Friday, May 30, 2008

strange sights

A slow week really, in more ways than one. My trip computer has died, I suppose it just needs new batteries. I am proud to report that I wore out my bike chain before I wore out the trippy. Less than a year since I bought the bike, but the anniversary is July, so not bad I guess. I was hoping for 10,000 kms for the anniversary, but I am not sure I can make it. I need to take some time off and just cycle - but that is hard to do when you are busy. I am not sure why I have so many demands on me, but I do, and I am driven to make all the outcomes perfect, cause that is just the way it is.

So it has been a grey week (weather and fitness wise), I have been stronger, but I can't complain. Without my trip computer I have totally lost my edge, so I have just been crusin', enjoying the ride and not worrying about the numbers. People at work ask me about cycling all the time. It is pretty obvious to those who see me on a daily basis that cycling has changed my body and altered my life. And I always tell them, if you want to get serious about cycling, get a trip computer.

When you know how far and how fast, it becomes an obsession. If your normal commute is 140kms a week, you'll find yourself circling the block to 'round it up' to 150. And then you go for 250, and then 300 - because you can.

So since it was a grey week, and any photos I took were pretty unappetizing, here is an interesting one from a couple of weeks ago. I’m cruisin’ along the river and here is this group of three women walkers ahead of me. They are stopped, and one of them has taken off her shoe, and is about to throw it at something that is in the path. So I stop (as you do) and here is this mighty mub crab – all of four inches across? – and he will not let anyone pass. Full stop. Drawn up to a mighty size, claws in the air. It was a moving display of desperate bravery.

So we all stood there and debated what to do about the mudcrab when a good bloke and expert mud crab handler chanced along and scooped up the feisty bastard, and carried him to the river and let him go. We were all a bit Buddhist about that crab, so congratulations all around and on we go.

Not much further along and there is a strange sight.

Sort of a bicycle Titanic moment. This poor bike was truly trashed before it met its watery fate. Now here is was, a real 'Ghost bike' on the rivers edge. Creepy really. Creepier still, when I came back past the spot at 5ish, it was gone. What do you do with a busted, weed tangled dead bike? Hope to see it in an art installation soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

time flies

I was going to post on Monday to expound upon the virtues of being involved in a cycling event, even if you are too much of a whimp to actually cycle. But I left my camera behind at the below mentioned event, so I am more than a little late, sorry.

So the event was the Inaugural 8 hour MTB race held by the local Rockwheelers MTB club at Ross River Dam. I knew after riding just a little of the track at the "Chicks at Speed" clinic that I didn't have what it takes to race this. Fitness cannot conquer fear, so I put my hand up there and then to work as a volunteer on the big day. And I had a blast. I was in the timing tent. Due to my fine voice and slightly aggressive nature I was perfect for the job. And it was a thrill to see the racers come through and know the times (some of them truly awesome) before anyone else.

Honestly, if you love a sport but you don’t think you can cut it, then help make it happen for the ones who can. I’ll do it again…… although I may have talked myself into another crack at the Paluma Push this year. Hey, somebody has to come last, and it may as well be me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ride of Silence

Today was the Ride of Silence for Townsville. Here is a local group gathered for a coffee before the ride. The owner of Juliette's loves that we over fill the place but are willing to stand around to drink coffee.

At 8:30 we gathered at the Rockpool and slowly and silently rode the length of the Strand to the breakwater, then back and out to the Esplanade, then back to the Rockpool. A pretty short ride by ROS standards, but very visible and very pleasant for the riders.

I should have made my way to the back because I didn't manage to get a shot that conveys how many people there were. A couple of hundred is not bad for a first effort. It was very moving and sad, but a great thing to be a part of.

Bouquets to Carl for making it happen. Brickbats to the taxi driver who broke up the group because he couldn't spare a few seconds. Karma baby.

Friday, May 23, 2008

change for the better

I was off my bike Wednesday, so nothing to say there. Went to the hospital to get some data for my Doc. I have had more fun, he had better tell me I can now cycle til I drop (which I would opt to do anyway).

Thursday I carried the lurgy of the tests, not a great day on the bike, but there is never a bad one.

Today was paradise. I took my camera to show you. DOH! Dead batteries. I hate that. So I snicked some out of my drawer at work and took the camera when I went to the library to renew a text book. And look! Pictures at last!

The Library is my favorite building at JCU, and now it is decorated with a field of lovely hoops for bicycles. It is really heartening to see bikes presented as an asset, not an afterthought.
The environment around the whole campus is pretty natural. Notice the nice Livistonia palm amongst the gum trees, this is what local bushland is like. I was actually lucky to catch the sun because it was really cloudy all day. A warmer start this morning (around 16 C) and a cool 27 max. I like the use of stone around the building. It was always like this but they freshened it up and made the nice flat area for the bike racks a couple of days ago.
Now if we can just get paths that are wide enough for bikes and pedestrians at the same time... but we will get there eventually. All this improvement is thanks to the new VC. The Library was very tired looking, and the landscaping was not an asset. Due to the dedication of the library to Eddie Mabo Wednesday, it got a major tart up, including the bike racks. Eddie would have liked that I think. And I am proud of the dedication. Empowering ordinary people through access to knowledge is what librarys, and universities, are all about.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Better, but

I better day today. Not so windy, legs feeling stronger. Devoid of guilt I didn't turn towards the Uni, but kept going towards the dam... and then I was at the dam, so I climbed the wall and enjoyed the morning. Bonus! They have repaved the road! Well, except they used North Queensland bitumen, which is rocks kind of stuck together with very little tar. Still, it is way better than the Roubaix experience I used to enjoy over the last 500m or so.

