I was certainly sad to leave Ireland as I not only had great weather but also great company. I was cared for so well and can never thank the Behan Family enough for welcoming me into their lives for the week. Hopefully, I can make a return trip to Ireland in 2009.
Despite having unloaded a bunch of clothing before departing Ireland, my suitcase was still 8kgs overweight when I got to the counter. I had the choice of paying 127 Euro or somehow getting the bag underweight. I spent about 10 minutes shuffling things around from bag to bag to get it closer to the 15kg limit. Good thing the bike box doesn’t have to weigh in or I would have been in trouble.
After an hour delay, I boarded the plane and we headed to Salzburg. The flight was just over 2 hours long and I managed to sleep for most of it… nothing new for me. I was also lucky enough to get a seat at the front of the plane so I had unlimited legroom. I say “lucky enough” because with Ryan Air the flights are cheap but only because you pay for everything from checking bags to boarding the plane first. In the name of pinching pennies, I didn’t want to pay the extra 5 Euro to board first so I was happy when good seats were still available.
The bags were unloaded quickly at the airport which was fantastic and then I was met by a driver who was waiting to bring me from Salzburg to my homestay in Kitzbuhel. I am staying with the race director, his wife and their daughter. Their home is lovely and they are wonderful people. I just wish I had studied my German a bit more last year as they don’t speak that much English. Already, they have invited me back for next year, which is even more incentive to race here again in 2009.
I have to say that Kitzbuhel and Austria are simply breathtaking. The massive green mountains seem to protect the beautiful valleys and the contrast between the two is stunning. Everywhere you look, you can find the ski slopes and chair lifts, though silent now, that are buzzing with activity in the winter months. The architecture and the character of the homes and downtown Kitzbuhel are just what I would have imagined them to be like. Along the cobbled walkways there are colorful chalets, shops and cafes with plenty of outdoor seating.
It is a page out of The Sound of Music for sure. I have loads of photos and will upload them soon, but as I don't have internet at my homestay, will have to remember to bring cables with me when I come steal internet from the hotel.
I race again Sunday morning - 9:30am Austria time. I will be wearing #33 on the startline. It should be a great race with a very talented field, including roughly 15 women heading to Beijing. I just want to build on the success I had last weekend and have a really solid go!