Monday, September 3, 2012

Goodbye France, Hello London

While on the road to Bordeaux for our flight to London I penned a few thoughts.  I don't think I can even explain the emotions and feelings in my own head! Excited, nervous, apprehension, fear, confident, happy, humble, inspired...the list could go on!  But one thing I do know is I can't wait to meet up with the rest of the team.  Seems like it has taken forever but on the other hand I'm scared it will be all over so fast!

I'm about to experience something that very few people in the world will ever get to do, experience my lifelong dream and I am humbled by it.

When we arrived at Gatwick airport we were treated like celebrities!  We had a number of official greeters who met us at the plane, took us directly to immigration where even staff were yelling "Go Aussie's", then to the luggage pick up where they got our bags and we even had a woman with her young son come to us and ask for a photo, then out to waiting LOCOG cars.  Each of us had our own vehicle and driver, to take us to the Paralympic Village!  Frieda was my driver, a lovely 64 year old woman who was an Opera singer and even gave a rendition of a song!

Upon our arrival at the village the security was amazing and we eventually got through that and our accreditation process and were then escorted to the Australian main office known as "The Red Centre".  Here we were welcomed as the "last" of the Aussie athletes to arrive and as we were being given our keys the rest of the cycling team came into the foyer.  It was fantastic to finally be with everyone else and there were hugs and kisses all around!  Luckily for us we had arrived just as everyone was heading to dinner, so after dropping off our bags off we went to the Food Hall.

Now what can I say about the Food Hall that hasn't already been said...absolutely amazing.  If you don't know what you want to eat before you walk in it will take you 30 minutes to decide as there is everything imaginable!  Finding a seat if there are more than 4 of you can also be a challenge!  But the Cycling contingent of Aussies have stacked out a claim so at least we know where to find everyone!  So after a good feed it was back to the room to unpack and make my room home for the next 10 days, then hit the sack after a very long day.

Today, the first full day of this amazing journey and I really wanted to experience the sights and sounds of the crowds so headed to the velodrome to see the last day of track racing.  With my accreditation I was able to go right into the pits.  For someone who hasn't really seen a lot of track racing I was standing there in awe.  In fact I was quite overwhelmed by the crowd.  Not just that there were about 6000 in the audience, but the noise that they made!  Yes they were mostly there to cheer for the GB riders but not matter who was out racing the crowd would cheer just as loud.  I don't think I could actually say anything for about an hour, it was just incredible!  God knows how the riders actually focus with the noise.

The rest of my day was spent in appointments with our Physio Anouska, our Recovery specialist Jo, changing clothing sizes, training (yes I did some of that too!) and preparing for tomorrow.  The course we are racing on at Brands Hatch will be open for the first time and we are all heading out there for training.  So it is off to bed for me!

In one last note the Australian team have been doing amazing!  We are currently sitting in 3rd place overall with 14 Gold Medals, how cool is that!


  1. Another reflection on your trip - how great for you and your contingent. Will keep in touch hopefully by the family. Keep on trucking Carol andgood luck.


  2. We know you will give it your all. Crawf will be watching for you on the TV.
    I will be watching you at Brands Hatch. Can hardly wait to see my very special neice. We love you and wish you well. GOOD LUCK.
    Aunt Marjorie & Crawf .

  3. So glad it's even better than one can imagine, Carol. Enjoy. Our thoughts and wishes are with you on your latest adventure. And what an adventure at that! Love, Graham, Ira, Lauren, Callan and Jenson.

  4. Go for it Carol, you can do it.
    Can hardly wait to see you at Brands Hatch.
    Dad will be cheering you on from Home.
    Love, Mom

  5. GOOD DAY !!!! By now you should be connected with your Mom, Marjorie and Cindy!!! How exciting for all of you. Sooooo many are cheering for you, Carol. Enjoy the RIDE and BEST OF LUCK!