Double bonus! The gate was open this morning, so you could just blast on up the wall! And it was exquisitely beautiful at the top, with just enough breeze for a kite to hang motionless right at eye level. There were pelicans on the water, and scrappy bits of cloud on the hills. I was a bit late for work, but I made it up at lunch. It was worth it. I’ll remember the camera next time.

Still in gym avoidance mode I guess, that is where I was supposed to be this morning.

So blissed out by the good ride I nearly forgot the but. Had to come to a full stop at the Weir School because not one, but three Mom's in 4WDs felt entitled to turn in front of me, even though I was on the main road with a green light. Am I invisible? Are they complete idiots? (obviously). I wasn't in the mood to make war this morning, but next time I am following them in, taking details and calling the cops.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blame the wind

I had a shit of a ride this morning. This is a new blog, so let me explain. I commute to work, but work is too close to home (about 6km) so I take a long way around to spin it into 15 km each way. I have been doing this for about a year now, and I have been steadily getting stronger, leaner, faster.

But I have hit the wall. It was windy this morning, but it is always windy. And I cycled through treakle, on legs made of lead, and I cursed my weakness over every metre. I feel weak and defeated. I want to get stronger, but it is not happening. So I have to have a think about what I am doing.
1) riding on empty. I hate breakfast. tomorrow I will eat some cereal and see if that helps.
2) attacking from the end of the driveway. I suppose I could go easy for a km or two to warm up, but I rather fancy the driveway is like those starting thingos racers blow out of for time trials.
3) gym avoidance. I really hate going to the gym and now I am paying for it with pudding legs. I will go tomorrow, I swear!!
4) wine consumption. I drink too much wine of an evening I suppose, although I am inspired by the early Tour de France competitors who actually drank while cycling! Allez!

Anyway, while my cycling was crap today, it was still a great day for cycling. I forgot the camera this morning, so you will have to imagine the moon rising over the river as the sky turned to apricot on the commute home. The wind had eased and the water was glassy. Paddlers on the water, turtles poking their heads up hoping the walkers would stop and feed them. The quavery call of little corellas as they flocked towards roosting places. Wouldn't be in the car for quids.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Too windy, too early

Today I stayed in bed. A huge wind woke me up at about 3-3:30 am, rattling the windows and knocking things around in the garden. My husband was going to compete in a road race this morning, but at 5:30, then 6:00 he was still in bed, so I figured he heeded the warning of the wind and decided to give it a miss. I was wrong, he got up, ate, got to the race with about 5 minutes to spare and did it, cold. And it was cold (by our standards), less than 15 C and up the range to where is was 6 C. I stayed home, by the time I realised it was goin' down it was too late really. And I suffered all morning. I worried about the race, and I didn't ride, moping around the house and garden. I tied up the tomatoes, planted rocket and hot peppers. I did two loads of laundry, and worried about my #1 dog, who was at the vets, leaving #2 at home and lonely. Lots of soulfull looks and heartfelt sighs, and that was just Rusty.

I'll never stay in bed for a race again. I'll take my thermos and my chair and my bike too, so I can get a ride in around the race. I am so not ready to compete, I may never compete. But it is a great group and it is such fun to be there.

Kudos to Sue "the Bandit" for winning D grade this morning! The day I can hang on to you, I am doing D grade too.

total this week 219 km
last week was a pb of 308, so I was resting on my laurals a bit.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The whimp chill factor

Right. I've closed the french doors all around, put on a jumper (that is Aussie for sweater) and cooked comfort food. How cold is it? 22 degrees celcius and dropping. I only started reading blogs a few months ago, and most of them have been about how cold it is, and how hard it is to be a cyclist in these conditions. Now it is my turn. Winter in the tropics. It is supposed to be 17 C in the morning. I am debating wearing the leg warmers. I wore arm warmers this morning. Left home at 5:30 am and took off the arm warmers at around 8:45. I hate winter, even here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vale 50k loop

There was a blog I really loved. It was called 50kloopNS and it has been removed from the blogosphere. Just like that. No 'see ya later' or 'I quit', just gone. I am very sad. It had wonderful photos and descriptions of bits of Nova Scotia that were quite dear to me. You see, I used to be Nova Scotian, but I have moved on. Not to say that I am not still Nova Scotian, you can't shake a culture that clings like burdocks. Anyway, wherever you are 50kloopNS guy, I wish you well.

Confessions of an armchair traveller

OK, so I am a pretty big fan of the writings/ramblings of the Fatcyclist, who needs no promotion from me since he is the most popular sports blogger in the universe. Moved by his creation of a cycling event known as the "Triathalon" - mountain biking, road biking, and grilling/eating bratwurst - I thought I would check out the area around his home, where the event begins and ends. A bit of fiddling in Google maps and I was there, in spades!

This was prety cool, not just the neighbourhood and the surrounding excellent Mtb country, but the house, and one of the kids... wait a minute, I am a mapping enthusiast and now I feel like a stalker. Sometimes Google is a bit creepy, sorry Fatty.

This whole thing began because Fat Cyclist jerseys are going on sale at noon on Monday, Fatty time. I wanted to know how late/early we were talking for eastern Australia, so I thought I would look at a newspaper in Utah. I found a Salt Lake City one. Now the blogosphere exists to make the world a small and human place. I am a well travelled citizen of the world. But in Utah, one of the news sections, we are talking about a permanent part of the newspaper structure here, not a one-of, is Polygamy. Hmmmm. At least I found out that noon Fatty time is 4 am my time, but I also felt a bit soiled.

You are here

Eeek! I have created a blog!

This blog is about cycling, the joy it brings and the bliss of living where cycling is a pleasure all year round. Hopefully it will chronicle the normalisation of cycling in our car mad society. Or it may just turn into the ramblings of a cycling tragic. Whatever.