Welcome to the off season. We’ve rounded up an assortment of ORICA-GreenEDGE and ORICA-AIS riders to tell you about how they spend the ever-diminishing months without races. Amanda Spratt has managed to tear herself away from quality time with her newborn niece Ruby and three-year-old nephew Levi to fill you in on what she has been up to since Road World Championships.
The off season is well and truly underway, with the last race of the season -- the World Championships -- now seeming like an eternity ago. This means that the focus turns to the number one mission for all of us fair-weathered Aussies – chasing the sun all year round! Often this involves flying home not long after Worlds, but this year I took the opportunity to stay in Europe a while longer and ventured to the Greek Islandswith Loes [Gunnewijk] and Mel [Hoskins].
I think Loes told you a little already about our Greek adventure. Quad bikes, drunk donkeys, beautiful sunsets, lots of beach time and plenty of good food was on the agenda.
I guess they say you can never take the racer out of us for a reason, and our quad bike adventure around Mykonos was confirmation of this when we were practicing lead-outs and making sure we tucked into the aero position to get as much speed as possible on the downhills. At times I could have sworn that Mel was sitting so close to Loes’ wheel that she must have been nudging it. No idea why two of our quad bikes ended up breaking down!
After Greece I still had some time to kill before getting on the big jet plane so I spent some days exploring around my Northern Italian base. It’s nice to be able to play tourist for a while, go to bed whenever it seems right, try all the local delicacies guilt-free and not travel with a single piece of lycra!!
The plane trip home always seems to take forever as there is always so much excitement to see my family and friends after eight months away. In Australia, all of the Olympians who returned home in August got to take part in a Welcome Home parade in every state of Australia. I didn’t get the opportunity to do this, so my Mum made a huge sign to hold up when I came out at arrivals in Sydney. She was disappointed there were not very many people around to see it… not quite sure I felt the same way.
The last month at home has been spent catching up with everyone that I haven’t been able to see in such a long time. I have now had plenty of cuddles with my newborn niece Ruby, and I’ve been running around at gymnastics classes with a group of three year-olds that includes my nephew Levi. It’s all the little things I don’t get to do during the season that I love to make the most of when I am at home.
There has also been the excitement of the lottery that jackpotted to 100 million dollars that I had high hopes of winning. It turns out that just a few other Aussies had the same idea. I am sad to report that I didn’t win. Next time I’m sure!
I’ve started back on the bike again now and I’m hitting the gym. This means I spend most days walking around looking like an eighty years old with stiff muscles. As I type this I can imagine my coach smiling with delight -- but I can smile too knowing that it will hold me in good stead for the season ahead.