Against all odds

Many backdated posts in this one… Actualluy a draft… but ill publish anyway

This was meant to be the flight that went smoothly. Berlin to Milan on our way to Celle Ligure. We had Hennings scales to make sure we were all under 15kg and had asked Henning and Ralph how much time we needed.

At 7.10am when we left that front door 10 minutes late I was only mildly optimistic that we would make the 8.05 boarding time.

No less than 6 times should we have been denied the flight to Milan but good old Aussie optimism, some soft
Ryan Air staff and basic leg speed got us there.
This is a story in itself especiqlly since this keyboqrd hqs As qnd Q qround the wrong wy.
Celle Ligure felt good from the moment we arrived. After the 2 hour drive from Milan Bergamo Airport courtesy of Bruno one of ghe many locals volunteering for the meet. I brushed up on some Italian on the way and a Italian English dictionary Bruno carried with him allowed us to converse at least a little. The road map also made the time pass more quickly. Once on Celle Ligure it was straight to lunch. It was to be the fisrt of many amazing meals there. Risotto to kick off the week was just what we needed to hot the spot after a frantic morning.

Then it was a gelato detour (the first of many) before hitting the beach. We were quick to find out that all beaches are not what they seemed. We headed straight to the vacant banana lounges at the very front of the beach and wondered how great the City Council was to peivee free amenities at such a popular spot. Just when we touched the edge of the mediterraniam sea (actually Ligurian Sea) an over vigilant richie busted us and we didn’t need a translator to work out that our kind was not welcome at Xxxz.

Italy’s answer to Danny Devito did his best to converse with us in Italian with no English whatsoever. The beZcyvwas riocky not sandy and the water was crystal clear. We spent the afternoon lazing and the went fur a wander in town loping atvtge local shops. BJ and I spotted a espresso maker which we pls nned to go backj for in a few days.

The meet started off great. EAP celebrities Roller Boy who backed up from his Geneva Long Jump was rolling and triggering his body into just the right relaxed state that only he knows works fir him. Pablo the Geneva photographer was everywhere that needed a photo record of the meet.

No races were overly impressive in terms of quality although the womens 100m did with UKs Abe Oyepitan and Uzbekistan’s ?  However the race was slow as the Uzbekis 11.65 was enough fir vicotry. The first of ours guys was Lara who did not get out well and was languishing in 5th/7th for most of the way before making a long kick for home and going 3 wide on the brbdss to run gallant 2nd to Ukraine 2.03 runner and scalp Karen ? GBR a 2.05 girl.

The night before BJ had pointed to the rafters and had called a 49.5 so the pressure was on. A tentative start (which he later said he nearly blacked out on!) and so-so hurdles 3 and 6 put him behind schedule but a strong second half brought him home in 49.72 not far off his call and definitely enough for athlete of the meet to that point after the mediocre 100’s. He bagged a 1000 euro Bulova watch for the effort but sadly no meet singlet a highly sought after souvenir.

Loz lines up next in the girls race and although a few slower girls had beaten her in Gebeva the Namur race showed she was back. She would need to run faster than Nsmir to take the title off BJ. As it turned out she was ofobablu running too well as she was all over the first 3 hurdles which was probably enough to empty the tank too much coming into the 9 and 10th which she skied. The result was 57.32 which was a solid run and included victories over the Nsmur girls.

The post meet dinner was a good opportunity to meet others or on he case of BJ forget the names of everyone he had previously met on the circuit and ‘stee-ruggle’ to dig his way out of some re-acquaintances.

A late night swim in the private beaches was a good recovery for the guys and then BJ shouted dome drinks with his athlete of the meet winnings. The nights conversation started out with top 5 movies ever Donnie Darko, Lars and the Real Girl, Puberty Blues, Iron Man and How to Lose a Girl  in 10 Days all fetting a mention. The night ended in Breakfast Club quotes and BJ not sleeping until 3am and annoying the helll out of me in the process.

We looked forward to Wed and Thurs and 2 full days on the Itslian coast. We’d morning was spent on the beach, a couple of big swims around some buoys 200m out and Italian lessons from 3 kids out on a pontoon where I plucked ‘amici’ from the depths of almost forgitten Italians lessons with rhonda 2 years ago.

The afternoon was spent in Varrazze the next town north and whilst the others lazed in the shade I franticdlly looked for a toilet until the ocean proved the only vacancy after a 1 hr search.

Wednesday dinner was again something special

Thursday training where I did my second 400m hurdles session over 5 flights 20 meters apart and got very brave after the first rep and out them up to 3ft. Whilst the hurdling is not great it’s up there with Danny Mcfarslzje there’s hope yet fir my planned 55.0 debut goal. It’s probably a great way to tale my mind off my calves and still keep fit. Brendan mLoz and Lara did their last session before Nivelles.  We were meant to meet Giorgio at the track to finalsie departure details but he wasn’t there. The day was  overcast so I spent the afternoon trying to find a post office to send Loz exams off. 18 euro later and a  15 minute train trip to another town and the exams were off to Australia thansk to a very helpful lady at Italien Poste.

Our last meal was amother girstg for men Tuna and spahietti and fibejhed with chocolate cake again. The rest of the nigtr was spent trying to contact Giorgio about the trip to Milan and a contingency train trip as the backup.
Friday morning we woke to text meaages from Mum Rhonda and Mark wity the sad news of the King of Pops death. I went dot a swim and played some of MJs best sings and thought of the Brisbane concert in 95 and how priveledged I was to see him live. To thin that we were going to see him in London this trip. 50 years of age. My firat vinyl album was Thriller and I have. Eveyijw one of his sings.  One of his songs on HIStory says it all. Gone too soon. Arrivaderci MJ.

Thankfully Bruno picked us up at 8:45 so we avoided the dreaded train trip. Giorgio met us down town to say goodbye with a present for me and reimbursements for BJ and Loz. I never pressed h or it but we had agreed on an amount so I appreciated his honesty. He invited is back to Celle fir a training camp. Definitely on the cards. Great little town. So onto Belgium an the finale for the June leg and really the end  of a great month with Lara BJ and Loz. 4 is really the most you can so for so long

Author: patbirgan

Australian living in Italy and managing the AIS European Training Centre. In my spare time I like to watch, write, tweet, commentate, manage, immerse in all things athletics.

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