Today I visited the Italian Embassy in Cape Town to apply for a visa for my 2012 European cycling season. What a pleasure my experience was. The Italian lady who helped me was ever so friendly and I was once again surprised by the speed and ease with which I was awarded a 1 year visa for Europe.
Walking out of the embassy, I found myself counting my blessings. I truly am very blessed to be married to a very handsome, talented and supportive Italian, Carl Leo Pasio.
It is quite amazing how things have fallen into place in my cycling career; people have been placed in my life, doors have opened and opportunities seem to pop up at just the right time.
It was in April 2005, shortly after I had started dating Carl that I went home with him to Knysna for our first University holiday. Carl was a serious triathlete at the time. I had just arrived back from a gap year in the UK in 2004, so I wasn’t particularly fit, but being my usual eager self, when the opportunity arose to join Carl and his Dad for an afternoon cycle to the Knysna heads, I jumped at the opportunity.
It was on this April afternoon, while climbing up a steep climb to the Head’s view point, on a borrowed hybrid bicycle, in my casual shorts and takkies that Carl and his Dad noticed something! I’m not exactly sure what they saw, but from that day onwards Carl believed I had a talent for cycling and he encouraged me to start cycling more seriously.
It took me a while to get into the cycling thing properly, I first dabbled a bit with triathlon and duathlon, but after reoccurring running injuries, I was forced to shift my focus to cycling alone in 2008 and it’s just amazing how things catapulted from there.
After completing our Engineering degrees at University of Stellenbosch, Carl and I got married in the December of 2009 and my professional cycling career started in January 2010.
I’ve always been aware of Carl’s Italian heritage, but I never dreamt that this would materialise into an Italian passport for Carl. It was early in 2010, while struggling to organise visa’s for our first trip over to Europe that Carl got this bee in his bonnet that by 2011 he would be Italian.
After much scratching around in the Pasio family filing cabinets, many phone calls and even the odd visit to the Cape Town archives; Carl, with his never say die attitude, managed to organise himself and his entire family Italian passports.
After today’s pleasant experience at the Italian embassy, I found myself counting my blessings and I can honestly say that Carl is my biggest blessing in life!
A very talented athlete himself, he has made many sacrifices in order for me to pursue my career in cycling with 100% focus and dedication. From day one, Carl has been at my side every step of the way. He has acted as talent identifier, coach, mentor, training partner, advisor, supporter, motivator, best friend and most importantly loving husband.
Another exciting year lies ahead for both us, locally and in Europe. I’m very blessed to have my soul mate and best friend accompanying me along this incredible journey!
Thank you Carl, you make every day exciting 🙂