T-Mobile Diary, Checking in with Amber Neben

Greetings from Julich, Germany courtesy of my T-Mobile blackberry service. We are currently right in the middle of our Spring European adventure...and adventure it has been! We arrived in Milan, Italy on Mar 17. We spent a few days hanging out in the cool little coastal town of Varazze, about 120km from San Remo. We raced the women's version of Milan-San Remo. From San Remo it was on to Vallodolid, Spain for a three day stage race and a world cup. After two days of driving, and one night in a super tiny room at the Ibis where two of us, our travel bags, and two single beds left about a 10 inch space to walk to the bathroom, we made it to Vallodolid. Our first stopping ground was the infamous La Colina Hotel...located all by itself right off the E80. The last time we were there, all three teams staying had riders get food poisoning. I actually believe the British government had the place shut down. Thankfully, though, things were better this time.

The Castilla y Leon stage race, though, was kind of a disaster. Dede got hit by a car before the first stage, and most of us were fighting bad colds. On top of feeling miserable, we raced in conditions reminiscent of Holland. Cold, flat, and WINDY. We survived, and then raced the World Cup. It was a 10k crit course... The entire loop was within the city of Salamanca. Oh yeah... And it was SNOWING at the start. The following day we flew from a tiny airport in Spain to a small airport in Belgium. We were on Iryan Air. It actually made Southwest seem organized. The best part was taxiing down the runway only to flip a u-turn and take off. I'm guessing this doesn't happen in the states. From Belgium we drove to Julich, home of SRM.

Today we had a chance to go into Koln for a couple hours. I even managed to find a Starbucks with a T-Mobile Hot Spot!!! I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love being able to access the internet so easily with a Hot Spot account. Tomorrow we are off to Belgium. We will get to see the Tour of Flanders WC course on Friday. I hear it is really hard...lots of cobbles and short steep climbs... Maybe it will rain too:)! I'm getting excited just thinking about it. From the Flanders WC we will go to Holland... Yes, Holland...flat land, crosswinds, goat paths, and weather. I know that all of you who have raced the Tour of Holland (and survived) are smiling. And then, finally, I will go home!!! I LOVE racing my bike, but after four weeks on the road, it will be ! good to be home. It's fun getting more out of life!

This Article Published April 5, 2004 For more information contact: