Monday, September 29, 2008

a busy life

I expect that when bloggers go quiet the world thinks we are sleeping, if only it were so. It was a busy but fruitful week last week. I got my School at the Uni to underwrite the JCU BUG messenger bags I wanted for O-week. The final program of speakers for the (my) Spatial Sciences Institute conference end of October is coming together well, I got a commitment and date for the Australian Map Conference in March which I seem to be co-organizing in Brisbane, The APEX Awareness ride all came pretty good on Sunday, Ride to work day is getting there with registrations and prizes….and I did a heap of cartography too!

People exclaim “you are so busy!” to which I can only reply “well if I wasn’t, I’d be looking for something to do.”

Speaking of busy people, one of our brightest and best left JCU Friday. There was a nice send off, with gifts. Carl started the JCU BUG before cycling was fashionable, and has had many successes as an advocate for cycling. Now that cycling is very much on the radar and it is all too easy he has passed the baton to me! So thanks for the BUG Carl. I will nurture it and do all I can, but you are the one who did all the hard yards.
Carl wouldn’t be caught dead in lycra, so there was much mirth at the gift giving.

I slid into the weekend a bit weary, what with my enthusiastic trainer and my own manic agenda, but I learned to take it easy. Saturday morning we headed out as usual for the coffee run, BoaB flatted, so ‘us girls’ did a slow spin along the route knowing the boys would catch us. Catch us! They blew by, I stood up and stuck on, then …. Nothing. I could hardly make my legs go around. So I rolled up a few minutes later. I am starting to learn my body’s limits. I can’t be superwoman every day, well, not this week.

The usual Coffee Shop is engaged in my favorite pastime - civil disobedience! They asked the City Council a while back for bike racks, but they were knocked back. So the owner has purchased these beaut racks which appear about 6:30 am and have vanished by 9:00. What a great guy, he has won our loyal trade, which is a good thing because a rival “big chain” coffee shop is going to open up next door to his independent one. I will stick with my usual thanks.

And here is a shot for my sister. Sorry Carol, facebook seems to be broken for now, but I will try later. Here is Rusty helping in the marigod bed, which has really come on and should see the end n the nematodes. Can you believe how big the grass is already, good thing it is in a pot!
So after a weekend of gardening, scrubbing walls, packing up books for the new bookcases, cooking, cleaning - I took a full rest day today. My poor sad bike hung on a rack all day, oiled up and ready to go, but going nowhere.

It is almost impossible for me to take a full rest day, but I did today. I'll be better for it tomorrow. And so happy to be back on my bike.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

how to have a rest day

… whilst still riding one’s bicycle.

1) enjoy 2 cups of coffee. That’s right, read another blog and relax, because it is a rest day and you don’t have to hurry out the door to rest.
2) listen to slow music while you ride. I recommend the soundtrack from the 3rd LOTR – the most slow and sonorous of the lot.
3) leave home late. This forces you to take the direct route to work, not the long, fast, fun route.
4) do not catch and pass other cyclists; well, not unless they are totally lame.

And so it is possible to ride one’s bike to work and not arrive in a lather. But it is not nearly as fun. Looking forward to an effortful day tomorrow.

rest day

The training has been going really well, I still managed to get 257 kms around trips to the gym and the required recovery times last week. Starting up gym sessions is always gratifying because the gains are rapid over the first weeks, so you do feel encouraged, if a bit tired.

I also did a base time trial around the Uni loop so we can see if all of this translates into speed over the next six weeks. It is only a 3km circuit, but done at full bore leaves me pretty breathless. It was a still day, so I was pretty fast, and I know that a windy day will add a lot to my time, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the numbers add up.

My trainer ‘suggested’ I take a rest day today, which is why I finally have time to get a blog entry in. I can’t take a day off the bike, I do commute on it, but I will doodle in the short way (around 6 kms). I might as well leave home showered and in work clothes ‘cause I won’t break a sweat. This will be my only small ride this week, since we have an awareness ride on Sunday that will clock about 70kms on my week – and Sunday is my usual rest day.

Well that’s it for now, I need to get busy investigating – booking a trip to Adelaide to see Lance in the Tour Downunder. There is no way we are going to miss that!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

compression everything

I had my first gym session with the personal trainer/sports medicine student today. Holy crap. I am less lame than I expected, but if I had a compression body suit I would be wearing it. Nice to know that there are some young people who don't take one look at grey hair and think "we'll have to go easy here".

So I have had two top rides to the dam this week (my 50 k loop), the usual 30km commute and an hour with a personal drill sergeant. After the weekends big ride I am content. It looks like the training will be cutting into my cycle time, so I will have to give away the 300km weeks for a while. But I know the gym is harder. I have negotiated a long cycle day on Tuesdays, so I will do all I am able that day and the weekends.

As of today I find myself the President of my University BUG, so look out world. It is all happening.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Paradise lost

Well we had a top weekend of cycling, eating, drinking, drinking, oh and we cycled too. All in support of a couple of dear friends competing in the Whitsundays triathlon. Now the Whitsundays are famous for their beauty, and I was looking forward to the weekend. The drive south was really interesting. As a geographic/botanic enthusiast I saw fabulous landscapes and plant communities that were a revelation. And I was surprised as we turned towards the coast and Airlie Beach that rainforest was evident.
Then I was horrified by Airile Beach. In much the same way as I was taken aback by my first and only vist to Old Orchard beach in Maine. I can forgive the Americans for developing the hell out of Old Orchard, because it happened from the 20’s, when we didn’t know any better, but they are rampantly developing Airlie NOW. But there were good bits too. Signs like this made the Saturday 50+ loop very nice. The drivers were the most courteous I have met in Queensland. There was a lot of very scary truck traffic, I may have screamed once or twice, but the ride was excellent. I was as fast as I have ever been. I have a problem with my rear wheel, so I was running on the wheels that came with BoaB’s Specialized Tarmac. Well! I won’t be giving those back without a fight! Lovely rolling country, I am better at hills than I expected.The locals were very cute, the ocean was the most amazing colour, and we all cycled well, arrived safe, and enjoyed each others company. Here are Boab and be glad to be alive after a run down the highway. Notice the "please don't kill me" vest I am wearing despite the heat.

Don't have the results of the race yet, but I suspect Viv placed very well, and Kaye wasn't too shabby either. I am not going to become a triathlete, but enjoying the race festival I can appreciate the community it provides. Good thing I swim like a stone.

So now we are home and I have been too busy cooking to blog. We drove home through Bowen, which is a centre for tomatoes, peppers and other produce. I couldn't resist some big boxes of tomatoes, peppers, bags of zuccini and eggplant. So I am in a Canadian style thrall of chopping, cooking and freezing the harvest. Summer is coming, and food actually gets expensive then, but I am ready with Spring's bounty. It takes some getting used to, this topsy turvy Aussie life, but it is good.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

cycling fit

So I had my physical assessment done today, as the beginning of my 6 week odyssey with a Sports Medicine student. She is so young and fit and keen that she makes me keen too to do my best for her.

I had to get a lift to work in the CAR this morning because a combination of meetings meant I had to leave my bike at the office, so I arrive at the uni in a disoriented state but really early to accommodate my spouse’s schedule. No worries, I have lots to do.

I arrive for my 8:30 assessment and away we go. Fill out forms, get weighed and measured, BMI calculated (I am in awesome shape for an old fart). Then the TEST. On the bike, a stationary bike, but a BIKE. My trainer is writing notes, getting her gear ready, and I am wearing a heart monitor. So I just sit on the bike for a minute or two while we get ready, and my heart rate climbs from 60 to almost 100. Just the excitement – the anticipation of making the pedals go round. I can feel my heart beating, my legs are quivering. What is this disease called cycling?

Did I pass or fail? I failed to get my heart rate over 140. So I passed the very fit test I suppose. I start training on Wednesday. I will try not to attack too hard too soon, but I am keen as.

Off to the Whitsundays tomorrow for a well earned cycling party. There will be hills, and incredible beaches, and lots of wine and good friends. I promise pictures.

Monday, September 8, 2008

nothin' goin' on

Fatty tells us that you shouldn't blog if there is nothing to blog about but really, if you read blogs you will find that many of the most elegant blogs are blogs about nothing. At least I have accomplished the "don't blog too often" criteria.

Life, if you are lucky, is pretty dull. And that is a good thing. When I get the chance I intend to take some pictures of the garden and post them for my sister, who recently visited and will be startled and amazed at how the citrus she planted has come on. How some seeds sprinkled on dirt have turned into a garden of marigolds in 4 weeks. This is the stuff of life and is nothing, but worth blogging about.

I enjoy reading about other people loving being cyclists. Cycling culture is an involving thing. It is liberation from the ordinary. An alternate lifestyle that rewards your misbehaviour (have another helping of pasta) with steely muscles and a slim profile. It is more than transport, transends recreation, brushes addiction.

I am ... because I cycle

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

defining normal

I had a normal day today. Well for most people. I had so much to do in so little time ( buy morning tea for the office, get it there, do a mound of work, arrange to have morning tea laid on because you are teaching, attend a meeting…) you get the drill. So I drove a car to work today.

When you get to the office at 7:30 there are lots of free spaces, but everyone complains there are not enough because they come later. There are actually more parking spaces than cars at the uni, but many are not paved, and they are a bit of a walk, so they sit empty all day, while drivers grouse that we need to build more – paved – parking spaces, nearer the buildings (where there are currently trees).

So I went to work and did all I could and at 4:00 I was knackered (that is Aussie for really tired). Now I don’t usually get tired no matter how long I work because I have cycled 40 minutes to an hour and a half before I start, but I didn’t do that today, so I was knackered at 4:00. So I packed it up and left. And there was as close to gridlock as you get in the big country town called Townsville because HEAPS of people are leaving at 4:00, although I didn’t see anybody else arriving at 7:30 so go figure.

So I drove in traffic and did the rat run through back streets to avoid the lights (as you do) and got home really early for me and watered the garden and it was good. But it wasn’t really normal. I simply cannot understand why people think I am odd because I choose active transport over one car/one person.

I didn’t have one ‘g’day’ all day. No commuter interaction. I wonder if the guy who walks two amazingly well trained sheep dogs missed me. Or the girl who burns along on her mountain bike and always gives me a big grin – did she wonder why I wasn’t there? And the nice couple who stroll every evening, and never respond when I say “good evening” – was tonight the night? I’ll be glad to get normal tomorrow.