Cate’s Blog Part 3

Despite it being the weekend, we’ve had a pretty busy few days out here in Gran Canaria so prepare yourselves for a long blog. However I’m pleased to report, not all of it work related. Even elite athletes need their downtime.

After an early road training session on Friday morning, we headed out to the local British School, Oakley College, for the athletes to speak to the pupils. It’s certainly an experience i’ll remember that’s for sure! Having been with the athletes all day every day for the last week, I’d forgotten that since the Paralympics, they have had a celebrity profile and our welcome certainly lived up to that. 450 children with banners, clapping and cheering greeted us before the athletes took to the stage. The children were so well behaved and had obviously researched their questions, even the very youngest who were only 3 years old! Following the Q&A session we were all presented with school jumpers and hats, even those of us who were trying to hide at the side of the hall. However, the following requests for autographs and pictures, including mine, from almost every member of the school was something I don’t think will ever happen to me again! A taste of the celebrity lifestyle indeed! We were made to feel so welcome and it was lovely to see what an inspiration the athletes are to the younger generation. It certainly seems that the ‘Inspire a Generation’ legacy has worked.

If Friday had given me an insight into the glamourous side of the athlete’s lives, Saturday soon brought me back down to earth! After a 3 hour stint if morning treatments, we headed to a deserted industrial estate for 2 hours of training! The combination of the heat and what felt like a hurricane strength wind was not particularly pleasant for me watching, never mind the athletes who were having to push against it in their chairs! However, a team visit to the local Haagen-Dazs cafe seemed to cheer everyone up later that night!

Yesterday (Sunday) was rest day, a well earned break from training for the athletes. So after piling everyone, plus chairs and bag into our comfortable people carrier, and my not so comfortable aged transit van, we headed to Palmitos Park, a zoo for the day. After driving 7km driving on a single lane pot-holed track in a van with no suspension I was extremely glad to arrive. Until we saw the hills in the park! And the athletes thought this was their rest day! Hill climbing in a chair is not easy but luckily my years of listening to rugby coaches yell ‘drive’ at their front rows came in hand as I took up a maul position to get two athletes up a particularly steep slope. We had a fantastic day with lots of laughs but the highlight had to be the dolphin show and our own private show and picture opportunity with the dolphins once everyone else had gone.

We’re into our last few days out here now, I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. However, training does not stop and we’re off to the track shortly so I’ll sign off for now.

Cate x