t arrived at the race location.

I can’t drive the team vehicles because for insurance purposes I need to be 25 which has meant that the past two days I’ve sat in the front seat trying to be good company for Phil. In between naps and general chit chat I’ve been playing DJ and trying to find a good radio station that’s playing English music and has the fewest interruptions with foreign DJs and news flashes and then making the most of the photo opportunities of the changing landscapes.

We stayed in Calais on Sunday night and so far we’ve driven through the flat lands of North France, Belgium and Holland, moved on through Industrial West Germany and on to East Germany where we found a hotel for the night in the town of Regensburg.

The hotel was quirky and the owner recommended we headed into town to one of the beer houses for dinner. The beer was good and the schnitzel even better. The walk there wasn’t bad either, along the cobbled streets next to the river. 

But on the way home from the pub back to our hotel this massive freight train started crossing in front of us and after 3/4 minutes just stopped where it was so One of the guys was like fuck it and jumped on the train and climbed off the other side, so I went to do the same. Only when I jumped on the train it decided to start moving. And all I heard, in a strong welsh accent was ‘bloody hell! It’s moving backwards!!’ So I just started laughing, nearly dropped my phone on the train as I ran across and managed to jump off before it picked up speed. It’s safe to say the others decided to wait for the train to pass rather than re-enact a James Bond scene.

Five minutes later and reunited we headed to the bar next to our hotel for one last drink before bed. It was a little motel hat appeared to be hosting an arm wrestling contest which proved interesting. There were some arcade machines from the 60’s and a semi-professional Eastern European Football Match being screened on the TV. But the beer was good and it wasn’t long before we headed back to get our heads down for the night ahead of another long drive the following day.

Breakfast was good and we were back on the road at 9 this morning. Today’s drive should only be about 6 hours and will see us pass across the border into Austria and through the alps, through Slovenia and finish up in Croatia to pick up the rest of the team vehicles. We’re staying the night and then by Wednesday afternoon we’ll be in Hungary for the start of the race on Friday.


Running for trains.

One of my least favourite things to do. Run for a train. 

My journey today so far has consisted of 5 trains, each with just enough time in between to catch the next. Well. That’s only if it’s not on a Sunday and our national rail network wasn’t a shambles. 
I’ve missed one train and ran for two. My next change gives me 13 minutes to get between platforms and we’re already 4 minutes behind schedule. I’m sitting here refreshing the schedule constantly to check I’m going to make it on time for my fifth and final train of the day.

I hate being late especially when it’s only your second day of your new job. I’m meant to be meeting the cycling team campavan at Ashford International, normally only a 2 train journey, but not today. Luckily my fear of being late meant that had my plan worked I would have arrived over half an hour early, as it seems (hoping not to speak too soon) I should arrive with 3 minutes to spare. The team are travelling down from Petersfield so I’m hoping I’ll have time to grab a coffee but we’re only heading to Folkestone so I should be able to hold on til then.

I’m off to Europe for 8 days working on an Under 23 race in the Carpathian Mountains. The plan is to stay in Calais tonight and make the long drive down early tomorrow morning. It’s my first stage race and although I’m excited I’m starting to worry I’ve not packed enough layers for the mountains. My days will consist of early starts and sorting food and water bottles out, pre and post race massages and generally making sure the riders have everything they need. Unfortunately this often means standing in remote, often cold and wet locations to hand out food and bottles as the riders speed by. But I’ve just been looking at some photos online of where the race is going and wow does it look incredible. I think the views will definitely make up for the time we’re standing around in the cold, it looks beautiful. 

I probably should’ve packed more but I was trying to get the balance between packing the essentials without over packing and trying my best to avoid comments on how girls always over pack. I guess only time will tell which way it’s going to be.

Anyway I’ve just checked the schedule again and it looks as though we’re making up time. I’ll let you know if I make my last train in time.

*Edit 20.02*

I made it. Arrived at Ashford with plenty of time to get a coffee. Although now I’m concerned. The first comment on arrival was ‘wow you’ve packed lightly’…why do I get the feeling I’m about to freeze on top of a mountain?!

Where do I begin?

Here I am sat in the garden in the Spring sun, music playing, cup of tea in hand and wondering how to start. I know that in a few months there’ll be so much to say that I’ll be worrying about saying too much.

On Monday, I’m heading to Brighton for the NUS National Conference, one of my last events as President of the University of Chichester Students’ Union, a week on Monday I head to Hungary to experience my first race behind the scenes of a professional cycling, and in just 63 days I’ll be setting off to spend my summer in the states. Between then and now there are so many other things going on. I’ve got another race with the team in the South of France, the Blenheim Palace Triathalon that I’ll be competing in, my last ever Summer Ball, various end of term and leaving parties and moving house. All in the next 63 days.

I guess it’s an exciting time but there are so many things that are coming to end these next few weeks are going to be a rollercoaster of emotions. At the end of May I’ll be moving out of my student house turn grad pad of 4 years, having lived with the most amazing group of girls anyone would have the pleasure of living with. And June sees me leaving the place that has become my home. After 5 years of studying and working at the University of Chichester my time has come to an end and I’ll be closing the chapter of my life which has turned out to be the most instrumental. It’s hard to explain how this place has had such an impact on my life and I guess no one will ever really know as there are no words that I can use to explain it. The people I have met have influenced me in ways that they will never know and I can’t be grateful enough for the opportunities that I have been given and how it has shaped my outlook on life. It’s not just been my place of study but it’s been my life for 5 years. Although it’s going to be tough I’m ready to move on, I’ve done as much as I can here and I learnt so much that’s helped to prepare me for the next chapter of my life and what an exciting chapter it’s going to be.

Anyway the sun’s just disappeared and it’s starting to get chilly and I need to head out and get something for dinner but I’ll be back.