Petra Wiltshire's Blog

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September 2010

World Champion Again!!!

I have done it….World Champion for the third time and a hatrick! Its a great feeling and even bigger relief. The first time you win is just mind blowing and you feel on the top of the world literally. Second time you win its about reaffirmation, trying to prove to your self that it was not a fluke or luck the first time.

The third time is very strange to describe. Its perfect and a feeling of completeness. I cannot say when it will really sink in properley. My sponsors have been perfect this year, Scott, BUFF, Sram and Mule Bar have been behind me through thick and thin!

The bike did not miss a beat all week and I can only say a huge thanks to Derek at the Cycle Centre in Shepton Mallet for spotting the broken cassette the day I was due to leave and fixing it up! The Mule boys have kept me in energy for years and Buffera kept me looking Buff and smart! Sram provide the best componentry in the world and Scott have sweet little frames for little people like me!!

I have just arrived back into the UK to hundreds of great messages. Over the next few days I will be in touch with everyone and update the blog with a full report!

Happy Days

Pee x

Practice and beach

Wow, its certainly an amazing race venue… Finish line on the beach, gondola over the sea and riding through rain forest amongst the parrots and humming birds! The bikes even get lowered from the lift station to the start by zip wire!

The track is one of the most physical I have ridden, just no let up. Everything is on you in a flash. One small mistake is costly as you need to carry lots of speed all the time to clear boulders and jumps. There seems to be a crazy amount of pedalling too. I managed to clear the big finish jump after gentle persuasion from Neil Wilson. He promised it was a doddle and I managed it three times. I will not admit I enjoy it but its the biggest thing I have ever jumped!

The locals are so friendly and everyone chats and tries their best to communicate, even if I cannot speak Portuguese and they cannot speak any English!

Today is seeding. I am just going to do one practice run and then seeding. Nice a smooth and just hit all my lines.

Cannot believe I only have two days here left. Its flown by and this time tomorrow I will be preparing to race then rushing to the hotel to pack!

Made it!!

Well after 36 hours through Tropical Rain Forest and down town Sao Paulo, flight refuels, diversions and storms I have finally arrived. Wow what a place, the contrasts are immense and I am still coming to terms with the overwhelming levels of poverty here.

My Hotel is perfect and very very white! Slightly worrying  with combination of bikes,with  and mud on the cards!! Plus 6 stories to get the bike up!

I have the prerequisite statue of Christ overlooking my room  he stands like Rio de Janeiro up on the cliffs above the beach. I have been travelling  for 37 hours since I left home on Sunday morning. Finally arriving at 9pm local time last night. My flight was interesting ‘brasilian budget style’, small, no very small seats, obligatory big man as neighbour and sound that did not work on my tv! Robin Hood is just not the same without noise! It was one of the bumpiest flights I have taken in a long time, so much so that we diverted to get more fuel into Recife in Northern Brasil.

The delay put us two hours behind. Landing in Sao Paulo is an interesting affair. Bags took about an hour to arrive and it was almost impossible to fight  your way through trollies and people to get them. Once they finally arrived it took about an hour to get through the people and bags trying to come into the arrivals area.. Lots of trolley rage for sure. Then more immagration and more trolley rage! The realisation dawned on me that there was no way I would make it across Saol Paulo and catch my connecting flight. Fortunately Jamie and I had bumped into Joe a fellow Brit racer. He was driving to the race and I scored a ride. All be it, a little tight with luggage to two bike bags ina saloon!

I neglected to note that the destination was 790km way though aaaagh! It took an hour of Tomtom specialness to get us through some rather undesirable areas of Sao Paulo and onto the hiighway south. Then onto a road that snaked its way for miles through Banana plantations, swamps and then beautiful Atalantic Rain Forest and Jungle. The crazy thing is that the road is dual carriageway but people cross, walk down the middle and even fly kites from the central barrier. Families take picnics on the hard shoulder and bikes seem to have more rights of way than cars.! Most minor roads are dirt tracks it seems and most people live in two room tin shacks, with no electricity and very poor standard of living. It’s not until you get further south that the houses and standard improves. Balneal Cambroui is a high rise beach resort with busy sea front, white sandy beach and lots of people. I have only had a few minutes to see it so far but will go out after brekkie to see what it’s really like. For now though, its unpacking, bike building and race registration.

Made it to the Airport finally and now on my way!

After a rather hectic run to Germany for Eurobike and a round Europe route to get back to Blighty I have finally checked in at Heathrow. The bike is on the underground conveyor belts along with my bags and I just hope it makes it to firstly the right continent and secondly to Brazil if possible! I am stocked up with Buffs and Mule Bars and Sram spares to help me on my way! Even gave aMule Bar to a very sad beggar outside the Bus Station… Hope he enjoys it and it helps him a little.

I am now just winding down a little as its quite stressful day trying to persuade National Express Bus Drivers and Airline staff that its only a push bike and “Its really light!!”  Only got stung in the end for £10 excess and that was from Swindon to London…Ironic that got it on a 12 hour flight with out a snag! Its amazing how I can deftly lift the bike up in its bag and pretend its only 15kg!!!! Whilst perspiring like crazy and very nearly herniating every disc in my spine.

I have 3 hours to waste now and try and find fellow racer Jamie Mart. Then its 12 hours down to Sao Paulo and 6 hours stop over including a one hour bus ride across town to another airport. Then on down south to Navagantes and the race in Balneario Camborui.

Will try and get some shots and pop some on the Blog tomorrow when I arrive.

Pee x

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